The unspeakable luxury of the Park-O-Matic

Here at Bailout Motors, we spend millions of dollars each year on market research to find out what the auto-buying public wants in a new car. And to my surprise, a vehicle that parks itself wasn’t one of the top 100 things customers look for. It wasn’t even in the top 1,209 things. Our surveys showed people wanted features like “quality,” “durability,” “better gas mileage” and “better transmissions.” One clown even wanted us to bring back those little vent windows all cars used to have. Automatic parallel parking wasn’t mentioned even once. But my wife, Gloria, was always complaining that there was never an empty parking space in front of Tiffany’s and Neiman Marcus when she wanted one. She doesn’t know how to parallel park anyway.

“I just never learned,” she explained to me one night. “Usually, I just have Godfrey let me out in front of the store and tell him to drive around the block until I come out. Like yesterday, I had to get that new $2,600 Prada bag, and I knew I had to get there quick or they’d be sold out. I would have driven myself but until they invent a car that can drive itself around the block until I come out, what could I do?”

But Bailout Motors listens to our customers. And when I say “our customers,” I mean my spa-going, Prada-shopping, nanny-firing wife. Isn’t she spectacular? The corporate jet was in the shop the day I met Gloria. She was a flight attendant on the only commercial flight I ever took. Kismet.

Even though our team of designers and market researchers begged me not to produce this car and instead spend the money improving gas mileage and making a more dependable, easy-to-maintain vehicle, I had to go with my gut. Besides, those guys have been giving me that kind of pie-in-the-sky advice for decades. They’re always saying that kind of thing. I knew Gloria would go for the Park-O-Matic in a big way -- that’s all I needed to know. That’s called an executive decision. That’s why I get the big bucks. Because I care ... about my stock options and bonuses.

At Bailout Motors, we listen. We hear you. We get it. Not only will the new Park-O-Matic do the dirty work for you, next year’s model will automatically circle the block again and again and again until it finds a parking spot within 25 feet of the high-end boutique where you plan to spend more money in 15 minutes than we paid most of our workers last year.

Step into the 2009 Park-O-Matic by Bailout Motor Corp. and you will experience luxury usually found only in the second and third homes of the Aspen and Palm Beach elite. I know because that’s where two of my homes happen to be located, or at least, that’s where my accountant says they are. The driver’s seat can be heated or cooled and it moves in 18 different directions. I personally pulled the engineers off some battery-powered hybrid-y thing that will never happen. That’s the Bailout Motors way. It’s part of our corporate culture, where we spend more time on the car’s radio than most companies spend on their engines. And we offer undercoating.

The innovations never stop at Bailout, the ideas keep coming. We’re working on a car that will pull up next to the spot in which you’ve chosen to park, pick up the car that’s already there, lift it up over the Park-O-Matic, slide you in and place the other car out in the middle of the street. You don’t want to be the last one on your block to get one of those. Face it, you’re too important to park yourself, or take the time to learn. I know I am. Time is money. Every minute I waste parking is time I could be packing my Golden Parachute.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2009, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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