The Customer Celebrity

To live a life that is disconnected from technology is very difficult.  Author Daniel Quinn discusses how it is our nature to develop air conditioning and computers and all the screen time, after all, technology can be employed by a primate that uses a stick as an eating implement; as the ants walk up it, the primate eats the ants off the stick.

I recently had a very strange experience.  It is probably very common today.  My wife and I decide to buy a car.  We have purchased several cars before, but this experience was totally different.  For those of you who have purchased a new car recently, it might not be that shocking, but for me it was unique.  We went to a dealer after some initial comparisons and research.  A salesperson greeted us in the typical “Sharks in the Water” method, but he was respectful of the distance I required to feel comfortable, he showed us a car, got the key, and turned on the car so I could hear it and see the engine running.  He offered and encouraged a test drive, but we didn’t have the time, and we left after a handshake, exchange of a business card, and I articulated that I would return.

Pretty normal so far, right?  I returned to the dealership when I told him I would, but he was busy with another customer and a hand off was made so that we could take the test drives we needed to make a more informed decision.  It was good that we did, because we were able to settle on one of the models because of the test drive.  Typical back in the showroom to look at the numbers and negotiate, but we knew we would not be buying a car that day in spite of the sales team’s efforts to have us sign then and there.  I like to think about things and do a little more investigation after I’ve done my initial research.  I like to sleep on it and see what my dreams tell me(nothing exciting.)  The next morning I woke up, and, over coffee, my wife and I discussed the price and purchase options and strategies for negotiation.  I did a little more research and searched what people in the area were paying for the model we were considering.  Within an hour I had been contacted by two dealerships and the original dealership asking me for my business and trying to beat each other’s prices.  It felt like a feeding frenzy!  I was the chum, and the sharks were attacking, but I also felt like some type of celebrity.  Emails, phone calls, quotes, incentives, there were so many from which to choose.  I felt so important.

I suppose a water buffalo that has two lions on its hind quarters and one on its back could feel important and desired, of course, the result of that is probably not very positive for the water buffalo.  I think it is seductive to be desired.  We all want to be admired and wanted, but this is not the path.  The path is work.  My desire for the learning is what keeps me bowing in and training, not so that I can be called Sensei or feel strong and use my skill and knowledge to subjugate others to my will.  Instead, I am happy to have a few students and teach traditional Iaido.  I don’t run after and chase my customer celebrities.  It is quite the opposite, I practically run them off!  They are students, not customers.

We train because we must; it is the way.  O’negai shimasu.