Garage Watch: When the hunt for a car can be a bit of a lottery
McCabes of Ardee Ltd, Toyota Dealer, The Glebe, Ardee, Co Louth
We went looking for a car and ended up buying a raffle ticket instead.
From a distance, McCabes garage in Ardee, Co Louth, could be taken for a type of stadium or sports arena. It's a large structure situated at the top of the town, facing the Carrickmacross road.
As showrooms go, this premises would not look out of place in New York, Munich or Abu Dhabi.
A lot of money went into building this Toyota dealership.
We had no problem finding customer parking, so we parked our red Skoda Octavia.
Outside, 25 used cars were clearly displayed, priced and presented immaculately.
We were looking for a slightly used or new model Toyota Avensis diesel. They had a selection of fresh old models outside.
Entering the showroom, we counted 27 new and used vehicles plus a beautiful example of the original Land Cruiser and Toyota K20 Corolla.
Apart from ourselves, the place was empty, so we checked out the facilities. As with all modern Toyota dealerships, the customer waiting area was top notch.
As was the condition of the toilets, which included a disabled unit. One could travel the length and breadth of Ireland and not find a finer showroom but the feeling within was ghostly until we spotted a chap heading in our direction.
"Anyone around to speak with?" we asked. "Just myself," came the reply.
We told him we were interested in a new Toyota Avensis.
"Don't suppose you have a nearly new model?"
"Just new," said Dermot Byrne.
A new silver model was in the showroom, right beside us.
We were asked had we a trade-in and then Dermot said what we felt was unimaginable in the times in which we live.
"I'm sorry, I'll have to ask you to call again as we are about to run a raffle."
We had seen four Toyota Yarises with '1st Prize' printed on their windscreens and presumed that was what Dermot was referring to.
Maybe it was the look on our faces but suddenly he came outside to look at our car.
The examination was brief and he acknowledged its good condition. He took down our details and said he would phone us on Monday.
Dermot handed us his business card and we enquired about the raffle. It involved four GAA clubs with first, second, third and fourth prize winners receiving new Toyota Yarises.
"How much are the tickets or are we late for the draw?" "€20."
We purchased ticket number 05775. As we were leaving, people were gathering for the draw and a few young boys were passing around a football outside.
With the local radio station attending, we headed for Dundalk and listened in to the results. It was not a lucky day for us.
Location/access . . . . . . . . .9.0
Customer parking . . . . . . . 9.5
Signage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.0
Showroom . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.5
Customer Facilities . . . . . . .9.5
Customer Service . . . . . . . .2.5
Models on display . . . . . . .4.5
Deals offered . . . . . . . . . . .0.0
The showroom, presentation of vehicles, customer facilities.
Considering the day that was in it, a business so understaffed. Not finding a full range of Toyota vehicles in such a showcase. Not finding the time to at least phone us back.
Surely selling a car would take precedence over a raffle. Could a club house not have hosted such an event?