Writers often have to take outside jobs while they hone their skills, but a New York used car salesman has managed to combine his work and hobby into the most literary sales pitches since Kurt Vonnegut owned a Saab dealership.
Buried among the millions of used-car listings online, one Z. Szymanski, an Internet manager at Mohegan Lake Audi in Mohegan Lake, N.Y., has sprinkled short stories into dozens of ads that try to sell used Audis while making fun of selling used Audis.
The key character in most is Mr. Barry, Szymanski's boss and frequent bumbler:
Mr. Barry, our esteemed dealer principal, and resident village idiot bought this car last night... and today we had to open an hour later than usual because he was bragging about this incredible 2008 Audi A-6 Avant, luxury wagon and we had to research all of the option codes. I mean this baby is looooooooaded with an original MSRP of nearly 60 (gulp) thousand dollars. Night Blue with Beige premium leather... then it has option wxp1 a wood and leather steering wheel ... that looks sensational. Then it's got option blank blank for rear and side sunshades, premium leather, technology package and rear camera, premium package, Bose Audi even Audi Care which is prepaid scheduled maintenance. Enough... but not enough for Mr. Barry... he says it has the 18HGL Package that is a $2495 option. We're looking and we're looking and can't find the option.. and oh by the way the price of this Avant is $42,495 so all of a sudden $38,995 with all this and Audi Certification looks like a deal. So after two hours of mumbo jumbo, Mr. Barry comes clean..sorta. He admits that he's at his vacation home in Hilton Head, S.C. and he runs into an Audi Vice-President(no names, please). Mr. Barry buys him a round of golf... the Audi Exec wants to show his gratitude... his brother in law is turning in his one of a kind Avant wagon, and Mr. Audi wants to direct the car to Mohegan Lake. Great.. nice touch, OK. Nope! Mr. Barry decides that after his last encounter with the nice people at the IRS when he tried to deduct his vacation home as a used car facility, he's going to wise up... he'll just make up an option and put it on a loaded loaded car you can't find anywhere... 18HGL... 18 holes of golf, plus dinner, plus airfare, plus car rental, plus plus $2495, and pocket the money. So after we threaten to turn Mr. Barry into his good friends at the IRS again, you can now buy this impossible to find luxury wagon for $38,995... now a steal.
Mr. Barry is quite the muse:
I'm sitting in my office and notice two strange things.... 1- we just got in a Certified Pre-Owned Q-5... a vehicle you can never find and 2- I hear gasping sobs and a sorrowful wail coming from the showroom floor.. And surprisingly they are both related to this terrific '09 Q-5 that we now have. But first the sobs and crying. Hard to believe, but little Mohegan Lake has been awarded for the second year in a row the prestigious MAGNA SOCIETY award from Audi. This award recognizes us as one of the Top 50 Audi Dealers in the Country ... no small accomplishment. So the big guy from Audi, our area CEO, Red Seagrims comes up and presents Mr. Barry, our esteemed dealer principal his award. Since it's two in a row for us little guys, Mr. Barry is expecting like a Gold Rolex President...maybe a Silver Datejust.. maybe a trip to Puerto Rico, maybe a 60' TV However, Mr. Seagrims presents Mr. Barry with a tin 3 inch by 2 inch plate to put on our already awarded wall plaque. Well Mr. Barry starts to tear up... then he starts crying... then he starts to fall down on the floor and starts wailing. He's mumbling something like..'this is an outrage.. I've never been so humiliated...I have never been so...so...' He can't finish the words.. it's really sad, it's so pathetic. While Mr. Barry is dumb as rocks and basically inherited our dealership from his father, I think he merited a little bit more than a 3X2 plate. Everyone wanted to call 911, but Mr. Chuck, our nice Audi Manager reminded us that a one of a kind used Audi usually cures Mr. Barry of poor manners or politically incorrect phone calls to higher-ups. So Mr. Seagrims pulls from the Audi Factory auction a 2009 Meteor Gray Q-5, V-6 Premium Plus with Navigation and only 20,000 miles. It just landed..it's just like new..It's $41,995 with Audi Certification and while Mr. Barry is no longer crying , we are all going to chip and go to Chinatown and buy him a $69 Rolex knockoff, as soon as you buy this Audi.
