Toyota, I Love You. Goodbye

May 4, 2011: 12:47 PM ET

Buying a car from you was a thrill. But I'm just not ready for the kind of relationship you seem to have in mind.

Dearest,

I write this with a heavy heart, but in the knowledge that it must be done. It's become clear over the last months that I am simply more important to you than you are to me. This must end before one or both of us gets hurt. No, don't cry! It's for the best. Once free of this -- I must call it what it is! -- this obsession you have with me, you will grieve, to be sure, but then you will be free to love others.

I understand the way you feel. The intense moments of pleasure that we both experienced when I purchased my new RAV4 in March were feelings that I will remember for the rest of my life. I remember walking into that showroom and seeing the vehicle that was the object of my quest. So shiny! And the options -- incomparable. I recall the lovely smooth glide of her moon roof as it slid back to reveal the crisp sky of early spring, and the way her six cylinders moved me from 0 to 60 in just a hair over six seconds. Nothing can take that first test drive away from us.

And don't think I will ever forget the ease with which you got my paperwork finished and whisked me out the door. Buying a car is a pretty big deal. You made it look easy. Showed me everything I needed to know. Set up my schedule of maintenance visits. You made me feel like a king, dear. You made all others who came before seem cheap, tawdry, and shallow. So thanks. I mean that from the bottom of my crankshaft.

But after that things started to go wrong. Maybe we just have a different idea of what a relationship like ours should be. To me, the two of us had a beautiful, intense transaction that was good for us both. For you, it's obvious, what we did together was meant to be the beginning of something deep and profound that had to be renewed again and again. I have a life, dear. I travel a lot. I just don't have time for the kind of intense connection that it's clear you have in mind.

I have on my desk as I write this a stack of e-mail printouts half an inch high, and that's from less than six weeks! It's too much! My in-box is clogged with your importunings, offerings, and requests for validation. Stop! I beg you!

They began reasonably enough. Your General Manager congratulated me on my purchase. I was happy to hear from her, though her tone was a little ominous. "Our interest in your satisfaction is just the beginning," she wrote. "We look forward to a continuing relationship, and it is our sincere desire that you remain completely satisfied." This made me a tiny bit uneasy. Who can offer complete satisfaction to another in this life?

Next came the personal e-mail from Ned, my sales-person. "Since you've placed your confidence with us," he wrote, "everyone here at Toyota realizes that your satisfaction is the key to our future." Really? I don't want that kind of responsibility!

Then came the offers of toys, keepsakes, and inducements for me to return, to see you, to keep up the pace and tenor of our former association. I was informed that I had been registered to use your online service scheduling solution. You even issued me a user name and a password so secret it had to be hidden in a "safe place" lest someone purloin it. What was next? There was a safe-driving program for teens and parents. Several more notes of thanks. And then began the steady drip, drip, drip of requests for feedback on my experience with you. I did the first you asked for. Then there were more. When I failed to answer the second, then the third and fourth such request, couldn't you take a hint? It's not my role in life to deal with your insecurities, my love. I know you had a bad 2010. I can't solve that single-handedly. So thanks for the offer of 15% off on parts and accessories. But let it end, here and now.

It's over. Perhaps we'll see each other down the road, in about 60,000 miles. I'll be there if you will, my love. Until then, sayonara!

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