Friday, March 19, 2010

You don't know Roger Penske

There's a slight variation on a conversation I have every day at the auto show. The gist of it is some unattractive aging woman decides to take out her feelings of inadequacy on the auto show models by lording her money and/or connections over us. Most of the time it is a blatant lie; all of the time it is obnoxious.

Another booth babe told me she once had a woman (who was sorely in need of microdermabrasion and the South Beach diet) become super-snotty with her, insisting that the booth babe was wrong about something that she said she knew for a fact was true because Roger Penske himself sold her the vehicle.

Give me a freakin' break, lady. Do you really think anyone believes that Roger Penske, one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, took time out of his incredibly busy schedule of running multiple global enterprises to come down to one of his many car dealerships and personally sell you your car? Yes, I am so sure RP walked the lot with you, took you for a test drive, brought you into that little back room where they wheel and deal on financing then handed you the keys to your new car after raping you on your trade-in. Please name drop some more, ooh, I'm so intimidated.

This morning Howard Schultz poured my Starbucks himself! Then Steve Jobs turned on my MacBook for me, Mark Zuckerberg personally emailed me to let me know my mom updated her Facebook last night and Rex Tillerson pumped my gas. (If you don't know who those guys are maybe you can call up Larry Page and Sergey Brin and ask them to Google it for you.)

And PS - Even if she did know Roger Penske, she was still wrong.


  1. It's amazing the people pull that petty crud... Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, eh? :) Have a good weekend.

  2. I'm a fan of Roger Penske on facebook. That means I know him.

  3. Yeah, well, Fritz Henderson has me on speed dial, and I write all of the Stig lead-ins for Jeremy Clarkson!


  4. Obnoxious? Really?

    I've always thought that name droppers were the first string of real-life comic relief crew, only exceeded by know-it-all experts. The only problem I ever have is trying to keep a straight face and not bust up laughing until I'm away from them.

    Oh, The guy above me is lying, I know because the Stig is my chauffeur.

  5. Well, if she has enough money, maybe she really lives near him in Bloomfield and he sent her to one of his stores.

    Successful people do have real lives and people actually know them.

    Do I know Roger Penske? Well, I've spoken with him a couple of times.

    Is it appropriate to drop names? Usually not, but if someone says, for example, that they think Bob Lutz is a BS artist, I don't think it's rude for me to say that I've spoken with him a few times and that's not the impression I have of him.

    Is it wrong for me to say that I once complimented Heidi Klum on her looks, not knowing who she was, and got a warm response? It's a nice story to tell, but who'd care if she was not a famous supermodel?

    I'm only one degree of separation from some pretty famous people, and you know what, they're people just like you and me. A mutual friend once asked Peter Himmelman what his father in law was like, and Peter said, "Bob's a good grandfather".

  6. Just do keyword conversations, I've been doing this little trick so long it just turns on automatically when I step into any large crowd. If you don't know what I mean, it goes something like this:
    ME: Do you have any questions about...
    SHOW GO-ER: No... Well actually, I do have one question...
    (At this point the brain app "keyword conversations" kicks in)
    From then on all I hear is: Blah, blah, blah, HORSEPOWER, blah, blah, blah, MPG, blah, blah, SAFETY RATING, blah, blah, MSRP?
    Yep, everyone basically asks the same things over and over again; and sometimes the noise level is so loud that any meaningful conversation points are lost in the vocal transference anyways. So, the best reply to any would-be conversation is to smile, nod, and spew forth the bile that the industry considers important in distinguishing the car model closest to you from the next one over.
    Have a nice day... that means "leave". Don't stand there waiting for more pearls of wisdom, they ain't comin'.


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