Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

WOW! I wasn't prepared driving in my Model S Sig today to get a negative taunt thrown at me... I was showing some friends of mine at their office in a heavily walked area. Some guy comes up and says "Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for." Now, I'm not normally political, but I went off... For those just receiving your car, have some nice witty retorts just in case you get something like that... I have a few good ones now that I am prepared. Of course, that's been the 1 bad out of 100 good who keep stopping and looking or wanting to see it (and I've only had it on the street for less than an hour)...

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

I plan to say,"Yes, thank you!"

BYT | October 5, 2012

@BestBrokerinDallas, one of the reason's I'm super happy to be living in California as I don't expect to get that comment. I would love to hear a few zingers though in response. Although it can happen in some of the places I stop, even out here. I have definitely heard from people who deal with my place of employment make the comment, "they pay you too much," when they hear I am ordering a Model S.

stevenmaifert | October 5, 2012

BYT - As long as you stay in NORCAL, I think you're safe. If you come to my neck of the woods (San Diego), have a few comebacks ready just in case. This part of the Left Coast is a little less left :)

BYT | October 5, 2012

@stevenmaifert, I noticed that when I paid a visit to San Diego. Your a Military town however so that's understandable... :) So share the zingers' I wanna hear them! :D

GLO | October 5, 2012

My response is "Yes, its all american and has provided jobs for more than 2,000 people in CA alone and many others around the world! I call it a recession beater! Thanks for the car!!

BYT | October 5, 2012

You guys are too nice, I would have said, "It's called a loan, not a bail out dumb $&!@, learn the difference!"

Sparrow | October 5, 2012

I'd say, something along the lines of "Your Welcome, my purchase of this vehicle is not only helping pay off the loan provided to Tesla, but keeping thousands of US workers employed."

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

@BYT: But the $7500 tax credit is not a loan, so they have a legitimate reason for you to thank them.

murraypetera | October 5, 2012

How about:
Why yes this is the car that will bring our solders home from the middle east.

adurstewitz | October 5, 2012

Possible response: "It was either this or another war over oil, I voted for this."

I may need to tone that down a little... :-)

Brian H | October 5, 2012

Non-zinger response:
"Yes, the first 200,000 buyers get a bit of a break. Small potatoes compared to the big boys' volume. And it has helped jump-start a company that is 10+ years ahead of the world. You got good value for your money."

Getting Amped Again | October 5, 2012

From the Washington Post (not meant to be a political statement by me):

"What Democrats don’t mention is that bailing out the car industry initially cost $80 billion, or roughly $30,000 per automotive worker. Despite the sector’s resurgence, taxpayers are still owed $25 billion from GM and its former financing firm."

The loan to TM was Small Potatoes compared to this. I personally think that bailing out the US auto industry was a good use of my tax dollars - the banks and AIG's of the world I'm less thrilled about.

Sudre_ | October 5, 2012

I would just say, "Yes you are right and you'd be an idiot to not take advantage of it."

After he complained some more I would mention how everyone wants a tax break yet complains when they are offered a $7,500 one.

after he then complained about how he could not afford one I would explain how it's difficult to take financial advise from someone who can't save a dime.

Jewsh | October 5, 2012

Some people are simply repeating what they've heard from various news outlets. Only the uninformed would make such a statement.

Hopefully it didn't ruin your day and you could continue enjoying your new ride without much fuss.

vouteb | October 5, 2012

How about: I don t pay tax, do you?

bfranks273 | October 5, 2012

I got a brief rebuke about a month ago. I didnt engage.

Thanks for the GM numbers. Also can someone come up with a decent number for the subsidies (bad word, grant? consideration?) to the oil companies?

and it is over 3000 jobs now.

Docrob | October 5, 2012

If they owned anything from one of the big US car companies then I'd put them back in their place faster then they'd know what happened to them.

Captain_Zap | October 5, 2012

I was wearing my Tesla jacket today while at the Credit Union and some guy in a flannel shirt walked up to me and said, "Tesla...thats those expensive cars that nobody wants and we are going to have to triple the power grid to support them!" My spouse began to explain that the claims about the power grid are not true and why. Then the a loan officer walked up and asked me how she could help us. I said that we were there to apply for an auto loan and we went our way. We shook our heads and couldn't figure out where he heard such things and wondered how anyone could be so misinformed. He certainly didn't do his own research and come up with those conclusions on his own.

