Sometime in June of 2012 there was a pretty major hailstorm in the Dallas area that succeeded in totaling my first car. It was a 2005 Acura TL which, having been my first car, had seen much better days. After the storm, however, it was absolutely brutalized. Due to the extent of the damage and extenuating circumstances, my insurance company decided to pay out nearly twice what the car was actually worth. Due to my being 20 years of age, I decided to put a substantial portion of that towards a luxury car, rather than something silly like student loans.
The car in question is a 2004 BMW 3 series that I found for a great price on Craigslist. It looks good, drives better, and gets respectable gas mileage. Generally speaking, it has never given me a great deal of mechanical trouble — but the check engine light is on, so I am currently at BMW of Austin, waiting for it to be looked at. This is my first time in a BMW dealership, and I suspect very strongly that it shall be my last. The list of reasons for this is a lengthy one, but in the interest of holding your attention, I’ll share just a few.
First off, everyone is addressing me as “sir” or “Mr. Mikhail”, neither of which are titles that I ever respond to. Then, there is the company I am keeping here at BMW of Austin; it’s not a crowd you’ll want to go out for a beer with, let me tell you. I get the distinct impression that everyone in the “Lounge Area” knows exactly how much money they make, before and after taxes, and would further be more than happy to share this information with you at any given point in time, or even several. They’re all males above the age of 35 sporting similar attire and hairstyles whose costly appearance suggests a certain cheapness to those who paid for them. Few are talking to each other, and those that are talk only about their BMW, along with the many benefits of owning one.
Oh, and did I mention that BMW of Austin has a complimentary cafe? It’s staffed by two baristas who will brew you anything from a macchiato to French Press. Not to mention the entertainment centre, which is currently showing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. That’s not a joke — there’s a movie theatre inside the car dealership. Too, there is a daycare where children of BMW owners can play and interact and discuss rear leg room or quality of leather in the backseats of their family BMWs. Also, there is a store which offers a selection of BMW apparel and accessories that is anything but diverse, in addition to what appears to be….golf equipment. Where the hell on God’s good earth am I?
My “Personal Automotive Advisor” is very likable and helpful, in spite of his euphemistic job title and being something of a sycophant (the latter claim no doubt being a consequence of the former). He strikes me as sort of genuine and down-to-earth, and is even starting to win this place back some points — until informing me that “Here at BMW of Austin, we like to treat your car like it’s a person” and that he was going to “diagnose your BMW for you today”. That’s quite enough of that, thank you. Now, get me the fuck out of here.
As it turns out, they offer a complimentary shuttle service that will take you anywhere in Austin you need to go (before 4 PM). Okay, that’s actually pretty convenient. I walk outside, expecting a big, white shuttle van to be waiting….where instead I find a big, white BMW 7 series. We’re not out of the woods yet, folks. Despite my protesting to it, the door is opened for me. I get inside, look to my left, and come face-to-face with an extremely pretty girl. She’s a classic Southern belle — you know, sky blue eyes, dirty blonde hair and a smile sweeter than her grandmother’s iced tea. I’ve rarely been chauffeured by anyone but a peculiar smelling East African before, so this comes as a surprise to me.
“Where am I taking you today, Mr. Mikhail?”, she asks, in a bubbly Texan twang that must surely have been the death of at least one man.
“Anywhere but here, darlin’. Oh, and call me Andre”.