Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Targeted Failvertising

     An envelope from the local Hyundai dealer showed up the other day, personally addressed to me rather than "occupant," as is so often the case.

     That was mildly interesting, so I set it to one side.  I bought my present Lexus RX-mobile* from their used-car lot, with exactly one key for it; maybe they found the others?

     This morning, I had a look at the contents.  Outside, my full name and address.  Inside, a coupon for $25 of service and a computer-generated letter in a variation on Comic Sans:

          [...] If I offered you the right amount for your 2004 Ford Taurus, would you trade vehicles with me or at least let me buy your Taurus?  I'm asking because I need quality pre-owned vehicles just like yours [...]."

     It goes on in that vein for most of a page.

     This is amusing on a number of levels -- it's very likely that "William" and I were not uniquely subject to having our letters switched, but that hundreds of previous customers received the wrong letter.  And far from being a "quality pre-owned vehicle," I got a pretty good deal on my car -- and no warranty -- because it had become something of a "hangar queen" at the dealers as they corrected years of deferred maintenance, a new surprise on every test drive.  I'm pretty sure they don't want it back; just replacing the tire-pressure sensors would wipe out a third of the profit if they did very well on the resale.

     A for effort, D for execution.  I named the brand because I was satisfied with the series of used Hyundai Accents I drove before the Lexus; they were a good value for money, better built and sturdier than I would have expected for an entry-level car.  My friend The Data Viking has been buying new, high-end Hyundais (Hyundae?) for about a decade and he's happy with them, too.

     But the local dealer needs to hire more diligent envelope-stuffers.  Or was it all a cunning plan to get my attention?  It did that, but I'm not in the least interested in trading my present car.  I buy cars well used and run them until they start to fall apart or someone hits them.
* Literally; it's a Lexus RX330 semi-demi-sport-ute/vanette with a good many years on it.  I like it; I liked the RX300 I had before it and as long as Lexus keeps making variations on this model -- they're up to RX350, last time I looked -- I'll keep buying very used ones when I need a newer car.


rickn8or said...

Sounds like some prankster slipped one already-prepared envelope from the bottom of the stack to the top, leaving the stack of already-prepared letters alone.

Just the thing I'd be capable of on my last day at work.

fillyjonk said...

Or maybe they're counting on there being enough people with some vestige of goodwill, who might come in with "I think this letter was meant for someone else?"

The other day I received a phone message from someone wanting to discuss 'student loan' terms with me (I have been out of undergrad nearly 30 years, and was fortunate back then to avoid loans altogether) and I will admit, my first instinct was to call them back and say "Hey, maybe you don't know this, but you might have called me in error." Fortunately I am getting as wise as a serpent (as well as trying to maintain a dove-like innocence) because I looked the number up online and found....scam alert.

My pessimistic side says: You want people to get meaner and less trusting? THIS is how you get people to be meaner and less trusting. (by abusing what trust remains)

markm said...

I wish all those robocallers who begin by falsely claiming some kind of previous business relationship could be charged with fraud. They tell me my car's extended warranty is about to expire (I don't buy extended warranties, and the dealer warranty on a used car expired years ago), that I bought a cruise on a cruise ship from them before (crossing Lake Michigan on the SS Badger is the closest I've ever come, or ever want to), they want to talk about my home mortgage (it's been over 20 years since I paid the last one off, and I paid cash for the house I'm living in now), etc. It's amazing that none of them ever even coincidentally assume anything about me that's true.

Well.... There was _one_ time long ago that spam came close enough to my life that I spent a few minutes thinking about it. That was e-mail that started, "We regret to inform you that (randomly selected first name)(my last name) died recently in Lagos." The name just happened to match a cousin that I hadn't heard from in years. Then I remembered that Lagos was in Nigeria - but could it be true? He was in the Air Force, would there be some reason for him to be deployed to Africa?

And then I got to the part about him leaving $6.4 million. Nope, that can't be my cousin!