A highly successful and important corporate executive received a promotion to vice president and decided to reward himself with a new car.
When the dignified, dapper and impeccably groomed businessman arrived at the Mercedes Benz showroom, the salesman looked at his expensive suit and shoes and suggested the Executive Model.
“"Yes, I like it"” said the executive, after looking it over. “"I’ll take it today. I have a business conference in another state. I have just been made vice president of finance!"
“"But sir!"” said the salesman. “"not THIS car! This is just a model! We can give you so many accessories and extra options! I’m sure it is worth waiting a few days. After all, CARS have personalities! We do our best to match the CAR to the DRIVER, sir! This car has only the basics! I CANNOT sell this one to you without the all of the fine..."
“"No, no"” said the executive quickly. “"I like the car as simple as possible. Nothing extra. I insist! ONLY THE BASICS! NOTHING! And PLEASE do not argue with me!”"
"Very well, sir" said the salesman, but he shook his head and sighed.
The executive drove out of the showroom and soon he was on the interstate.
He was enjoying the luxury of his new car and feeling confident about his promotion, when, out of nowhere, he heard a voice –- a mocking voice -– but he was ALONE in the car!
"Are those Brooks Brothers shoes you’re wearing, pal?"
"Who said that?" the executive nearly hit the roof with surprise.
"I asked you a question hotshot…. I’ll bet those shoes cost five hundred dollars, huh? And are those SILK socks? Mighty fancy, mister high and mighty executive! A little TOO fancy for me! ANSWER ME!"
"They cost seven hundred – and yes, they're Brooks Brothers and yes these socks are silk. What am I DOING?! Am I losing my MIND?!" said the executive. "I need a vacation!"
"Well get rid of ‘em - NOW. There no place for shoes and socks like those in HERE! You think you're special, don't you Pinstripes?!" said the voice.
"Who ARE you?" said the executive again.
"Mind your own business. Get barefoot, big shot!" said the voice, growing in strength. "Your gonna feel a lot better with nothing on those pampered feet!"
"I will NOT!" snapped the executive angrily. "“Leave me alone! I… AM going insane...…I'm arguing with my CAR!"
"Yeah - well, you might you say YOU are MY DRIVER!" snapped the voice.
"I'm going back to the dealership!" whispered the executive. "I'm getting rid of this car NOW" and he looked for an exit to run around.
"On no you ain't!" snarled the voice. "You go where I tell you! I won't let you turn or slow down until I want you to, mister bigshot!"
"NO!" yelled the executive - as he realized the brakes wouldn't work for him! He found an exit, but couldn't turn the steering wheel! "MY BRAKES DON'T WORK!"
He just had to keep going...
"Please!" he begged. "Let me go back!"
"They work unless you obey me. We were talking about those fancy shoes, now, weren't' we?" said the voice. "TAKE THEM OFF!"
And the voice kept up the harangue for an hour, yelling and mocking so that the executive could hardly think or drive. He found himself in a losing battle...
"I am an executive. I am wearing a business suit! I am on my way to a conference. …I HAVE to wear these shoes!" he cried, but the voice mocked and yelled.
"It looks like I'm gonna have to DRAG you down off that high horse, Mister FANCY SUIT AND TIE! Even if you come off kicking and screaming" said the voice. And he continued with a barrage of insults.
Finally, after an hour, the beaten down, exhausted executive yelled: “"I can't stand it anymore! You win! You want me to go barefoot? FINE! I'LL OBEY YOU! Then BARE FEET IT IS! Anything to SHUT YOU UP!”"
And he untied and pulled off the brand new polished black captoe shoes that he had bought that week and had shined that morning, and then peeled off his silk socks.
Without slowing down, he stuffed the silk socks in the shiny, expensive shoes and, one by one, threw them out the window on the highway.
"That's $750 that just went out the window! Are you satisfied?!" yelled the executive.
Through the rearview mirror he watched his shoes bounce off the highway and his socks drop out, and he just shook his head in frustration..
"There!" said the voice. "Now don't you feel better without those stupid shoes on?" said the voice cheerfully.
"No!" said the executive angrily. "I can't go the conference without shoes or socks!"
As he rested his bare foot on the accelerator, the voice said:
“I wouldn't worry about that. Now let's talk about that necktie... Hermes? Or is it Armani?"
