I should have taken the hint when I visited the BMW car dealer last fall…
‘Twas out shopping for a new car, and the specs of BMW’s new 3 series diesel looked tempting, especially the wagon with the 4 by 4 option. So I pulled into the Sioux Falls dealer in my faithful decade old VW Golf TDI and saunter in in my usual gearhead fashion ensemble… well worn jeans, t-shirt, and jacket to suit the day’s weather. Spot the diesel right on the showroom floor, and there’s the hood release just like in an H2O VW by the driver’s left knee, so I give it a pull and go round front to find the safety catch… Where’d it go? After a minute the receptionist comes over and inquires, and I ask how to complete the hood opening process. All this time, a couple salesmen have been unmoved in their adjoining glass offices, but for the usual continual updating of their social media, no doubt. Receptionist comes back a minute later, tells me to give the hood latch by the left knee a second pull, and that does the trick.
I spend a good five minutes looking over filter and drain locations and such, and all the while the salesmen remained unmoved. Sauntered out in my best blue collar arrogance, noting the inflated to $50k window sticker on the 4 by 4 diesel wagon out on the lot. Couple weeks later bought a new Golf TDI Wagen that does 99% of what the BMW does at half the price. But little did I realize that BMW, a socially responsible company to a fault, had blown me off for a reason. If I’d bought that Bimmer and after the too short warranty ran out had it die in the Black Hills, it’d be the better part of a thousand dollar tow home to the nearest BMW car dealers 350 miles away in Billings or Sioux Falls, then a few thousand more to fix it. And after getting soaked $500+ for a paralever driveshaft that didn’t even last 60k miles, I don’t want to even think of the damage a BMW car with a half dozen or so driveshafts could do the my wealth and mental health!
So, though I didn’t understand it at the time, those BMW salesman weren’t being lazy snobs, they we’re assuring that the financially unworthy like myself don’t get impoverished by a BMW vehicle and end up holding a “Will work for food” sign on the nearest major intersection to where their BMW dies. Now the growing legions of former BMWMOA members such as myself have no doubt noted how BMWMOA is increasingly taking it’s cues from Bavarian mothership BMW itself. And like many, I became more than a little angry when I heard that BMWMOA would be charging $80 admission at the gate for the pleasure of shopping the purveyors of overpriced farkles, test riding new $30k Beemers, and trying to sleep on asphalt next to a busy railroad yard.
Yeah, I’m kinda slow on the uptake, but now I get it… BMWMOA could have just copied the Back to the 50s Car Show at the same venue last month and let the great unwashed motorcycling masses in the gate for $10 and filled their dwindling treasury. But BMWMOA is sacrificing crass profit and protecting us financially unworthy gearheads from ourselves, lest we max out our credit cards on thousand dollar GPSs, hard bags, riding suits, and even high fashion helmets.
So thank you BMWMOA, I’ve already got GPS on my phone and tablet and mapping software on the netbook. New riding suit? Aerostitch is just up the road with the world’s best and everything else a rider will ever need, and admission and even beverages are free. Hard bags… The $200 soft bags are holding up fine after 100,000+ miles, and unlike BMW’s they fit just about anything. So thank you again, BMWMOA… The $80 you’ve saved me will pay for an oil change for all three of my airheads!