What Most People Do

My mother is about to sign on the dotted line for her new car.

I just have a few warranty packages I want to share with you, the salesman says. He puts a piece of paper on the table and explains the different options to us.

When he’s done, he says, What most people choose is this one. He taps his dealership pen on the second-least expensive option.

My mother and I had done some research on this and decided these packages were largely puff with no cream. We had also decided in private that I would do the public negotiating.

I think we’re all set, I tell the salesman.

The salesman stares at me, eyes wide, almost angry. But this is what most people do, he says again.

What I want to say is, Doing what most people do has led students to go straight to college after high school when they aren’t ready. It’s led couples to go into debt on garish weddings when they wanted to elope. It’s led people to stay in jobs that are cutting the life out of them. Doing what most people do has stripped many people of their humanness.

But that seems a bit much to unload on the salesman at the Honda dealership.

So what I say is, We’re not most people. We’re us.

The salesman doesn’t understand. That may be part of his job. But I hope he will at some point. And I hope he will also understand that he doesn’t have to do what most people do, either.

My mother takes the dealership pen, signs on the dotted line, stands up, shakes the salesman’s hand, and the two of us walk out.

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Caitie Whelan