Here's where we note that the dealer principal of Mohegan Lake Audi is actually named Barry Rost, and that Mohegan Lake Audi did actually win a Magna Society award. Other real employees of Mohegan Lake also become fodder for the tales:
Three years ago when Howard Burman, our most senior Audi Sales Executive sold this S-6, he said it was the 'Best Car in the World.' Well according to Howard, everything he does IS .....THE BEST IN THE WORLD. However a short time later AUTOMOBILE Magazine proclaimed the S-6... simply the BEST CAR in the WORLD... if you take into account variables like price, handling, performance, economy, etc. So if this White S-6 with Black Recaro leather sport seats was THE BEST CAR IN THE WORLD when it cost $81,000... what's it now for $47,995 with Audi Certification and only 26,000 miles. It's now THE HOWARD BURMAN of CARS. What really frosts me is that when this S-6 landed... with adaptive cruise, lane assist, nav, tech, heated rear seats, carbon fiber everything, I begged Mr. Barry, our esteemed dealer principal to let me drive it home. 'NO WAY, Mr.Barry roared, don't want anymore miles.' But now I find that Burman is driving this incredible machine to F. Ben Radzyner the 2nd's wedding next week and is chauffeuring the priest who is perfoming the wedding at St. Mary's. I hate Radzyner after he got the top marketing job here and now Burman get's to drive MY car to F. Ben's wedding to the socialite Rosemarie Cass. PLEASE... check around, this is a steal. $47995 with Audi Certification.. a deal and a half. And if you buy the car this week, I'll personally fill up the tank. It would kill Burman...something I can only pray for.
And Szymanski doesn't spare himself:
Recently some of my writings were read at an Audi Used Vehicle training meeting... really!! And... I wasn't thrilled that they referred to the writings as 'over the top.' So first off, let me say that they Do Not have my permission to reread my writings and second... OVER THE TOP?? Let me tell you what's OVER THE TOP.... Audi giving me tickets to the Yankees vs. Detroit game.. and my seats are beyond the UTZ Sign... If I knew I was sitting there... I would have brought a 'P' with me to hang over the sign. So I will not accept any Yankee tickets... unless they are to the Audi Club... I will not accept anything less than Box Seats... I insist on preferred parking and I would like unlimited beverage refills. Non-negotiable... Not open for discussion. So now that I've ventilated... I will be PC.. this 7 passenger Q-7 is nice.. it is very nice. It is big... it is very big. It has leather.. leather on everything. it has Navigation.. I could have used Audi Navigation to find my Audi Seat in Yankee Sadium... backup camera.. so you can look at your back when you back up. It is Audi Certified.. so that means it's Certifed. It is a good buy.. it is a steal.. it is a big steal at $37,995. You should buy this Q-7. Written according to Audi CPO Guidelines. So now that everyone at Audi is happy... we are no longer 'over the top' but 'writing between the lines', when can I expect my NEW and IMPROVED Certified Audi Yankee tickets? And now because Mr. Paul our CPO (Big Shot) Manager wants to win two bleacher seats worth $30 to a Yankee game, he's dropped the price a cool $2000...makes good sense .. a $2000 reduction for $30 seats.
We called Szymanski to ask how he came to write mini-novels in car ads, and how well they work at selling cars, and how Mr. Barry puts up with being called a village idiot, but we haven't heard back. Some stories end that way.
UPDATE: But not this one. Szymanski got in touch to let us know the work wasn't just his, but a group effort from the office to liven up the typically dull world of online ads. "We like to work hard and have fun," he said.
The stories "are a little bit of a tease...someone buying an A4 already knows exactly what they're looking for. They know what the car is — we're just trying to get them interested."
Hat tip to Peter!