‘I’ve been on the internet for 18 years’: Former car dealership owner on car paint booths
The former owner of a car dealership in the US state of Illinois has spoken of his first experience with the internet.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on the eve of his retirement, Brian Loughran, who has run the Dade County Car Dealers Association for 27 years, said he first got into the internet in 2009.
“I was in college and I got a computer, and I started researching, and after about a year or two of research, I found a local car dealership.”
And so, I was like, ‘Oh my god, what a thing to do,'” he said.
The dealership has been a constant fixture in his life ever since, he said, with its long hours, long queues and its colourful decor.”
There was always a lot of people working there.
People had jobs.
There was a lot to do,” he said of the day-to-day business of the dealership.
He said his first contact with the Internet was when he was a kid, when his dad brought home a gameboy.”
It was a Nintendo game, and there was a box on the front of the box.
And I was just blown away,” he recalled.”
So, I just took it home and it was on my wall and I remember opening it up and seeing all these pictures of cars and stuff.
“But then, the internet changed the way he lived.”
One day my dad called and he said ‘I’m going to have a game machine, it’s going to take a while, but I’m going see what it’s like’,” he said with a chuckle.”
Then, it took me a while to get used to it.
I’ve been here since I was a little kid, but it’s been a long time since I’ve used it.
“Loughran was the first in his family to go online, having attended school in Illinois.
He remembers playing the Commodore 64 at age 8, and playing video games for hours a day.”
I’m the only one who doesn’t play a lot.””
I play as many games as I can.
I’m the only one who doesn’t play a lot.”
But he’s also seen a decline in the number of people who are willing to travel across the country to meet customers, and more people are opting to buy cars online.
“They are just getting older and the older they get, the more they want to be online.
I think it’s really bad for the business,” he continued.”
We used to be able to meet and have lunch and chat with customers, but now it’s just like, you’re just going to be meeting with people who have an internet connection and they’re going to walk away.”
But Loughren doesn’t think that the car dealerships will disappear any time soon.
“If people are buying cars online, there will be no car dealers,” he warned.
“But if people are not buying cars, the business is going to continue to be good.”
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