The day we were tempted to trade-in our friend's car
This is on a busy road to Dublin's city centre, not far from the Walkinstown roundabout.
From the outside, the garage looks like it could do with a bit of a touch-up here and there.
What amazed us was that like Government Buildings, not a stone's throw from the main entrance of Dail Eireann, there was a lot of litter in the street, and it was not, stress not, the garage's fault by any means.
Since this is a garage and not a sweet shop, we know the litter did not come from Fort Motors but we'd say IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) would argue such messiness can take away from an 'innocent' premises.
We had a car to trade so to park we drove down the side of the building to a yard, where we saw two customer parking bays and a parts department. We found no disabled parking either here or, more importantly, at the front of the premises.
May we suggest that a sign with an arrow is erected to show customers where to set down?
Once inside, we were met by a friendly lady. As she went to get someone from sales we checked out the toilets. These were well maintained (saw no disabled).
As we passed the reception desk, we could not help but notice an area was set aside to offer tea or coffee. Even a small Burco boiler was in place.
We could see that every effort was being made to accommodate customers in every way but even at that this was not up to the tomorrow's world standards we find in so many garages nowadays.
Nevertheless, God loves a trier and it was evident everyone was doing their best in these hard times.
If the icing on the cake, so to speak, was a bit lacking in depth, the cherry on top came in the guise of the salesman. Cyril Molloy told us his father started the business way back.
We were interested in a Ford Mondeo 5-dr diesel and told him we had a trade-in. He took up a price list, explained the different trim levels and equipment on the three models. We focused on the Zetec 1.6 TDCi; he showed us a lovely Lunar Sky coloured (light brown) model he had on display, along with five other Fords.
Like the used cars outside, the new models were priced similarly and carried additional details such as spec, CO2 emissions, etc.
He asked to see our 01 two-litre Saab 9-5. It had only 61,000 genuine miles, leather, full service history and was unmarked. He looked outside and within, sat in and started it, and commented that it was a lovely example.
In the back of our minds we were expecting the common Dublin thing: "I'll phone the trade to get a price," but it never happened. We expected maybe a comment that Saab was gone -- it didn't happen.
Even the fact that it was 11 years old did not raise an eyebrow.
And he didn't delay by asking what we expected for the car.
Cyril invited us back up to the showroom. He produced his iPhone.
Seconds later, we were invited to view an electronic page on used Saabs. "You can see," he said "most 9-5s are going €1,500 to €2,500. Granted there's one at €3,500, but it's diesel."
He invited us to his desk. He took up his business card and wrote 'Mondeo, €28,995 plus delivery €600, plus metallic €551 and LED lights, €180 -- total €30,146'.
He continued to talk to us as he wrote down that he would allow us €3,000 on the Saab, and Ford would give us a fuel voucher for €1,300 (or cash).
We would have to part with €25,846. We were nearly tempted to sell our friend's lovely Saab. We didn't.