I went to a local dealership on the day after Christmas for a small adjustment to my car.
I was quite surprised at how many people were waiting in the service department and milling about the new-car showroom.
Unfortunately, the service writer I encountered was in vacation mode. He did not seem to think any of us was very important.
My only guess was that he had been stuck with the job for the day or week and had no idea what he was really supposed to be doing. Certainly, he was not supposed to be alienating customers.
For some reason, there is a widespread belief that no one needs a car dealership during the holidays. Sorry, but America's new-car dealerships are busy serving their customers and potential customers all week long between Christmas and New Year's.
Franchised car dealerships are in the retail business. Just like other retailers, like it or not, there are plenty of folks who need service and parts — whether wholesale or retail — during the holidays.
And yes, Virginia, people are buying cars.
No one says it is a lot of fun to be working during this time. Certainly the factories have set a lousy example all these years, perhaps led by the UAW, which makes sure their members get the holidays off.
And good luck trying to get ahold of an automotive executive. They may or may not realize it, but their world keeps on moving even when they're off. Competition, as always, goes to the hardest working.
I do not know how many vehicles are sold in the waning days of December or how many folks show up for service, but it is enough so that they should not be ignored.
During a snowstorm last week, I came across a perfect example of a customer- focused service writer. I needed washer fluid, pulled into a Fiat Chrysler dealership in Troy, Mich., and told Diana my dilemma.
She took care of it. When I asked her what the charge was, she answered with a smile and a thank you.
I'm sure she made a lot of friends that day. I hope everyone understands that helping hands like hers are what service is all about.