It's a theme park of an experience, staged in a vast and sparkling complex with an army of cheery (and masked) employees in matching red shirts and in constant motion, speaking to customers, tapping keyboards, rustling paperwork, making calls. They call me twice, in fact, as I slump in a soft leather chair reading a book in a far corner of the showroom. Both times the female voices suggest I speak to a manager about a great offer they can make on my 2016 Highlander if I’d like to drive home today in a brand new car. "I love my current car but thanks."
Just as soon as I'm back to my book a text buzzes from Joseph, my service advisor: “Rear brake pads at 3mm almost metal on metal needs replacement.” Well, of course. He gives me 10 percent off, so there’s that.
I realize I could avoid the dealer and go to a smaller shop for these things. I’m sure I could save money. But I guess I’m loyal. And whiling away a couple of hours at one of the nation’s largest Toyota dealers isn’t necessarily bad. It’s a well-oiled “customer experience” machine, all this sales and service and deal making, and I believe these folks really do care.
Joseph makes his way over to me with something in his hand. "This is for a $25 rebate on the brake work. Just fill it out and mail it in. Thought you'd want this."