Friday, April 30, 2010

Why GM Shouldn't have Gotten Bailout Money

Quick question for you:  What's the difference between Dave Creamer and a Chevy Cobalt?

Answer:  One is about 265 pounds, slow and ugly.  The other one is writing this blog.

I'm on the road for work right now, and I have a rental car.  In case you don't know, I work for a non-profit (we do lots of great things for kids, you should give us money...ask me how.  Thanks for reading), so I'm very budget-conscious in both my personal and professional life.  So when I needed a rental car to drive to Helena, I thought I would try the "Intermediate" class at Enterprise.

I got nervous when I walked into Enterprise and the manager, Doc, said, "Hey Luke, does the Cobalt have a full tank?"

Oh crap, I thought.  First of all, I knew what a Cobalt was, and I knew I wasn't going to fit very comfortably. Second, he said "THE Cobalt", as if it was their cute little mascot.  It makes me think it has been sitting there for a few years.

Luke responded with a confused look on his face.  "I don't know, why?"

Oh crap.  I said, "you don't have anything bigger, do you?"

Being asked two questions at virtually the same time, Doc politely said, "Just go make sure it's full and bring it around front".  Without a pause, he turned to me and said "Dude, you know I always upgrade you for free, but this is all I've got".

I had noticed that there were no other cars of any size on the lot when I pulled up, so there wasn't much to say.  I would take the car and be happy.  Before I even got in, I could tell that Snoop Dogg and a skunk shared the car last.  I think we all know that skunk-smoking-pot smell.  I was in for a long day.

I guess I assumed "Intermediate" and "Mid-size" were the same thing.  They both kind of mean middle, right?  Apparently not.  Size-wise, it's much smaller than what I would consider intermediate.  I can't believe people drive cars smaller than this.  And they do, because there are still economy AND compact cars that are apparently smaller.  I'm not sure I understand.

If you've never seen a Chevy Cobalt, I'll let you know what it looks like.  Take a permanent marker and draw four tires on a peanut M&M, then imagine it was just a tiny bit bigger.  Then imagine it's being driven by a guy who is almost the same size.  I'm like the peanut.

But even as uncomfortable as the size was for me, I was mostly blown away by the lack of features available on this particular vehicle.  I didn't think they made junk like this anymore.  I don't know the last time I had to manually roll a window up and down.  And you wouldn't believe how inconvenient it is to lock four doors one at a time.  I got out of the car and tried to lock it with the remote, which did not exist.  Then I opened the door and tried to push a button to lock them.  No dice.  Like a Neanderthal, I had to literally get back in the car and reach around to every door and lock them all.  Somebody needs to tell kids these days that this is how their ancestors had to lock their doors.  That's way worse than walking 10 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.  And don't get me started on unlocking!  I actually couldn't remember how to unlock a door without a remote for a second.

I understand they're trying to keep the car cheap, but I've never owned a car all that nice, and at least they have cruise control and power windows.  How much could that cost?  And is it that expensive of a feature to have blinkers that turn off after you make a turn?  I had to manually adjust the passenger-side mirror, but at least that was within easy reach from the driver's side.

Nice work, Chevrolet.  No wonder you needed government money.  That was a big mistake, and if you don't believe me, go drive a Cobalt.

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