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Chevy Dealer Turns to Watermelons

July 11, 1998

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Colors and styles are limited, options are nonexistent and the resale value is nil. But there isn’t a lemon anywhere on the lot, gas mileage is off the scale and they’ll never leak oil on the driveway.

Faced with a dwindling supply of cars because of the strike against General Motors, and a sales force with not enough to do, Reeder Chevrolet turned to something it could at least get plenty of _ new 1998 watermelons.

``Right now, our special is a lovely two-tone jade green exterior,″ said sales manager Travis Shields. ``Seeds are standard with this model. We can’t offer rebates or long-term financing on these extra-clean melons, but we do guarantee there’ll be no lemons.″

They have a sticker price of $2.99 _ sales people get a commission of 50 cents each _ and they’re rolling out of the showroom: 77 were sold on Friday.

Many of the staff showed up for work Friday wearing overalls and straw hats.

``Everyone’s happy when you’re selling something,″ dealership owner Paul Siler said. ``We need to keep morale up, and so we’ll have a little fun with the whole situation. Who knows? Maybe our salespeople can make a little lunch money.″

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