"Oh no!!" whispered the executive. "Not again..."
"Well?" snarled the voice. "No fancy silk neckties in THIS car! And are those cufflinks?! With a monogram! And a Rolex?! And I'll bet you're wearing suspenders under that suit, huh? Well!"
"Yes" said the executive reluctantly. "YES! Why do you CARE?"
"You think you can dress like THAT in this car?! I think NOT! Now get that necktie off. NOW! NOW!"
The harangue began again.
An hour later, the window opened, and one by one, the desperate and bewildered executive threw out his $150 tie and the matching pocket square, his monogrammed cufflinks, his braces, his Rolex and his tiepin. The voice even forced him to take off his business school ring and throw it away.
"And is that a cashmere overcoat in the back seat? With a silk scarf? And what about the briefcase?! Everything goes out the window!"
"No! No!" cried the executive. "Why are you doing this to me?! Let me alone!"
”But soon, the overcoat and scarf were thrown out on the highway, followed by the $1500 briefcase, which opened, throwing papers everywhere.
For a moment there was silence - then:
"Now for that nice, dapper pinstriped BUSINESS SUIT you’ve got on, Mister Big Shot Corporate High Flyer!" said the voice. "Those brakes won't work and you can't turn around as long as you're wearing that pretty business suit!"
"Oh, no" gasped the executive. "Not my SUIT! This was made for me in London by Savile Row! It cost $2,500!!"
"Well, and who do you think YOU are?!" said the voice in disgust. "That smart suit has to GO! No suits in this car. Period. Never. And that white shirt. Is it starched. And the underwear – designer shorts I’ll bet! Everything has to go! Lose those spiffy PINSTRIPES!! NOW, Mister Hotshot!"
"No! I refuse! I won't!" and immediately the car started to pick up speed and headed towards a river on the side of the highway! The executive couldn't control the wheel!
"ALRIGHT! I'll take off my business suit! But I have to wear clothes!" whimpered the corporate exec.
"Oh, we'll find something real nice for you to wear" laughed the voice.
The harangue went as the executive shook with fear. Finally, he saw a barefoot derelict along the highway. The car said : "Swap with him and don't try anything!"
He pulled over and called out to him: "Will you swap my business suit and shirt and underwear for your clothes?"
The derelict just grinned and said "SURE!" and greedily grabbed the pinstriped suit as the executive stripped off the rest of his nice clothes.
Within minutes the shaking and frightened executive was wearing the rags of a bum.
"OK!" said the voice. "Now you look like my driver SHOULD look! Quit that high-paying, high-class job and sell your condo and your stocks...and no arguments!"
"Quit my job!" said the executive. "Please...I just got a promotion."
"And give away all those fancy suits and ties and shoes you have back in your closet. And don't tell me you don't! I KNOW the TYPE! Call a charity NOW! Give them everything! Your furniture and your sports equipment. Even the tuxedo and the patent leather pumps you were going to wear to the corporate black-tie dinner!"
"How...how did you know...." gasped the executive.
The executive, now a broken man, barely kept his hands on the wheel as the voice yelled and bullied him to come down off his high horse. He called his office and told his stunned boss he was quitting. Then he sold all of his assets and gave the money away. Then he gave away all his expensive clothes.
"Fine!" snapped the voice. "Hey! There's a WalMart! Go in and buy a sixpack of white socks and three pairs of overalls. Get movin'!"
The stunned executive followed those instructions.
"There's a help wanted sign! Get yourself a job as a garbageman, and make it snappy!" said the voice sharply. "Then you start growing a beard!"
"A garbageman! Me...." Exhausted, disoriented and stunned, the executive took a job as a garbageman.
Two months later, the former exec arrived at the Mercedes showroom to return the car because he could not afford the payments.
The salesman did not look surprised when he saw the formerly dignified, confident and impeccably groomed executive reduced to collecting trash and dressed in overalls, bearded and dirty, and he showed no surprise when he heard the strange story from the broken man.
"“What did you expect? I TRIED to warn you! Look at the name of the MODEL you bought!"
He pointed at the Mercedes, and the salesman heard a low chuckle come from the car.
And the executive-turned-garbageman looked at the bill of sale: "Mercedes Benz - STRIPPED-DOWN EXECUTIVE MODEL"