There are an estimated 17,600 new-car dealerships in the US, with more than 150,000 used-car dealers across the country; that’s a lot of competition that a dealership has to contend with. In previous decades, a giant inflatable gorilla might’ve been enough to draw customers to your lot, as opposed to the competition, but these days it takes more than a live DJ or a nightmarish inflatable humanoid figure flailing about in agony to lure potential customers your way. It takes new ideas, new initiatives, and new promotions that we haven’t seen before to capture a car buyer’s imagination.
My attention was caught—and my imagination captured—most recently by a dealership with an overabundance of used trucks for sale in Cincinnati. With so many used car lots out there, you can imagine this market is particularly overburdened with options, not to mention online retailers and giant vending machines dispensing used vehicles like so many cans of RC Cola. This brave and ingenious dealership has struck a chord with many of its potential customers by instituting an impressive new “Confederate Days” sales event.
An Exciting New Enterprise
Rather than inject my own thoughts into this unique initiative, I’ll allow the dealership to describe the event in their own words. According to their website, “Confederate Days marks a new and exciting way to offer great used trucks to our customers and to buy vehicles from people who have a pickup to sell. The promotion is simple: when you sell us a truck, we’ll pay you an extra $200 for each Confederate flag on your truck; when you buy a truck from us, we’ll take $500 off the price for each Confederate flag on it. No matter how many Confederate flags there are on your truck—or on the truck of your dreams—we’re happy to help!”
The dealership, located just outside of Cincinnati, has been running this impressive event every other weekend, each month, for the past four years. I reached out to the dealership and had an enjoyable conversation with one of their sales reps—a man named Turgess Coloscollian—and he told me, “We noticed that a lot of trucks coming in had these flags all over them. At first, we were removing the flags—a lot of bumper and window stickers mostly—before selling them as used, but one of us missed a few. Damnedest thing: the truck that had a couple stickers on it sold in half the time of any other pickup.”
Deep Discounts and Deep Disgust
“It was pretty clear to us,” Mr. Coloscollian continued, “that this could mean something. We thought maybe it was just a fluke, so when the next truck came in with Confederate flags on it—later that same day—we figured we’d test this idea. So we left the stickers on, and before we could finish getting it ready for sale, people were already clamoring for it! We started leaving the stickers on and discovered we couldn’t keep the things in stock. People were buying ’em too fast, so we needed a way to get more in. That’s how the event started.”
I asked why they offer a discount for the number of stickers, and his answer was quite informative. “People like discounts,” he said, “and they sell faster.” I asked if paying more for them and selling them for less meant they were losing money; plus, if they were selling so quickly, to begin with, wouldn’t it be better to pay a bit more for them and then charge much more per sticker? He stared at me blankly for a moment, then answered simply, “People like discounts.” Who am I to argue?
Bold Sign of Things to Come
The success of this new sales initiative has already been impressive; considering how Ohio had fought for the Union, I can’t help but wonder how well this would go in areas below the Mason-Dixon. I’ve been informed, however, that southern Ohio is essentially northern Kentucky, so this does make sense in some ways. When Mr. Coloscollian asked if I was interested in one of these trucks—that they just had one come in with more than a dozen Confederate flags on it, and that he’d be happy to reserve it for me—I informed him politely that I don’t do business with the kind of people John Brown would’ve shot, and I went on my way. I’ve contacted several scrap yards in my area to put out a similar promotion to help with some of these trucks, but I’ve received no takers as of yet.
Editor’s Note: We would like to remind our readers that, as a news entertainment organization, we have no obligation to reality or the truth. That being said, this is definitely something that really happened, and whether you hate it or you’re in favor of it, we don’t care since you’re already here and you’ve already read this. Feel free to tell us how angry you are—we don’t care either way! Thank you.