Lest you think that no car dealer ever does anything good, feast your baby blues on the story of Courtesy Jeep Eagle in Rockville. The dealership is named very, very appropriately.
Seven years ago, Don and Pat Isaac of Silver Spring bought a new Jeep from Courtesy. There were a few last-minute hitches with the delivery, and with fixing some factory-caused defects. Courtesy's co-owner, Peter Zourdas, assured the Isaacs that if any of the defects ever recurred, or if anything anywhere near that part of the car ever developed trouble, he would personally make matters right.
Cut to April, 1990. The Isaacs spotted some rust in the original "problem area." They decided to see if Peter Zourdas would live up to his promise of long ago.
"Without hesitation," Pat writes, "the owner stood behind his word." He set up an appointment with the body shop for the damage to be repaired -- at the dealership's expense. No ifs. No maybes. No qualifiers. No sudden attacks of amnesia.
And no reason on paper why Courtesy would ever have had to do such a thing. The warranty on the Isaacs' car had expired sometime during the first Reagan Administration. Most dealers would have scoffed at the thought of paying for such a repair. But Courtesy did what it had promised to do "without us even asking," says Pat.
"It's a family-run place," explained Peter Zourdas. "We talk to customers all the time and we're on the showroom floor. A warranty is one thing, but you also have a moral obligation past the written warranty. It's how we make friends."
How many friends has Courtesy made? Peter estimates that between 45 and 50 percent of his customers are repeaters. The industry average is about one-third of that.
A hearty Jeep-beep to Courtesy. Their handling of the Isaacs' rust would be exemplary in any business. In the car business, it's nothing short of amazing.
Ever wonder where restaurants get their names? There's seldom any science to it, and there was absolutely none in the case of Sam and Harry's on 19th Street NW. The place was supposed to be named for the grandfathers of the two partners, Michael Sternberg and Larry Work.
But that never happened. Because it couldn't.
Michael Sternberg's grandfather was indeed named Sam. But Harry is Larry's great uncle. The grandfather Larry wanted to honor on the marquis was named Ellis. But a restaurant named Sam and Ellis? Too close to salmonella, the guys decided. Restaurant-goers have a sense of humor about many things, but next-day nausea isn't one of them.
It happened to Karen W. Bankert of Alexandria in the Sears store at Landmark Center.
Karen had bought a set of towels as a wedding gift. While cutting the price tags off them, she noticed that they were from the Jillian Rose Collection.
"I was really pleased and surprised," says Karen, "because Jillian Rose is the name of my 31-month-old daughter."
Of course, Karen returned to Sears to buy a set for her offspring. While paying, Karen told the clerk about the name-game coincidence. The clerk was greatly amused, and called over a second clerk. Clerk One told Clerk Two to look at the tag because it bore the name of the customer's daughter.
Clerk Two read the tag. Then she looked up at Karen and asked: "Her name is Collection?"
New York accents used to restrict themselves to our ears. Now, reports Michael Savage of Arlington, they're working on our eyes, too.
Evidence: the Virginia vanity tags Michael noticed recently aboard a BMW. They read:
Jim Valente of Bowie says he has come up with a great way to respond when people ask him how his investments are doing.
He says they've put his brokerage account on the side of a milk carton.
Speaking of Wall Street, Bob Orben says stockbrokers have come up with a cute new bit of doomsdayism. If you have to ask what poverty costs, the brokers say, you can't afford it.
With that, I hereby disappear on vacation for the next two weeks (no, I won't be visiting Wall Street. Too dangerous. Bodies might be falling out of windows).
Stay sweet and reasonably solvent. I'll try to do the same. I'll be back in these pages on Monday, Sept. 3.