The Best of AROnline : Steven Ward’s motorway rant

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Back in 2011, and no doubt after another day’s slog in the outside lane, Steven Ward let rip his frustrations with the British driving public’s attitude to motorway driving. We’ve all been there, we’ve all felt his pain…

A quiet day at the office, yesterday.
A quiet day at the office, yesterday

This morning, on my gentle canter into work, I saw what we commonly refer to as a ‘rep’ in his smart LeasePlanned Mondeo-alike. Nothing unusual in that – our road network is full of such characters. Our Man on a Mission was on the ‘phone and he had his SatNav and Road Angel stuck to the heated windscreen – essential high mile tools I’m sure you’ll agree.

Again, nothing unusual in all that – he was, after all, grafting for GB PLC. However, what really caught my attention was that he seemed unable to steer this Mondog variant (Mazda 6 to you) in a smooth, straight line. Now this was unusual because these Pros can drive the alloys off most cars – if you think you’re ace in your holiday rent-a-Fiesta, you’re just an amateur compared to these mobile order-takers.

The reason Rep was struggling to steer became obvious when I got up close: he was typing away on a laptop. GENIUS!

Obviously, he was on his way to a morning sales meet and this guy was massaging his Excel stats to suit the required PowerPoint presentation. I know such driving would incur the wrath of those on a sweet 36 (Flexi)-hour week and those same self-righteous people who have never ever been booked for speeding, but you’ve got to hand it to these men and women.

They cover at least a 1000 miles per week, they need to be an IT bod for their presentations, be a mathematical genius for their product margins, they’ve got to keep those stripy shirts crisp ‘n’ dry to impress the secretary and – crucially – they need to have their Super High InTensity sales patter off to a fine art – an art in itself, trust me.

A thrusting young executive once told me that nothing in commerce moves until a sale is made and this is true. I was once offered a job in Repping for a manufacturer in security products to the Trade but, when I looked at the UserChooser list, I turned on my heels. There was no way I’d do a Basic + Excellent Commission for a 60 hour week in an Avensis – Gold BP fuel card or not.

Actually, I now, in a way, feel responsible for the drop in UK productivity because, whether you begrudge these cold callers or not, they are keeping the lifeblood of the Private Sector pumping. Just remember that as you selfishly hog the outside lane at a pathetic 90mph. Chances are the man in the latest Raybans close behind you is doing his invoicing and you’re obscuring his view ahead. MOVE!

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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3 Comments

  1. WOW! What a difference 4/5 years makes. This story is so dated now. In-built Sat-Navs with speed camera alerts have replaced stuck-on-windscreen units. Mazda makes its own cars again. Ford, unbelievably lost the plot with the current Mondeo. Sustained speeding on motorways in neigh-on impossible. And of course, Reps, or to give them their Sunday Name, Commercial Travellers, are a thing of the past sadly.

    However, the best thing about that blog was the comments which followed…….

  2. An amusing article.

    Absolutely, though many professional drivers (taxis etc.) now use mobile smartphone apps such as Waze to give real time free traffic and directions/shortcuts, so the phone is stuck to the windscreen rather than a single function satnav.

    The current Mazda 6 is quite a good looking car, in a segment that is shrinking – we’ve lost the Accord for example. The current Mondeo I thought was quite stunning too, the 4 door Aston Martin look reminds me a bit of the SD1 (which was a 4 door Daytona).

    Surely there are still reps, though they’re more likely to use a 320d or an A4 these days than anything with a “common” badge.

  3. Definitely agree – most sales execs in our company seem to love the big wheel small engine audi/BMW/merc. a Mondeo or insignia would be a welcome breath of fresh air as would more Jaguars. Bring back the Q-car, a very rare thing these days.

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