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Monday, April 09, 2007

How I Got Ford Motor Company To Give Me Free Food.

This post is inspired by a post on another blog about how renting a Ford Focus allows you to avoid tickets on road trips. Depending on the model you rent anyway. I suppose some of the GTX or whatever Ford calls them can be fairly quick for a 4 banger.

Anyhow I was a senior at Florida International University. One day while leaving a class, I think it was economics or some boring ass banking class or some shit, I noticed that some idiot had parked some car on the lawn by the Student Union, where I was going to grab some lunch and a beer. I had to walk past car man to get there.

As I got closer, I noticed a few more things. Like one of those self supporting tarp things. And then by brain kicked in. Why would someone be parked next to a walkway on the lawn by the student union? Something had to be going on. Otherwise the University Police would be clubbing someone like they were a baby harp seal. Nothing ever happens at FIU and the cops have to get bored doing nothing but parking enforcement and traffic directing.

And I was right! Something was up! As I got closer I saw what appeared to be propaganda, a very large cooler, AND a hot dog stand.

BINGO! My free stuff detector started to go wild. Yes, there would be the best of all kinds of free stuff - free food and drinks. All I had to do was play the situation just right.

So I got up to the guy. Hey is that the all new Ford Focus?!?!

At that point the guy was hooked. I had him. OH YEA! So you know about the all new 2001 Focus? Here, take some literature! The guy was a rep from Ford. Perfect. A sucker. Then he asked what kind of car I drive.

"I drive a 1987 Honda Accord. It runs OK but the AC broke and I really need a new car. My little Honda is starting to get body cancer (car talk for rust holes) and the trunk smells when it rains (water was getting in through the body cancer). Also the AC is broken". Now the hook was set. I pretty much said I was going to get an new car, which was true. I look like the sucker now.

So I take the propaganda and move closer to the large cooler. Man it is hot today!

HERE! Have a soda! Just open the cooler! Jackpot. I open the cooler and every kind of soda known to man is in there. So I grab a Coke. Then I go to look at the tricked out Focus that is parked there.

It had an upgraded sound system that actually sounded pretty good. Of course any car can have a good sound system if you put in premium speakers, a sub, and a large amp. According to the guy, all this was available as dealer option. But it was a total scam. You paid the dealer, then the dealer called a local stereo install shop which then sent some guys to the dealership to install the upgraded stuff. So why not save a few darn dollars and just go to the shop yourself?!?! Mr. Ford guy was probably sorry he said anything at all.

At this point I had to up the ante and fast. So I say "well I have to go! I need to get lunch". Lunch?! I have a hot dog cart right here - help yourself. PAY DIRT! All I really wanted was the free food anyway. This way I would have more money for beer. It is a simple matter of economics, which I had just finished hearing about for an hour or so. So I grab a hot dog. And another soda, which I stashed in the backpack. Free lunch = more cash to pay for beer.

So what other features does this car have? Then I learn about all sorts of stuff. Like the intermittent wipers. And the built in power inverter. And the cool rear spoiler thing as part of the "GT" package upgrade. And the engine with its whole whopping massive 130 hp engine - which is not really bad for what is supposed to be an "economy car". It is probably fairly quick for a 4 cylinder car in its class.

Meanwhile I scarf down another hot dog or two. And stuff another few sodas into ye old backpack when the guy was not looking. And scarf another hot dog. I was fairly hungry.

So now I am full, and not thirsty anymore. So I have to ditch the guy.

"How much will this car tow"? What do you mean how much will it tow? Like in the hatchback?

No, I mean tow. Pull. Can I get a class III towing hitch for it? Because I plan to get a jet ski and possibly a 17 - 21 foot boat. The boat will weigh at least 3,000 pounds. Will this car tow a 3,000 pound load?

Uh, I do not think so. But why do you want to pull 3,000 pounds?

Well you see, I like boats and the water. So therefore I need a boat. And since I can not afford to keep my boat in a wet or dry slip, I have to trailer it. Therefore I need something that can tow a boat. But really, if this car can at least pull a pair of jet skis on a small lightweight trailer I can probably deal with that. I would estimate a pair of jet skis would weigh at last 1500 pounds, so a 2,000 tow rating will work. I can always borrow a Dodge Durango 4x4 to pull a full size boat.