After getting the loan pre-approved we walked across the street to have a bite. A bright eyed man walked up to me and said, "Roadster or Model S?" I replied "Model S."
He squealed," SWEEEEEET!" and high 5'd me. He said that he gets his in a month.

What a surreal afternoon.

People made fun of me when I got a cell phone. "What makes you think you are so important that you need one of those?"

They gave me a hard time when I got a home PC and asked, "What in the world would you need one of those for? That's a waste of money!"

Its tough being on the bleeding edge. ;D

Sudre_ | October 5, 2012


Don't forget flat screen TV's.... or back in the day flat screen monitor actually.

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

@Getting Amped Soon:

I personally think that bailing out the US auto industry was a good use of my tax dollars

It wasn't the US auto industry that was bailed out, it was the badly run companies making poor products that can't compete who were bailed out. If they'd been allowed to fail, their factories, equipment and many of their workers would have been available to buy/hire by other established well-run companies, or by start-ups.

I believe the Fremont plant bought by Tesla is a good example of that. If the government had "bailed out" that plant, we wouldn't be spending our time on these forums chatting excitedly about our impending Model S deliveries, would we? And we'd never have the opportunity to get a product that is actually better than what the old dinosaurs turn out.

Propping up badly run companies doesn't do anyone any favors - not auto-workers, not consumers, not taxpayers. Companies come and go, and that's how it should be. Look at Montgomery Ward, JC Penny's, or the A&P supermarket chain (once the world's largest chain). They're now extinct (or shadows of their former selves), and when they went under, people lost their jobs. But they got other jobs that were relevant to society and the net wealth of the country went up.

When the automobile came along, a lot of horse-manure shovelers also lost their jobs. Should we have bailed out the US horse manure industry? How about the whaling industry when petroleum became available and displaced the once widely used whale-oil?

I could go on. If interested, I highly recommend Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics.

Sorry for getting off topic, but I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there.

zwjohnston7 | October 5, 2012

Offer to pay him back his share of taxes that helped you buy the car. There are what, a bit over 300,000,000 people in the US? So $7500/300,000,000 = $0.000025

Just throw a penny at him and tell him he can keep the change.

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

@zwjohnston7: That's actually a pretty good one :)

Captain_Zap | October 5, 2012

I like it. Thats less than 3/1000ths of a cent.
Maybe we should ask for change.

Docrob | October 5, 2012

I like combining mine and Zwjohnstons " how about Ingive you a penny to cover that 0.0025c per person this car costs and you give me $83 to cover the cost per person so far from the Detroit bailout?

Sudre_ | October 5, 2012

Nah, just tell him he has to redistribute the wealth back to the other 399 people he just took money from in accepting your penny.

Oh wait. The moron probably would get confused at "keep the change".

vouteb | October 5, 2012



Docrob | October 5, 2012

Rather then giving them a penny, if its looking like the tax credit is going to be the main source of criticism you could prepare by keeping a small stack of $0.000025 cheques in the glovebox.

Getting Amped Again | October 5, 2012

Apology accepted.

Captain_Zap | October 5, 2012

I like the idea of hand writing a check for them on the spot.

Oh, just a moment, let me grab my checkbook and find a pen so I can reimburse you. Your name please? How do you spell that?

pilotSteve | October 5, 2012

@captain_zap - right, you also need their name & address to issue them their 1099 at year end right?

Brian H | October 5, 2012

Another you might like to follow/read is John Tamny, economist at Wainwright, and contributor at RealClearMarkets. Says, in addition to your bankruptcy explanation, that trade is never unbalanced, and that quantitative easing (money printing) does so much harm to the currency it is worse than pointless, etc.

sergiyz | October 5, 2012

ask him if he's one of 47% not paying a federal tax, and if he's not, thank him ;)

davecolene0606 | October 5, 2012

All you gotta do is point to the "I support our troops" magnet on the back of the car....

Any questions? :)

Crow | October 5, 2012

My response probably won't be a snappy comeback. If someone is brave enough to say something to me they better be wearing track shoes.

weeandthewads | October 5, 2012

Tell them to suck on your exhaust pipe.

