October 13, 2023

The UNREAL Award Winners

Buckle up as we steer you through the wild rollercoaster that was this year’s UNREAL Awards. We sifted through a heap of submissions, cherry-picked the cream of the crop, and handed out trophies and $250 gift cards to the champions.

Craziest Trade-In

In the wild world of car trading, there’s always that one deal that makes jaws drop and eyebrows raise.

Dan Vinci

Tom Roush Mazda Mitsubishi

“I once traded for a horse while working as a relatively new salesperson at Crossroads Lincoln Mercury. One day, a customer came in looking to purchase a new Lincoln Town Car. When I inquired about a potential trade-in, he surprised me by saying he wanted to trade in a horse. At first, I thought he was joking, and I chuckled. However, he seemed dead serious and said, “I have a horse I want to trade.”

It left me wondering why someone would want to swap a horse for a Lincoln Town Car, but I didn’t press for more details. I approached my manager and explained that my customer wanted to trade in a horse for a Town Car. My manager, seemingly baffled, asked, “You mean a Ford Mustang?” I replied, “No, a real horse!” He was still skeptical and decided to clarify with the customer himself.

Together, we confronted the customer, and my manager asked, “Sir, I’ve been told you have a horse to trade in for a new Lincoln Town Car.” The customer confirmed, and my manager was silent for agood two minutes, as if he couldn’t believe his ears. Finally, he began a conversation with the customer, inquiring about the horse’s age, condition, and so on. Eventually, he said, “Alright, I’ll be right back.”

My manager went to consult the General Manager (GM) on how to handle a horse trade. The GM also assumed it was a joke, and after some discussion, he said, “Well, we don’t have a ‘black book’ for horses. Let me try to get some buy offers from local farms, and we’ll work from there.” After making several calls, they managed to secure a buy offer and closed the deal.

The customer drove off in a new black signature Town Car, and we suddenly became the owners of a horse.

We arranged for the farmer who agreed to buy the horse to pick it up the next day. However, when my manager contacted the farmer, he informed us that he had changed his mind. He had inspected the horse and found it didn’t meet his expectations, both in terms of condition and description. He refused to take the horse. So, we found ourselves as the proud owners of a horse with no place to keep it. It took some time, but after several calls, my GM managed to secure a place to house the horse.

It took over five long months to eventually get rid of that horse. During this time, we bore the costs of housing and feeding it until we finally sold it. While there’s humor in the story, it also serves as a cautionary tale: trading a horse for a vehicle can be a costly and unpredictable venture.”

Things I Probably Shouldn’t Have Said

Now, here’s the category for those cringeworthy moments when dealers accidentally stick their foot in their mouths. Our winner in this category left us in stitches.

Deon Bethea

Jimmy Britt CDJR Statesboro
craziest test driveWhile working with an older gentleman on his vehicle purchase, I sat down to present the numbers, but he interrupted me, saying, ‘You’re going to give me your best numbers upfront.’I responded, ‘Sir, these are the best numbers.’ At that moment, the old man reached down and pulled out a gun, repeating, ‘You’re going to give me your best numbers’. I decided to test my luck and began to laugh. I then added, ‘Sir, this is Georgia. We all have guns. And these ARE the best numbers.’To my relief, he started smiling. It was then that I realized he was messing with me. I even managed to snap a picture of the old man with the gun.In the end, he went on to purchase the vehicle. I got lucky in calling his bluff”.

Craziest Test Drive

We don’t even know what we would do in this situation.

Denny Blalock

Saturn of Columbia

“The General Manager of Sam’s Club visited with his family to test drive the brand new Saturn Relay. Since our stores were located next to each other, I was eager to make a good impression. They loaded their three kids into the vehicle – one in the second-row bucket seat and the other two in the third row. I sat in the remaining second-row seat.

craziest test driveAs we were cruising down the interstate at 70 mph, the sliding door on my side unexpectedly began to open fully. Panic set in as I frantically pressed all the buttons to close it. The parents were understandably alarmed, and the alarms in the car began blaring.

After changing lanes and pulling over, the door finally closed. I tried to downplay it, suggesting that I might have accidentally bumped something, though it wasn’t true. We resumed our journey.

However, half a mile later, the driver’s side sliding door, where the 6-year-old was sitting, had the same issue. Once more, we had to stop, and both parents were shouting at me, as if I had designed the van myself. They insisted on returning via back roads, clearly displeased. They hurriedly left the vehicle, and I drove it back to the service department.

Hours later, the service team reported that they couldn’t replicate the issue. Unfortunately, this incident led to us not making any new car sales to Sam’s Club members.”

The UNREAL Awards was an event to remember, and it brought dealers together to share their side-splitting stories. Once more, a big congrats to our winners and a tip of the hat to all who made this event an absolute blast. See you next year.