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Ex-mayor can get you a deal on a used truck

March 25, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Anyone who doubts my commitment to our readers should consider my thought process when it came time to replace Old Copper with another pickup.

I thought the purchase out very carefully - brand, performance, price, fuel economy, looks, features, engine - and then went out and bought a truck from the dealership that would provide the best material for a column.

To all the area used car dealers out there, I sincerely like all of you and would have had no problems buying a truck from your lots. But I think you will understand that the only possible place for me to buy a truck was at Hagerstown Ford and the only possible salesman for me was former Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey.

Sales people need good memories and despite the fact that there are probably hundreds of cars on his lot, Bruchey, without referring to any literature, brochures or stat sheets, can off the top of his head recite everything that I ever called him in print.

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Most sales people say, "I'm making you this great offer only because it's you." When I walked onto the lot Bob said, "I'm making this great offer in spite of the fact that it's you."

I had these requirements for a new truck: It had to have air conditioning and it had to be enormous. Bob showed me a mid-sized truck. "What kind of gas mileage does this get?" I asked. He said somewhere around 15 miles to the gallon.

"Sorry," I said. "That's not poor enough. I want something that gets 12 tops; something that will so offend Ralph Nader and Arianna Huffington that they will have trouble keeping their organically grown bean curd down."

Bruchey thought it over. "Well, we do have something in the bullpen," he said. We walked in back of the building and there it was: The Ultimate Four Wheel Drive Behemoth. It's only attribute was size. Cruise control? Hmph. Power windows? Never heard of them. Automatic tranny? In your dreams.

It was perfect. For options, it had A/C and an aftermarket CD player. For accessories, it had a curious array of decals on the back glass including:

1: No Fear

2: Proud to be an American.

3: 18 (Number of some NASCAR driver, identity unknown)

4: Ford (Script)

5: A deer head with multi-pointed antlers and the inscription, "Size really does matter."

From the inspection sticker, and this will surprise you, I knew the truck was from West Virginia.

For this I was giving up my beloved Acura CL coupe with every luxury and a big V-Tech engine and sport suspension.

I don't know that I could have pulled the trigger, except that I had brought along the Monte Hall in High Heels, who was sort of viewing the whole affair as the ultimate shopping trip. To her, going to a store and coming away with nothing is as unthinkable as it would be for a Viking to make a beachhead without plundering.

"You need to have a truck," she reminded me about 5,000 times. "No," I corrected tersely. "You need me to have a truck. For your mulch and your concrete birdbaths and your barstools and your habitual auction frequenting and your 'antique chairs' and all your other glorified kindling wood and your ..."

At this point Bob cleared his throat politely, having brought back a counteroffer and grown tired of my rant. I doubt he was having much fun either since Andrea was into full negotiation mode. I'm not even certain she was entirely sure what we were buying, she was just in it for the hunt.

Whether it was Bob or Andrea, it was the first time I drove off (lurched off, more like it, not being used to the gearshift) a car lot without feeling as if I'd been rooked.

"Why don't you write that this was a seamless transaction?" Bruchey said. I told him that would be hard for me to do, since I am not in the habit of telling the truth.

I do love that big truck though, and when they cleaned it up for me they even removed all the decals - although secretly I had been hoping they would leave the one about the deer.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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