So the guy consults the owners manual in the glove box. Bad news. The Focus is rated at 1,000 pounds towing capacity. Or something like that. It probably could tow a pair of skis, but it probably would not like it very much. It all depends on the transmission really. With 130 horsepower it should be able to pull skis.

Ahhh. Too bad! I kind of like this little car, what with its cool built in power inverter and such. I guess I will just have to get that 2002 Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner 4 door pickup truck with the v-6 engine and the 5,000 pound tow rating. And I already have a 1,000 watt inverter I am going to install in my truck (I still have not done this yet - the Focus inverter was something like 150 or 200 watts - enough to power a laptop computer).

And then I leave. Full, not thirsty, and with three or four extra sodas stashed in the backpack. All for free. Thanks Ford people!

Also it should be noted that in 2000 there was a massive mega rain storm that hit Miami. Everything flooded. I was at FIU that day and just as one class was letting out the rain started. I had another class to go to, but I skipped it and bailed for my little Honda because I did not like what I was seeing. I know rain, but this was RAIN! Anyway the campus flooded and lots of cars stalled out and class was canceled anyway. The parking lots and roads went under water to the point where nobody could tell where the roads were. People ended up in the middle of fields, and cars were in standing water up to the windows. Had I stayed on campus the Honda would have been toast. As it was I parked it as close to the house as possible and water still got into the trunk - creating a wet sock smell for a few days.

With the memory of the great flood of 2000 in my mind, and the perceived need to pull jet skis, I got the Tacoma Pre-Runner. It has enough ground clearance to drive through almost 2 feet of flood water without any getting in under the door. The air intake is high enough that the engine would not stall either. As long as I went slow I would get home. The Focus would be dead in 2 feet of flood water. Of course it has not flooded that bad here since then, but whatever. If I had bought a little car it would have.

I do not know if the guy going there resulted in a single sale or not. But Ford was pushing the hell out of this car to the "younger first time car buyer" crowd. That is what their marketing department said would be the most likely market segment to buy the thing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

coke worth it, pass thru.. i mean.. hotdog.. eh, nasty.

they did sell the crap out of the focus though.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Anon - it was either free hot dogs or food I had to pay for. My choices were BK, subway, or Gracie's Grill where I could get food that was neither good or bad and cold beer.

Blogger Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

Very smooth. Now I know why Ford is going bancrupt, because of all the food you took them for.

I remember once I did a timeshare thing on Daytona Beach. I ended up killing the guy becasue he grabbed my hat off my head.

Are you thinking about upgrading to that new 4-door model. That back seat is huge. Big enough for sex or children.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Caiman - I have no plans to upgrade the Tacoma. It still runs fine. And it is paid off. Seems kind of pointless to sell a car as soon as you get it paid off - just so you can have a new batch of payments to make.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

but the sex part, can you have sex in the back of your tacoma?

that little focus actually scoots pretty good. the weird thing was there is no red line on the tach, so when I was passing and what not, I didn't know if I was about to blow it up or not. I don't think it's a bad deal at all for what they cost, the interior isn't as nice as mine, but it functions well enough

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Beanie - the back seat of the Tacoma is a bit small to have sex in. But I suppose it is possible. The bed of the truck is plenty big to have all sorts of sex in.

But really. I have credit cards. Unless it was an emergency I would rather just have sex in a hotel room or something.

The Focus is really not a horrible car. And it is affordable. But for an "economy car" the Focus does not get the best economy. And a sports car it is not. You can probably rice it out pretty well however.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does it mean to "rice" something out?

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Beanie - this is when you buy a Honda or Toyota economy car, and try to make a race car out of it.

Typical things include putting in a muffler that just makes the thing loud, adding spoilers, and stuffing in "performance" engine parts that do not really make the thing go any faster.

Anonymous Just so not to submarines said...

My shiny new Nissan SUV was 1 week old during the flood of 2000. I was able to get home from work thanks to the ground clearance. Since then my new rule for future vehicle purchases is it must be able handle at least 2 feet of water. It also came in handy when I had to "pop" a few curbs to get past the lowered submarines that where stalled out.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

The flood of 2000 was something else. Remind me to post the story of the fun times I had in a Chevy Astro cargo van!

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

Schmoozing for free food--you sly, you!

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...


Rice out a car? I think the Politically Correct way to say it is Japanese Rice Burners which incidentally has nothing to do with sake.

Tacoma's are small unless you are fond of seat belt enemas. Speaking of enemas, wouldn't it be more proper to name them inemas? Just wondering.


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