Death by Salesman

Dressed in a pinstripe suit
he promises you the moon
but offers you nothing.
Reeking of after-shave
he claims he can get you
‘the very best deal today.’

He lies about the options
& raises the price whenever
you think it’s finally fixed.
Other salesmen pop in
& give their 2 cents worth
on this deal from hell.
‘Oh, you can’t do better
than that,’ they sagely predict
clicking their donut tongues.

The salesman drives you down
back-alleys to a remote compound
where your car may be hidden
in hip-high grass.
On the way he tells you
of his migraines & how he
just started this job today.
He needs the sale bad, he says
picking at his teeth & nose.

Back in his office he leaps up
in mid-sentence & retreats to
his boss’s office to discuss what
they figure they can rip you off.
He changes the price again
(now you see it, now you don’t)
& your ulcer begins to burn
but you vow not to budge
an inch to these scuzzy sharks.

The business manager sits upstairs
like a vulture waiting
to work you over like the WWF.
His desk is littered with
photos of smiling children.
‘This is how I feed my kids’
he explains. ‘It’s your funeral’
he adds when you refuse his services.

The deal closed, there is some doubt
as to the actual value
of the vehicle in question.
Bravely you stride into the sunlight
& clean air, sans serial no., cheque
and warranty. Even now you are not
really sure if you have bought a car.


There are many other plays, scenes and roles that people would rather be caught in than this ordeal. Suffice to say that reality and illusion become very skewed in a car salesman’s office. I have been cast in this bad play more than once and lived to write about it. I always figure I am very lucky when the haggling, deception, insults, and arrogance finally stop and, mercifully, I don’t have to see someone like this anymore except to pick up the keys.

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