We leased a Ford Fiesta in 2013. The celebration by no means stopped (however typically it stalled)

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The opposite day, I acquired an electronic mail with the next topic line: Vital Security Recall Concerning Your Automobile from Santa Monica Ford Lincoln. A lesser man may’ve panicked. A extra cynical man may’ve thought he was being scammed. However I knew higher. This electronic mail was despatched to me for 2 causes:

  1. 9 years in the past, we signed a three-year lease on a Ford Fiesta.

  2. Ford manages their electronic mail lists about in addition to they make vehicles.

However typically an errant belch from a mismanaged knowledge mine is usually a godsend. Living proof: I didn’t know what I used to be going to jot down about this week, however now I do.

Again in 2013, Christina and I wanted a brand new automobile ASAP. We had tied the knot two years earlier, and my mother and father had given Christina their used 2003 Lexus. That automobile noticed us by means of some robust moments: my damaged ankle, a failed start-up, and the Mayan Apocalypse. However then in the future, some dipshit slammed into Christina’s Lexus, totaling the car. A couple of days after our insurance coverage firm minimize us a verify, we started purchasing for a brand new automobile.

“What sort of automobile ought to we get?” Christina requested.

“No clue. I don’t know jack about vehicles.”

“What’s your dream automobile?”

“We are able to’t afford my dream automobile.”

“Simply play alongside,” Christina mentioned. “Inform me your dream automobile, and possibly that’ll assist encourage our search.”

“OK, my dream automobile is a Toyota Corolla.”

“You already drive a Toyota Corolla, honey.”

“Yeah, however you didn’t let me end. My dream automobile is a Toyota Corolla with a driver who makes a six-figure wage, with well being, dental, pension, and 6 weeks paid trip.”

“You’re proper, we positively can’t afford that.”

Finally, for causes I don’t keep in mind, we ended up on the North Hollywood Ford dealership, which by the way, is the place goals go to die.

Our salesman was new. He seemed like he was twelve happening 13. I believe we have been his first clients ever. Talking of firsts, this was our first main monetary choice as a married couple. We have been no match for this novice automobile salesman.

We instructed the salesperson we have been on a finances. He confirmed us a silver Ford Fiesta. Christina was capable of pair her cellphone to the stereo on the primary strive (one thing of a expertise coup in these days). We took it for a take a look at drive and the whole lot went superb. Again on the dealership, the rookie salesman performed his ace card.

“Examine this out,” he mentioned as he flipped a change on the dashboard.

Abruptly, the Ford Fiesta’s inside lights started to alter colours: blue, purple, inexperienced.

“Get together mode,” the salesperson mentioned.

We instantly agreed to signal a three-year lease. Six hours later, we completed the paperwork for a silver Ford Fiesta, named it The Silver Bullet Band, and drove house.

A few month into the lease, we observed one thing odd about The Silver Bullet Band. Though our Ford Fiesta had an computerized transmission, issues would go kerflooey at low speeds.

“It seems like a guide transmission being pushed by somebody who doesn’t know tips on how to drive stick,” Christina mentioned.

We determined to swap vehicles for a number of days. Christina drove my Corolla, The Midnight Rider, and I drove The Silver Bullet Band.

“Yeah, that transmission is fucked six methods from Sunday,” I mentioned. “It jogs my memory of after I discovered to drive stick. The automobile would shake till I managed to get it into gear, however I all the time had bother stepping into gear as a result of the shaking made me giggle, and my driving teacher would yell at me about how I wanted to be critical.”

“That each one tracks, particularly the picture of younger Michael guffawing whereas he mashes the gears on a guide transmission.”

Since The Silver Bullet Band was an computerized, and subsequently proof against the bumping & grinding related to poorly-operated guide transmissions, we determined to take it again to the dealership so their mechanics might have a look.

“Nothing fallacious with the transmission per se,” the mechanic instructed me.

“Per se?”

The mechanic seemed round to ensure no one was eavesdropping.

“Fact?” he requested.


“The geniuses at Ford,” he started, “and also you perceive after I use the phrase genius, I’m being sarcastic as a result of we’re actually speaking about idiots… properly, the idiots who designed this transmission tried to do the unattainable.”

“The unattainable?”

“Yeah, they tried to marry the effectivity of a guide transmission with the consumer expertise of an computerized. There’s a pc chip that really does the shifting.”

“And there’s one thing fallacious with the chip?”

“No, the chip works completely.”

“Then why does it shake so badly in low gear?”

“As a result of this complete thought is canine shit.”

“You’re saying it’s a design flaw?”

The mechanic seemed round once more to ensure we have been alone.

“I didn’t say something. But when I have been you, I’d get a unique automobile.”

Sadly, that wasn’t an possibility. I took The Silver Bullet Band house, defined the state of affairs to Christina, and for the following 12 months, each time we drove our Ford Fiesta, we made consider we have been scholar drivers struggling to grasp a guide transmission.

Then in the future, Ford despatched us a letter explaining that there was a recall on our Fiesta’s transmission. The mechanic had been proper concerning the design flaw, though that’s not how Ford’s attorneys put it within the letter. Regardless, Ford invited us to schedule an appointment to interchange the transmission freed from cost. So, I dropped The Silver Bullet Band off at North Hollywood Ford. Per week later, I got here again to choose it up.

“Did they lastly dump that silly thought for a transmission?” I requested the mechanic.

“Nope. It’s the identical design, however this time they swear it really works.”

Then the mechanic laughed, which was the alternative of comforting.

