Today is the day I take delivery of a new car. Given the state of the economy, this might make front-page news.
For quite a while, since the incident we're still not talking about, I've been without a car of my own. OK, that's stretching it a bit - it was a company car after all (do I look like I could have afforded something that respectable?) but you understand my point.
So I've been looking for a replacement. The interesting part was when I went out to some local dealers. "Credit Crunch," I thought. "People just aren't buying big-ticket things like cars," I surmised. "You're only doing it because your previous one was laminated over a section of French autoroute in the summer," I recalled, wincing slightly. So I was unsure how I'd be treated by the salespeople.
I have a test for these situations. When I was looking for cars last time, in 2005, I dressed in my normal weekend apparel. Which is not the height of sartorial elegance. A default t-shirt name-checking a brewery tends to be part of the mix. Gok Wan would have a seizure. But it's a good test - I actually am in the market for a car, Mr Salesman, despite looking completely otherwise.
However, last time I was treated like a ginger stepchild. Audi people hated me, Saab folks thrust me from their premises, VW salespeople must have thought I'd run over their dog and the MG Rover chaps were just plain odd. And look what happened there merely months later. I ended up with the Honda simply because they were the only ones that hadn't reached for automatic weaponry when I crossed their threshold.
Amazing what a global recession will do, though. This time it was all eyes and teeth, coffee and attentiveness. Test drive? No problem, sir. Want to look at some fabric swatches? Of course. Would you like to marry my daughter while you're at it, sir?
This is what being a member of the minor royalty must be like! Shame it requires near financial meltdown to happen before people stop acting like complete arses. Mind you, silver linings, and all that.