And now for something completely different…
Note: I usually put photos at the top of my posts… but PLEASE… read this one completely before viewing the photo, it’s worth it.
At work this afternoon about 5:00 the alert sound on my computer went off, as someone had just clicked the ‘Chat Now’ box with my photo on the Feldmann Imports website. So, I initiated the chat with this customer.It went something like this…
Customer: Do you still have the red Nissan Juke SV in stock? (I often answer Nissan questions if I’m the only one in the office, as we’re a Nissan dealer as well as a Mercedes-Benz dealer)
Me: We do, it’s sitting on the showfloor.
Customer: Can I come in an test drive it tonight?
Me: Sure, what’s your name, I’d be happy to make an appointment for you with one of my Nissan Sales people.
Customer: Santa Carlucci, the one and only! www.yoursantatoo.com
Let me stop for a moment, and give you a word or two about the chat function on the website… I believe it’s a good point of first contact, a tool to be used for a quick question or to make a quick appointment. It’s a horrible place to try to negotiate a car deal. The subtleties of interpersonal communication are entirely lost during a chat conversation. I get all kinds of people on chat… from pranksters to people with legitimate interests and needs. I have to treat each one as if they’re on the straight and narrow, but I have to be honest, I thought this was a complete joke… I mean, it is that time of year… and who includes a website URL in a chat conversation to a Santa website?
… So, right or wrong, after learning the name I thought, ‘great, some kid doesn’t have anything better to do than to bug me on chat… ‘ but I kept going, so did he…
Me: What time would you like to come in Mr. Carlucci?
Customer: I can be there in about a half an hour, I need a new sleigh!
…Oh, yeah, sure… a new sleigh… now I think someone is really putting me on, but I have to continue as if it’s a real person, you just never know.
Customer: I have an Altima now, but I need something with all wheel drive for the snow this year.
Me: I’ll look forward to meeting you when you come in in about a half an hour (yeah right, I thought).
Customer: Okay, Ciao!
So that was the end of it… going through my head were a couple of things. Is this guy for real? Is he going to show up with reindeer? What was that all about? Santa Carlucci? No way… but he did seem to know about the Juke, he has an Altima. Maybe he’s just a jokester having some Christmas fun. He did say “ciao” as good bye, and spelled it correctly in Italian, so he is probably really Italian.
So about a half hour later I walked outside my office and looked over the balcony onto the Nissan show floor (as my office is on the second floor of our new Nissan building, there is more office space in the new building than in the Mercedes-Benz building). I see a guy with white hair, and a huge white beard with a fedora hat on with a brown leather jacket and a red scarf. It looked like what Santa Claus must wear when he’s not at ‘work’. I couldn’t believe it and ran downstairs as fast as I could.
As I approached the Juke he was sitting in the driver’s seat, door open, checking it out.
“Mr. Carlucci?” I asked.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“I’m Dave Tobin, we chatted on the computer. Nice to meet you.” we shook hands, he smiled.
“Nice to meet you too,” he answered “So here it is?” he pointed at the Juke.
“Yeah, that’s it… ” I paused, but just had to say it, so I did… “You know, I wasn’t sure you were real when I got off the chat with you, this time of year, you know, I thought maybe someone was playing a joke on me.”
He smiled, “I’m a professional Santa Dave. I take my costume off on December 26th, right after Christmas, so I’m a little down today… I’m just an old guy with a beard today” he said that kind of sad like, just imagine, Santa, two days after Christmas, of course he’s going to be down in the dumps.
“Well, thanks for coming in tonight, I’ll get a sales person for you. Do you mind if I take your picture next to the Juke?”
“Not at all” he agreed.
Santa Carlucci is available for appearances, movies, party bookings, whatever you might need him for.