It was announced in a large 12 x 24 inch poster we received in the mail and was addressed to my wife Joice (or “current resident”). Also being a current resident, I opened it. Not that I needed to: information glared at me from two sides about the “Massive vehicle liquidation” sale that was taking place at Greg May Hyundai, here in Waco, Texas.

I noted, somewhat suspiciously, that the postmaster was informed that the information was “time sensitive” and that Joice was to “name [her] price” because “no reasonable offer will be refused”. The Hyundai dealer claimed that “due to unforeseen circumstances” they had to clear out their vehicle inventory. And it had to be done immediately!

I was impressed that Hyundai had singled out my wife, in that she had never bought a car in her life and didn’t know a Hyundai from a Hyena. She would need to hurry in because “this event is 4 days only” and a down payment check for $2,000 was printed on the advertisement and was from “the official event headquarters”, which happened to be at the Hyundai dealership just down the road.

My wife is of the suspicious type and immediately declared, “it is a scam”. I was less sure and thought I would scratch off all the 9 “Pokecash balls” to see if three of them matched. If three of the dark green bugs matched, she would win $50,000 cash, three little green kittens were worth a 55” TV, three light tan puppies promised an Apple i-pad pro, and three of the light lavender donkeys would net a $25 gift card.

I got right to work scratching the nine circles on the face of the ad. Sure enough, Joice had three little green kittens and they, for sure, represented the 55” TV. I was beside myself with joy, even though we would have no use for another TV. But someone surely would want it, or we could sell it.

An hour or so later our Waco family, minus Mike, stopped by on their way home from school and I showed the ad to them. My two grandsons, aged 14 and 12, were immediately beside themselves with glee. “It will go in my bedroom” said the eldest,” but you can watch it”, he said to the younger brother. “No, we will sell it and share the money” said the younger. “It’s a scam” said their mother. Their sister said nothing but had a faint Mona Lisa smile on her lips.

The elder grandson, let’s call him Evan (for that is his name), ran for the telephone because winners were told to call 254 870 0428. “I’m calling for my grandmother. Her code number is 43214954. When can we come for the prize?” Evan was given a time slot of 11 am the next day and he should ask for Mr. Green. Grandma and mom agreed and said it was a scam. Sister smiled.

Evan belatedly realized that his parents would not allow him to have a TV, so had second thoughts and decided he would bail out and not go with me the next day—younger brother Cam said he would go though.

So, dutifully, on the next day I picked up Cam and we went to the Hyundai dealer, just before 11, thinking we didn’t want to be late to pick up our TV set.

We pulled into a vacant spot at the dealership and were immediately met by a man with a big smile and handshake. “We are to meet Mr Green”, I said, “and my wife thinks she has won a 55” TV set.” It turned out Mr Green was somewhere else, but Vince, our new immediate friend, would be more than happy to help us. I showed him the number on our ad and the three light green kittens that I had scratched out. He looked at our numbers. “Did she win?” I asked. “Everyone wins something” was the reply.

He took the ad with Joice’s winning number on it and drew a line down the middle, with the columns that said “win” on the one side and the prizes on the other. “Now, let’s go inside and look at the number”. We did so and, what do you know, the code of 4321994 was on the wrong side of the 42xxxxx number on the big chart. “Sorry, but you have won the $25 gift card”.

What had happened to the big TV? I couldn’t understand the explanation but I gathered that it was in the same place as the $50,000 cash and the Applle ipad pro—in “the cloud” somewhere.

But Vance wanted me to be happy so he showed Cam and me a $30,000 Hyundai model car with all the trimmings, and at 0% financing, spread over the next 5 years. It was a bargain that I had to pass up. But Vince was not done. “I saw your Toyota when you pulled in and we have a great car right next to yours, and across the road here are demo models. They have only 3 or 4 thousand miles on them and are reduced greatly in price.”

We chatted some more with Vince assuring me that I could get “top dollar” for my Toyota anytime and to keep him in mind. I guaranteed that I would indeed keep him in mind.

“Why are you having this massive liquidation?” I asked, “Are you going out of business?” “No”, he said, rather sheepishly, “this is just a sales event”’

We left Hyundai and I asked Cam what he had learned. I think he said that Hyundai cars are a bargain at any price and that we should have bought one, and that he would when he gets older, but I am hard of hearing and he might not have said that.

Now was our opportunity to play a little joke on Evan who, after all, had bailed out and not gone with us. We pulled into their driveway and went to the door. Evan, of course, came running. “Help us get the TV out of the trunk—it is very heavy,” I said, and Evan, somewhat cautiously accompanied us to the car. I popped the trunk open. “Well, what do you know”, I said “they must have put it in the back seat”. Evan was not fooled: “I knew you didn’t get it”, he said. How did he know? Well, if we were going to get it he would have gone with us, of course. He must have listened to his mom and grandma warning of the scam.

I went on home and thought I would pull the same trick on Joice. I drove into the garage and she immediately came out wearing our granddaughter’s Mona Lisa smile. “Help me get it out of the trunk” I said. “Yeah”, she said “It was a scam, just as I thought”.

But I did have fun with my grandsons, even if they didn’t get the TV for their room or to sell. But my wife hasn’t forgiven me for not taking the $25 gift card. Maybe next time!

October 16, 2016
Waco, Texas