October 11, 2007

Car Wars

Hatched by Dafydd

Joe needs a new car. He heads down to the dealer, picks one out, and signs the financing agreement with the salesman, Marty. Alas, that particular car is out of stock, he's told; he'll have to wait a month, and then it will be delivered.

Joe goes home. A week later, the first statement for his car payments arrives; he pays it. When the next statement arrives a month later, and he still hasn't received the car, Joe starts to fret a bit. But when six months pass -- six payments made -- and he still has no car, he gets angry.

"Where's my car?" he demands. Marty angrily shouts at him, "do you expect a car for nothing? We must negotiate."

"We already negotiated," says Joe, "and we came to an agreement: I bought the car for $20,000, and I've been making payments for six months."

"That was the old price," says Marty; "two months ago, we raised the price to $30,000. Where's the other $10,000 you cheated us out of, you car thief?"

Joe complains to his neighbors, but they all yell at him for trying to cheat Marty out of the $10,000 that is rightfully his. Incidentally, it dawns on Joe that his neighbors all attend the same tailgate parties with Marty and have been close friends with Marty for decades.

Since the car is so important to Joe's life, he agrees to the $10,000 increase in price. The next day, he receives a new statement, billing him not only at the increased rate, but including an overdue notice (with substantial interest and penalties) on the previous six payments, which have all been retroactively increased to the new amount. Joe dips into his savings and pays it.

But still, no car. Joe returns to Marty and demands that his car be delivered immediately. That night, unknown vandals tear up all his shrubbery; Marty calls Joe at five in the morning to inform him that his shrubbery is strewn around his front lawn. "Gee, what a shame," says Marty; "now what was that you were saying about some car you want us to give you?" He says that if Joe wants the car, he'd better come over and plant some "new shrubbery" Marty just got.

A friend of Joe's from across town, a real big guy named Sam, suggests that this can all be settled with a summit meeting between Joe, Sam, Marty, and some of the neighbors. "Why the neighbors?" asks Joe, puzzled; "what do they have to do with it?"

"You live in a community, Joe," says Sam; "no man is an island. Don't your neighbors have a vested interest in seeing that the rule of law is respected in your neighborhood?"

So Joe agrees to the meeting; Marty calls Sam and says he'll only attend if Joe guarantees that the outcome will be that Joe agrees to the new price of $40,000 for the car, stops telling people that Marty failed to deliver the car, and agrees to defer delivery of the car for another two years.

Joe calls the demand outrageous. Sam leans on Marty, and Marty and the neighbors attend the meeting without the preconditions. But at the meeting, Marty makes the same demand -- this time adding that Joe must take Marty's six kids out for a day of fun in the sun at Disneyland, at Joe's expense.

Joe is tired of all the troubles. He just wants his car. He makes his own offer: He will get a loan from a bank, and pay Marty the entire $30,000 in cash. He won't even deduct the amount he has already paid. In exchange, Marty must, no excuses, deliver the car.

In rage and fury, Marty denounces Joe and Sam. "How dare you imply that I'm a crook?" Marty storms out, joined by all the neighbors, who shout "you've stolen your last dollar!" at Joe as they leave. That night, a mob of hooded people (who nevertheless look awfully familiar to Joe) surround his house and hurl rocks and bottles, chanting "death to Joe, death to Joe!"

The next morning, as Sam sadly helps Joe clean up the broken glass, Sam tells him, "Joe, here's the problem: You can't just ignore Marty and the neighbors. You're just going to have to agree to negotiate. I'm convinced that if you're willing to bend a little -- say, by waiting until you've finished paying off the car before making demands -- then surely Marty will solemnly promise to deliver the car... in the very near future."


Does anybody have any idea what the heck I'm talking about? Or does this post completely mystify?

But what I really mean to ask is -- does anybody at the State Department have any clue what this analogy is all about?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 11, 2007, at the time of 2:37 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Cain

(earnestly shooting right hand straight up into the air and shaking it about like he's got to pee)

Ooh ooh! I know, I know...

The above hissed in response by: Cain [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 2:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


(earnestly shooting right hand straight up into the air and shaking it about like he's got to pee)

All right, all right: Take a firm grip so you don't have any accidents, and don't forget to take a hall pass.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 3:08 PM

The following hissed in response by: IanM

Me too! Me too!
Hint: I Rode A Nash.

Now what the heck does that hint have to do with the question?

Second Hint: Joe is playing in blood.

The next question is when is Joe going to lower the boom on Marty?

The above hissed in response by: IanM [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 4:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

If I were Joe, I'd reconsider the need for the car. I mean, he's doing alright right now using his new
Light-rail sevice... does he really need a car?
I mean, there's a good chance Sam can be called upon to give Joe a lift (like he's promised) if the need really arises... although I grant that the little girl's at Sam's house may object.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 6:52 PM

The following hissed in response by: DaveR

I think I'll have to have a beer and ponder on this one. Nothing too heavy, perhaps just a pale-stein.

The above hissed in response by: DaveR [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 8:13 PM

The following hissed in response by: IanM

Sorry on the last post... It was a little obtuse and a flub playing => paying.

New hint: I Really Am Nasty.

Now I will slither off an lurk a bit more...

The above hissed in response by: IanM [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 11, 2007 8:38 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bookworm

Very nice analogy. Sadly, even those of us who are Joe's fiercest partisans (and count me as one), begin to wonder if Joe isn't just acting like an idiot. Since he can't move away from his house, he'd do well to think up a new strategy.

The above hissed in response by: Bookworm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 12, 2007 8:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles


This sounds like HillaryCare :D.

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 13, 2007 8:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: JasterMereel

I can't help but thinking that Joe is not really Joe... I mean, not that monolithic. Not that he's schizoid, it's just that Marty has gotten away with yanking Joe (and all those who represent Joe) around FOR YEARS!

Remember, it was Joe's wife Cleo who actually negotiated the deal for the car back in '94? Well, Cleo and Maddy.

They were the gullible ones who got snookered and now after Joe supposedly took the reins back himself, he does continue to operate based on the contextual anchoring Cleo and Maddy were suckered into.

And Marty is just the car salesman, a dirt poor guy who will do ANYTHING to keep his job and intimidate people in his neighborhood from kicking him out of his house. And Marty lives right next door to his own Boss: Chip. Chip could fire Marty and kick him out of Chip's neighborhood, but Marty is such a great agent for Chip. Everybody knows Chip hates Joe and uses Marty to fleece and undermine Joe and in the process elevate Chip's status in the community groups that Chip and Joe are in.

And Chip is one of the neighbors that get to sit at the negotiating table. Everyone seems to act as though they believe that Chip will rein in Marty, as though Chip is not the ultimate crook behind Marty in the first place.

But it's amazing that Joe could actually believe this! Does Joe really trust Chip at all considering that Joe KNOWS that Chip had an affair with Joe's wife Cleo (I mean, if you call Cleo prostituting herself for campaign contributions an affair).

Joe now has his army of lawyers (Statum and Deptum -- nicknamed Dewey ScrewJoe and Howe) working on his behalf... but these are basically the same law firm that Cleo hired when she was in charge of Joe's finances. Chip wined and dined most of those lawyers and co-opted them long ago... they're practically on Chip's side, even though they ostensibly working for Joe.

What to do? Ferret out the bad lawyers, undermine the worst of the community groups that are not fair to Joe (such as the United Neighborhoods group) and promote the groups that are fair (the PSI I think it was called???). But what to do about the neighbors with no backbone to help Joe hold Marty and Chip to account, I have no idea.

The above hissed in response by: JasterMereel [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 14, 2007 12:06 AM

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