BYT | October 5, 2012

@tesla.mrspaghet, ahhh, thanks, I completely forgot about the tax credit. Well, I haven't taken that yet and besides, if any car deserves it, I think a true BEV like the Leaf or the Model S are the only ones that should truly qualify personally. I'll still be snippy if I hear that comment however... :D

ThorensP | October 5, 2012

What red blooded, patriotic American would be against a car that was manufactured in the US, built primarily from US parts, operating on US electricity, generated by US built Super Charging stations, built from US Solar Cells, that operate on US rays of sunshine, creating what will eventually be thousands of high-paying US jobs, led by a genius from South Africa?

danielccc | October 5, 2012

Short version:

"Why yes, thank you. And my tax money is paying to subsidize the oil to put gas in your car, and that's four times what you paid for mine."

Long version:

"Why yes, thank you. You spent $2, of which you will get $1.50 back. And my tax money is paying to subsidize the oil industry that puts gas in your car. That costs me $9.33*, of which I will get nothing back."

* $2.8 B in oil industry subsidies per year, according to Mitt Romney. The $2 for Tesla includes the DOE loan plus 20,000 tax credits, or $600 million.

BYT | October 5, 2012

@akimball, that is the problem today! As American's we should unite for the greater good of this country, instead we are on polar opposites and have anger fueled from self interests and propaganda distributed heavy by extremely biased news agencies. There needs to be a fundamental change to the was we treat each other since IQ's of the masses are not getting any higher to help supplement the abundance of ignorance.

prash.saka | October 5, 2012

+1 @zwjohnston7.

Teoatawki | October 5, 2012

Give him a penny and tell him thanks, you are repaying him his contribution to your rebate not just for your car but 400 friends' cars as well. (399 would probably just confuse him)

Tesla229 | October 5, 2012

My reaction would be to simply walk away and smile, in the knowledge that, due to their ignorance and narrow mindedness, they are doomed to a lifetime of pumping gas into a piece of outdated machinery, at $4+ per gal. and smelling like petroleum distillates.....

giants2001 | October 5, 2012

he's probably just jealous!

ckessel | October 5, 2012

One of many, many, many reasons not to live in Texas I suppose.

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

I find there are many reasons to like living in Texas. And I've lived a lot of places (including California and NYC).

BestBrokerinDallas | October 5, 2012

OMG! I LOVE everyone's responses... These are great! The initial response pissed me off, but as I drove around today, I had people telling me to roll down my windows... This one couple asked what type of car it was... They said it was the most beautiful car they had ever seen (which I wholly agree with) and asked who made it... I told them and mentioned it was all electric, no gas, no oil, no emissions... They were floored it was all electric... Then tonight when I went to dinner, the parking lot in the front of the restaurant was full so I had to park in the back. There was a security guard watching the cars and he flagged me over and gave me the most secure, safest non-parking spot and watched the car. Then while I waited for my table, the hostess said there was a rumor going around the restaurant that I tipped the security guard $100 (which I didn't tip him anything, just thanked him - not sure if that was a social faux pas or not) and that I was a professional football player (I'm big and stocky, but certainly not a sportsman)... I felt like a celebrity! :-)

Brian H | October 5, 2012

That's when you shoulda whipped out and donned your bright red Tesla baseball cap! ;)

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

@Brian H: Thanks, I'll look up Tamney

TikiMan | October 5, 2012


Congrats! I love stories like this, and it is part of the reason why it's so great being one the first ones out there to own it! Don't sweat the negative stuff, even original Model T owners got razed about driving the first gas cars back in the early 1900's. 

My comeback would have been... "Thank God you did, because without Tesla and its CEO, we might not have a space program anymore in America". 

When I wear my Tesla cap, some people ask about it, and I quickly turn to the fact that Tesla's CEO is keeping America in space, and keeping NASA alive. Most folks have never made that connection, because of all the negative press about Fisker and Solyndra (sp?). In fact, I am considering putting a lic plate frame on my Model S that says... "Falcon ####" (whatever my vin number is), and at the bottom "Tesla-SpaceX".

Velo1 | October 5, 2012

My older brother, a staunch Republican, keeps calling my Model S an Obama car. I shut him up by saying W signed the tax credit into law, so what's your point? He Really gets under my skin, but I just smile and say thanks for helping offset my cost.