Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Profiles In Gullibility

     One of my elderly neighbors is, shall we say, more credulous than is advisable for a man who lives alone, without benefit of a wife or a vigilant, well-compensated professional minder. That can get you suckered into cons and scams a lot more dangerous than Three-Card Monte. As a demonstration of this property and its pitfalls, allow me to present an example.

     I recently traded in Miranda, my silver 2007 Mercedes S550, for an as-yet-unbaptized 2011 black Mercedes S550. (Miranda had reached 100,000 miles, a figure that makes me nervous, especially when the object of that nervousness is a car.) And upon coming home with the new conveyance, the following exchange ensued:

     Excessively Gullible Neighbor: Did you buy another new car?
     Francis W. Porretto: Huh? What are you talking about?

     EGN: That’s not your Mercedes.
     FWP: Of course it is! It’s my S550. Look at the badges.

     EGN: But your Mercedes is silver.
     FWP: Oh, I see. I just selected the alternate color scheme.

     EGN: What?
     FWP: There’s a feature on the S550 that allows you to alternate between two color schemes. My alternate is black. I just selected it for the holidays. I didn’t realize you’d never seen it before.

     EGN: Wow! I didn’t know that was possible. Can you show me?
     FWP: I’d like to, but the transition takes place over a full day, so you could stand here for an hour and barely notice the change.
     EGN: Oh.

     I smiled and said “Have a nice day,” rushed inside, and surrendered to hysterics.

     Don’t let this happen to you.

     UPDATE: Oh, all right:

     (Personally, I prefer the silver scheme to this alternate, but...well, the holidays, you know.)

9 comments:

  1. Oh, my ... that explains a lot ...

    Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore ... the residents merely invoking their "alternate color scheme".

    I'm guessing that would prove "all lives matter" ?

    (How gullible are you? ... I push your leg ...)

    Hans
    in the NC woods

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  2. You are so, so mean!
    ;)

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  3. Alas, my Infiniti (160,000 miles) is incapable of such astonishing feats.

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  4. 100k for an MBZ used to mean that is barely broken in. Now, alas, with so many electronic 'aids' on the cars, your replacing it seems like a wise decision.

    Coincidentally, I saw an article today on all the work required to restore a severely neglected example from 90k miles. Even as a mildly accomplished wrench turner, this looked to be a daunting task.

    Link: http://thegarage.jalopnik.com/how-to-build-a-1500-salvage-title-s55-amg-to-speed-acr-1743576294

    PS: Hey, finish the next book, willya? ;)

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  5. Fran, is the statue of the bull still in place there at what used to be the entrance to Smithtown?

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  6. I sold my 2011 S550 in July and purchased a new Lexus LS. For the first couple of weeks, I was delighted as I think I was under the influence of that new car smell, however, it didn't take long for me to miss my old MB. The S550 is the ultimate highway car at least in my experience. The smugness of the dealership staff aside, the S550 was a wonderful ownership experience. I already have my eye out for a low mileage 2013 model. One great thing about the Lexus is that it holds its price very well. I'll be putting that to the test in the near future.

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  7. Yes, Reg, the bull is still there. Every so often I overhear a parent telling his kids about the reason for it.

    Syd, I'm a Mercedes enthusiast myself. My wife is a Lexus fan. Just now, she's conducting a subtle campaign for a new RX-350, in place of her Chrysler minivan. I keep asking her whether she thinks she could get our Newfoundland Rufus into it should the need arise, and she immediately changes the subject.

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  8. Even though your unafraid I would suggest blurring out the plate number. Prevention is always a good thing.

    All the best!
    paul

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  9. I don't worry about that, Paul. I'm pretty much "entirely visible" to anyone who cares to know. The only things I still keep entirely to myself are passwords. But thanks for the thought, and for caring.

    All my best,
    Fran

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