Managing expectations


My new manager has pulled a bit of a blinder on my company car front. Well aware of my displeasure in recent Fusion motoring he was gently “encouraged” to steer acquisition of my new steed firmly in the direction of a Fiesta, ideally with a decent (read Zetec) spec, bigger engine if poss, and the Bluetooth handsfree phone connection would be a bonus. Wrap it up in a nice shade and he can colour me happy.

It took a few weeks but he did it. It sat outside, dark smokey metallic grey, the more powerful (that’s more powerful, not actually powerful) 1.4 engine, Zetec spec giving air con, alloys, computer thingummy, interior lighting pack (footwells, submarine lighting and so forth), bits of chrome trim and whatnot. And it came fitted with the all important Bluetooth, which automatically adds a much nicer central dash display, rear stereo speakers, and voice activation and dialling (touch the button on the indicator stalk and say “phone”, “dial number”, “Blonde” and I’m talking to herself in moments). Seems recent sales success hasn’t gone unnoticed, or unrewarded (quite apart from the increased commission payments).

The irony of it all is that barely two years ago I was cruising a beautiful Audi A4 convertible, midnight blue, Bose hi fi, heated seats, the works. Had anyone suggested then that a Ford Mondeo would be the order of the day I’d have been distraught. Now I’m eying up my new Fiesta and it feels ok.

Partly it’s down to changed circumstances. Back then I was using my car to go places for work, and had to look the part when I got there. Now I use the Fiesta to drive ten minutes to work in the morning and it sits round the back till it’s time to drive ten minutes home again, or fifteen minutes to Blonde Towers.

But it’s more than that, it’s all to do with expectations. Back then I was dealing with some financial heavyweights, most of those customers drove cars four times the price of that Audi, and often had something even more expensive tucked away for high days and holidays. It’s funny how the cars of those around you go toward setting levels of aspiration. Now I’m surrounded by new and used Fords and have customers rolling up in £200 scrappers in the forlorn hope of cashing in on the end of the scrappage scheme (now ended). Against that backdrop a new mid range Fiesta feels a perfectly reasonable steer.

It’s not just a matter of prestige however. That Audi was a seriously high quality piece of kit and, all questions of value, worth, or prestige aside, it was something I took great pleasure in running. It was a car I’d drive when I had no where to go just for the sake of enjoying the drive, and trips became as much about the journey as the destination.

But times have changed as have, for the moment, aspirations and expectations. And to that end the Fiesta is fine. It’s a looker (far nicer than any mainstream shopping trolley has any right to be), it’s a decent drive, goes ok, and has just about enough toys to keep my interest. In these new times of austerity it more than does the job, and to my own surprise I’m happier with it that I ever thought I could be.


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2 Responses to “Managing expectations”

  1. ex-chickenfarmer Says:

    Hi Charlie, i remember the days fondly of cruising around in a 4.2L S4 Cabriolet with a well specced A6 Sline as my daily drive. Do i miss the cars, yes sure i do, but hell… i have my sanity and health! My daily drive is now a 100,000 miler Hyundai Sonatta (2.0CDX no less), I hate it, but it gets me from A to B, and theres some weird inverted snobbery value attached to running a banger (not to mention I’m about £500 a month better off in HP payments—- not that I could afford another Monkey a month)… Ho Hum!

    Keep going mate, you should be proud of what you have achieved through your resilience and self believe over the last year or so!

    As every your blogs are a great read!

    • charliecroker Says:

      The 2.0CDX eh? Isn’t that the model Alan Suger runs as his daily drive? 😀

      You’re spot on mate, I’d have another Audi in a shot, but only if I could really afford it (or someone else was paying for it, as before).

      Right now neither applies and the trusty Fiesta makes for a surprisingly cheerful steer.

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