The brand new transmission didn’t enhance something. So, I referred to as Ford company and gave them a chunk of my thoughts. Naturally, Ford gave my criticism their full consideration, which is to say, a vice chairman of customer support uttered some boilerplate phrases of sympathy, defined that nothing may very well be finished, after which assured me that I used to be a “valued buyer.”

A couple of months after my expertise with Ford company, I went again to the dealership and demanded that they repair the transmission. To my shock, they agreed! However to my chagrin, the second substitute transmission suffered from the identical design flaw.

“Are we simply presupposed to drive this piece of shit automobile perpetually?” Christina requested.

At first, I didn’t know what to say. However Christina’s phrasing—piece of shit automobile—jogged my memory of the underrated Adam Sandler tune, Ode to My Automotive.

“So, what’s the plan right here?” Christina requested. “Are we simply going to drive round in a shaking Ford Fiesta that may’t get into gear, listening to Adam Sandler sing about his piece of shit automobile?”

Whereas that didn’t seem to be an answer within the basic sense of the phrase, the Sandler plan did seem to be an honest technique to cope. And that’s what we did. We coped till the lease got here to an finish. And on that day of freedom, I drove that shaking piece of shit Ford Fiesta again to the dealership in North Hollywood.

“Is there something we will do to place you in a brand new automobile?” a salesman requested.

“Yeah,” I mentioned. “You possibly can promote me a Toyota.”

In fact, this three-year lease wasn’t all enjoyable and video games. There have been instances when our piece of shit automobile actually received below our pores and skin. The truth is, driving round in a shaking shit bucket, as I typically referred to The Silver Bullet Band, often prompted some bickering. After one argument, Christina instructed we do a publish mortem on our automobile search and the choice to lease a Ford Fiesta.

“Submit mortem, who died?”

“It’s only a phrase we use after we do an evaluation after a challenge, or a product launch,” Christina mentioned. “I do them on a regular basis.”

“You imply, like, we discuss what went proper, what went fallacious, after which we attempt to study from our errors?”

“You bought it.”

So, we talked about our ill-fated automobile search. Christina walked us by means of a timeline of our search, from studying on-line evaluations to displaying up on the Ford dealership in North Hollywood. As a lot as attainable, we tried to stay to details with out inserting our emotions into the evaluation. It took about an hour.

We discovered that we might’ve finished extra analysis into the Ford Fiesta. However in fact, you possibly can all the time do extra analysis. We additionally discovered that we make higher selections after we don’t really feel like we’re below the gun to unravel a worrying drawback like transportation. However in fact, minimizing stress isn’t all the time attainable, even when doing so contributes to higher decision-making. The actual studying, nevertheless, was that we each made the very same mistake on the automobile dealership.

“I didn’t actually query the salesperson as a result of I believed you wished the Fiesta, and I didn’t need to upset your plans,” I mentioned. “You’re the individual I respect most relating to making selections. I figured for those who have been on board, don’t be an fool and rock the boat. Is that bizarre?”

“Identical factor with me! I respect your judgment greater than anybody else on the planet, Michael. I believed you have been all in on the Fiesta, so I didn’t say something.”

“Wait a minute. Did we lease a chunk of shit Ford Fiesta as a result of neither one in every of us wished to seem like a dumbass in entrance of the individual we love?”

“I believe so,” Christina mentioned.



“So, what can we do with this info?”

“Effectively, what we received right here is failure to speak.”

Whether or not she knew it or not, Christina was quoting the dirtbag-poet Axl Rose, who had sampled these very phrases from a speech in Cool Hand Luke for the opening of the Weapons & Roses basic Civil Conflict. However I didn’t level that out as a result of I didn’t need to interrupt Christina’s movement.

“The factor we didn’t do,” Christina continued, “was have a pre-meeting?”

“A pre-meeting?”

“It’s a gathering between you and me earlier than we speak to a third-party. The concept is we use that point to get on the identical web page about what we wish. Plus, we will sport out negotiation methods, set expectations, articulate dealbreakers, and even pre-plan an excellent cop / unhealthy cop routine.”

“Wow. This appears approach higher than our earlier half-assed strategy.”

“Completely. The pre-meeting is a full-ass strategy.”

We determined then and there that each massive choice—a brand new automobile, shopping for a house, investments, and so on.—would require a pre-meeting. The truth is, we’ve been doing pre-meetings ever because the Ford Fiesta Fiasco. Each time associates ask us for relationship recommendation, we stress the worth of the pre-meeting.

“If a pair isn’t hashtag aligned,” Christina likes to say, “they’re hashtag fucked.”

I really like listening to from readers such as you as a result of it makes writing State of affairs Regular a lot enjoyable! In the event you loved this story, please let me know by leaving a remark beneath. Or, for those who’re the kind of one that likes a immediate, think about the next questions:

  1. The Ford Fiesta was the worst automobile I’ve ever owned or leased. What was the worst automobile you ever owned or leased?

  2. The names of our earlier vehicles have been music references: Midnight Rider and The Silver Bullet Band. Our present vehicles are Shuttle Tydirium (Star Wars) and Darkish Helmet (Spaceballs). Do you title your automobiles? If that’s the case, please share these names!

  3. I wasn’t kidding about my dream automobile. It stays a Toyota Corolla with a driver who makes a six-figure wage, with well being, dental, pension, and 6 weeks paid trip. What’s your dream automobile?

  4. In the event you’re fortunate sufficient to reside with no automobile, how do you get round? Please share the whole lot you possibly can about your car-free paradise!

  5. Pre-meetings have helped us work by means of some tough selections with minimal stress. What’s your greatest piece of relationship recommendation?

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