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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Baby You Can Drive My Car (But Only If You Give Me a Pen First …)

Filed under: Fun, Personal

Hi Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and reveling in the fan-freakin-tastic summer-tease weather we’re having!

Me, I’m loving it for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that I recently bought a new convertible that I adore. I waited way too long to get a new car because — like 99% of the population (I did a survey — really!) — I’d rather gargle with shards of glass than submit to the car-buying experience. Few things are as laborious or annoying. And silly me, I thought that since I knew the type of car I wanted, it would be an easy process. (Insert eye roll and pained sigh here.)

So, leave it to me to show up on a cold, rainy, dreary day in February to test-drive my beloved convertible. It was coup de foudre (“love at first sight,” as the French say), so I pulled out my checkbook and prepared to pay in full, in cash. I say that not to sound like a diva, but because — in this economy — wouldn’t you think the car dealership would show me a little appreciation and love by way of lavishing ad specialties on me?

Let me end the suspense. Not only did the (very nice) guy who sold me the car fail to offer me any promo items with the dealership’s (one of the largest in this area of PA) logo on them, but he astonishingly asked me if he could borrow a pen when we were signing the paperwork. Really??? I mean, at the bare minimum, pens with the dealership’s logo should have been ubiquitous. You know what else would have been nice? A tote bag filled with an ice scraper, a tire gauge, a blanket, an emergency kit and an autoshade. Just sayin’.


My friend Lisa Bennett, the multi-line goddess based in Chicago, had a fabulous suggestion: A company she reps, Toddy Gear (asi/91411; www.toddygear.com), carries these snazzy little antimicrobial, double-sided cloths that clean, buff and polish smooth surfaces — ideal for the screen on the built-in navigation system/satellite radio in the new car. I now have some of these, courtesy of Lisa — not the dim bulbs at the car dealership.

That’s my frustration: There are TONS of cool items like this one that would be perfect for the auto market available in our industry. Why doesn’t the dealership I dealt with know about them? Because, I think, they’re not being properly promotionally serviced. Consequently, I implore local distributorships to call on them now, with voluminous amounts of case histories and bags of samples in tow.

So, I ask you: Am I just spoiled and suffering from a sense of ad specialty entitlement because of the industry we’re in? Am I wrong to expect at least a logoed pen when buying a new car? Also, I’ve never been one of those people to name her car, but this blue/grey metallic convertible is so zazzy, I’m thinking about it. Any suggestions? The one who comes up with the winning name gets a $50 gift card and a ride in my car next time you’re in Philly. 

Cheers, and more next week, when I’ll be in Guangzhou, China, for the Canton Show (or, as I call it, “Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell”) and Hong Kong for the Gifts & Premiums Show. Stay tuned for lots of commentary and photos of the coolest new products and nastiest seafood you could ever contemplate. ; )

— M