Every day is Flyday at Down-Town Datsun on West Santa Clara Street.
Responding to the escalating Medfly Menance that now seems to have all of California panicked, Down-Town Datsun is offering everyone who buys a new or used Datsun and hands the salesman a Medfly -- dead or alive -- an on-the-spot $100 rebate.
And this is no fly-by-night operation. Just listen:
"Sales desk, Duke speaking."
That's Duke Lindner, sales manager at Down-Town Datsun -- known lately as Club Dead Med. It was Lindner who put Down-Town Datsun owner John Taylor's brainstorm into practice. He says: "We wanted to do our part for the community, okay, as far as eradicating the Medfly problem, okay, and amyway, our sales were down, okay -- so we thought maybe we could help solve both problems, okay?"
On Aug. 1, Down-Town Datsun started offering Medlfy T-shirts -- a Medfly wearing a gas mask, sitting on an apricot -- for a test drive, and a $100 rebate for a buy plus a fly, and that's not flypaper.
Perhaps out of stupidity, squeamishness, or just bad luck -- it's a sticky issue -- 240 ca buyers failed to bring in a Medfly and missed the rebate. But 19 bounty hunters have collected the cash by handing over the flea-sized critter.
Most of the qualifying Medflies have been dead. Lindner said, "Two people brought in live ones, but we put them to sleep -- we Scotch tape them to the rebate check." Two others couldn't find a Medfly and brought in the larger, common housefly instead to get the rebate. "We gave credit," Lindner said.
Down-Town Datsun has been spraying the are with its ad campaign.In one of their television ads, Taylor is shown wearing battle fatigues, jumping out of a helicopter onto his car lot.But the advertising is not nearly as relentless as the Malathion spraying in San Jose. Lindner says San Jose first sought to quell the Medfly problem by literally dumping truck loads of sterile Medflies in the streets, hoping the sterile Medflies would mate with the fertile Medflies and be fruitful but not multiply. "Unfortunately, someone goofed," Lindner says, "and the sterile ones weren't sterile at all. . . Now the helicopters come over every night. It's almost like being back in Viet Nam."
But this time it's a headlight at the end of the tunnel, and it may be covered by a squashed Medfly.