Beijing, P.R.C. -- (Consumer Inquiry) First Japan, then Korea, now yet another emerging economic powerhouse wants to get into the act of keeping the go-go West on the go-go. No longer content with mass producing foreign inspired, low-priced, easy-to-assemble products for sale by large merchandisers, like WalMart for one, the State Planning Agency of Economic Development in China has just revealed a master distribution plan, already in its later stages, designed to bite off a big chunk of a substantial market the West just can't do without: The industrial wunderkind of the world, China, intends to massively export a revolutionary form of personalized transportation.
"A Compact Car certain to accommodate the budgets of everyman and woman," enthused the front man for the ambitious project, party member Wong Hardwan. "And not just the up-front costs associated with money down and those pesky subsequent monthly payments," he elucidated. Set to roll off the assembly lines in mid 2007, the Rickshaw-2000 "will never leave you stranded" further boasted Mr. Hardwan, who happens also to be the head of international marketing.
He claimed, with the enthusiasm of a back-woods preacher, the Rickshaw-2000 is not only eminently affordable-easy on the wallet when it's time to pump petrol (or "gas" as Americans call it, the population specially targeted)-but its maintenance costs are phenomenally low.
"With a super-charged two-cylinder engine, a body frame made of specially culled recycled juice bottles mixed with epoxy in a super-heated secret fashion, and shiny, hard wheels stronger than those little plastic ones that support red-wagons kids the world over love to pull, were talking pennies to the dollars when compared with real - er, other automobiles," the energetic marketing director exulted, a tad clumsily. "And if the engine does explo- um, experience difficulties, we even throw in two retractable poles that come out the front, so you don't ever' have to call a tow truck."
When Consumer Inquiry challenged that a 300lb glorified, recycled take on a golf cart might not go over too well with consumers; especially considering the primary target, Americans, are used to large, spacious cars, Mr. Hardwan curiously waxed into a long tirade:
"Look, buddy, if you worked in one of my factories and challenged me like that, I'd sell your organs to the highest bidder-right after you got accidentally' pulled into a dangerous part of the assembly line.
"Anyway, Americans will greet the Rickshaw-2000 with the utmost enthusiasm. What with their flawed imperialistic policies in the Middle-East blowing right up into their smug, square faces, causing the price of oil to go through the roof, they'll be clawing at and climbing over each other to get into one of our 200 plus miles to the gallon, city or highway, cars."
And he wasn't yet done, though he did feel a bit coerced toward the end to can the vitriolic tongue-wagging:
"Plus with the do-it-yourself towing feature, it'd be a good thing for those overfed fat-ass Americans to finally get off their couches and get some real exercise. Pulling their Rickshaw-2000 to the nearest lawnmower repair - um, dealership or automotive repair shop, would be just the ticket for their elevated sugar levels, fat-laden limbs and bloated bellies, not to mention clearing out some of the blockage that threatens to burst their inferior arteries. And - "
This is right about when Mr. Hong Hardwan ceased, once and for all, his baffling diatribe. Taking belated note of this reporter's gaping mouth and bulging eyes, not to mention the two burly men in suits inevitably tight, who just happened to quickly enter the room, he muttered a few more words:
"Oh, I've said too much, haven't I?" he meekly offered over his shoulder while being roughly escorted out of the room, flanked by the two new arrivals. "Pity. Um, anyway, you wouldn't be in need of some vital organs? Because I know I won't be in a very short time."
I politely declined to his departing back-I don't think that's yet legal in the West, as of yet.
Anyway, shoppers, keep an eye out for the Rickshaw-2000 -- or whatever the hell they plan on calling it, in order to mask the stench unleashed by the soon be late Mr. Hardwon's unfortunate bout of diarrhea of the mouth.