My mate Kev’s vengeance on a Merc dealership put me in mind of something that happened some years ago. Quite a few years ago.

I was looking to change my company car, and was thinking of a Celica Turbo 4WD. Yes it was that long ago. I’d test driven one, but since this was to be a company car and hence would involve backhanders at some stage, I’d driven one from the dealership closest to where I worked.

Since my wife and I tended to share driving duties on a 50/50 basis, I told her to go and get a test drive at the dealership in our home town, so she rolled up there in her rather ratty Mini that had cost us all of 150 quid, went into the showroom, buttonholed some Lee or Darren with a dodgy suit and gelled hair, and asked to test drive the Celica. He took one look at the rustbucket she’d arrived in, assumed she was a time wasting tyrekicker, and flat out refused, and instead fobbed her off with a set of brochures for the entire model range. The entire range that we didn’t want, and my wife had not even mentioned.

I’ll say at this point that Lee/Darren was lucky to get away with not getting beaten to death. Alison didn’t suffer fools gladly.

When I heard the tale, I was naturally incensed, so the next day we both piled into my car and we headed off to beard the lion in his den. At the time I was driving an outstandingly vulgar Opel Manta 400 that was covered in wings and spoilers, and had a semirace exhaust that sounded like Thor gargling with hammers. I pulled up right in front of the windows to some admiring glances from the assembled staff.

We went in, and I asked to speak to Lee/Darren. He came over with Uriah Heep-like obsequiousness.

‘Can I help you sir?’ he oiled.

‘Yes. Recognise my wife do you?’

‘I errmmm…’

‘Short memory, pal. She was in here yesterday wanting to test a Celica Turbo.’


‘You didn’t take her seriously, did you? Was it her car? Or just the fact she’s a woman?’


‘Well I have some news for you. I’m not going to buy a Celica.’


‘But if I did I wouldn’t buy it here.’


‘And even if I did buy it here, I’d make bloody certain I didn’t buy it from you. That’s your commission buggered isn’t it?’

We stalked out in what I believe is called ‘high dudgeon.’