How To Sell A Car… Air Conditioner

July 6, 2010

As I left for my ignominious life-shortening job today, I noticed one thing: Today was hot. Stinking hot. Stinking humid hot. The kind of hot that makes you wish a meteor would hit the earth, preferably on a country that sponsors terrorism, and would move our planet away from the sun by about a half mile to cool things down. You’d have been justified in killing someone today with your bare hands had that person said “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

The worst part about the heat and stickiness was that no matter how much baby powder one applied to one’s family jewels or any other body part, you were still sticky. Clothes were sticky. Faces were greasy. People who shouldn’t be wearing revealing clothes did so despite their better judgement and concern for the public at large, thus scarring eye balls and psyches. Overweight men with “man breasts” wearing dress shirts with sweat stains the size of basketballs made for hideous and nightmare-worthy images letting everyone on the train know (yes, I take public transportation and men should never have evolved with nipples).So hot it was, that every radio and TV station and every weather website told you about a heat wave and heat advisory and to hydrate endlessly (beer not included). Well, given that the humidity index was approximately 3,000 percent, I figured all I had to do was inhale some of the gray air swirling around and I’d have my fill of liquid. Except that every molecule of moisture was bound to a lung-searing molecule of pollution surrounded by mini-daggers that let you know that walking on a day like this sucks big-time and makes you wish for a big, fat air-conditioned Buick sedan with enough cooling power to keep penguins comfy and to hang sides of beef for aging purposes.

And then I thought, no one sells a car based on its air conditioning qualities, and frankly, some car company should. I’d buy a car if they said its air condintioning (A/C) unit will emit air that will HURT your skin. Or if it were advertised with a tag line like “A/C cold enough to make your nipples stand on end for a full day!”  But not a single manufacturer has capitalized on this glaring weakness in their marketing plan. You could have sold me a 1972 Fiat rust box today by just saying the A/C works.

Now before we get into a debate about the pros and cons of air conditioning, here are some facts. A/C makes your car use more fuel. However, being in a car with no A/C on a hot day is the equivalent of having had a beer or two in terms of your alertness behind the wheel. My European friends, bless them all, are usually stridently against this automotive pleasure for reasons that are logical, and environmentally and scientifically sound. But they are all wrong. Automotive A/C is possibly the greatest invention right next to lasers, Bugs Bunny, the Internet, aglets and men who sell sausages at street-side road stands. And it has saved my marriage on multiple occasions as my wife would have killed me with her delicate bare hands had I whined for one more nanosecond about the car not being cool enough.

To make you smile on this hot day, here is a great ad for an American luxo-barge that extols the virtues of air conditioning. It’s so simple, so wonderful, so naive and just so perfect for a day like today. Enjoy and dream of simpler times before we knew what that coolant was doing to the ozone. Enjoy, and keep cool.

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