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Wayne vs. Viking Dodge - He's Back

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Topics:  Viking Dodge

Wayne vs. Viking Dodge - He's Back

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 31, 2007

After a short absence a familiar sight has returned to the corner of IL 176 and US 14 in Crystal Lake. Wayne is back! Remember Wayne, of previous musings about the Wayne vs. Viking Dodge battle.

For months Wayne has been parking on the shoulder of US 14, catty-corner from Viking Dodge. For a long time he had a large sign on the left side of his vehicle, expressing his disappointment with Viking Dodge and directing passersby to www.RipOffReport.com

A couple of weeks ago Viking Dodge parked three trucks in “Wayne’s” spot. Two of them had large advertising signs in the beds of the trucks. This raised the ante and got my attention, and I complained to the Crystal Lake Police Department and to the Community Development Department. The police and the CommDev employee contacted Viking Dodge and the trucks were moved, as were two illegal advertising signs in the right-of-way in front of Viking Dodge.

When I drove by this afternoon, Wayne was back in action. Now he has a handheld sign, rather than the sign on the side of his vehicle. I didn’t stop because I was on the way to an appointment, and an hour later I went back to speak with him.

When I arrived, three Viking Dodge pick-up trucks had him surrounded. One was parked behind him; a second was parked facing the wrong way and in front of him; a third was parked on the street side of Wayne’s vehicle and was partially in the roadway. A fifth vehicle was there, too – a Crystal Lake police car!

I parked (legally) a short distance away and walked back to talk with Wayne. I told him that it appeared to me that Viking Dodge was harassing him by parking their trucks so close to him. The truck behind me was only about 24-30” from his vehicle’s rear bumper, and the truck in front of his vehicle was about 18-24” away.

When I saw that neither Viking Dodge truck had a license plate, I suggested to the officer that he ought to cite each truck. He explained that they needed a plate to be driven from the sales lot to the place where they were parked. I told him that I thought the state law required a plate on a vehicle whenever it was on the highway and the shoulder was part of the highway. The officer deferred to his sergeant and contacted him. Within minutes Viking Dodge employees walked two dealer plates across the street and attached them to their trucks.

I also mentioned to Wayne that the one Viking Dodge truck was parked illegally on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic and that the driver had to violate state law by driving on the wrong side of the road to park facing his vehicle. I should have mentioned this to the officer, but I didn’t.

As Wayne and I talked, I looked across the street and saw an advertising sign in front of Viking Dodge that was placed in the right-of-way. . He said he returned, because Viking Dodge had begun displaying advertising signs up close to the roadway on 176.

I called the Crystal Lake Code Enforcement officer and he told me that Viking Dodge had secured a permit from the City for that sign. I told him that I didn’t think Crystal Lake could authorize a business to advertise in the right-of-way in violation of state law, and he called Viking Dodge. Within a minute or two, two Viking Dodge employees walked out to the sign and moved it back, but only a little. I called the Code Enforcement officer back, and he said the permit allows the sign on “private property.”

On Tuesday I’ll call an engineer with IDOT, because my understanding is that, while the grass in front of a business might be “private property”, it is subject to the easement and right-of-way, and I believe State law prohibits advertising in the right-of-way. I’ll find out from the engineer how many feet of right-of-way exists on the north side of IL 176, east of US 14, in front of Viking Dodge.

Is there “New Management. New Attitude” at Viking Dodge? So far as I know, there has been no change in ownership, and ownership determines what the practices of a business will be.

Valuable car-buying information can be found at www.cars.com and www.edmonds.com And you might want to visit www.RipOffReport.com and read Wayne’s comments and the writings of others. Once you get there, just type Viking Dodge in the search field.

I sold new cars for two months in 1986, and it is an experience I would not want to repeat. The attitude at that particular new car dealership in Denver, Colorado, was that anyone – everyone – who came into the store actually came in to buy a car that day! Even if the person was driving an old, broken-down pick-up, had a flat tire in front of the dealership, and came in only to use the phone.

We were to consider that he really came in to buy a new car and we were to make every effort to sell him one. I refused to play that game, which is one of the reasons I lasted only two months. It could have been a great job, had I been allowed to serve the customer.

Remember – you get only a little experience buying a car. A car salesman gets experience every day selling cars. Who do you think is going to be better at what he does? The buyer with 1-2 hours’ experience every 3-4 years? Or the salesman with hours of experience every week?

Do your homework. Understand the process, the tactics, the pressure, the gimmicks, the financing – everything – before you set foot in any dealership. You are the buyer. Make sure you are dealt with respectfully and honestly. If you are not, walk out. There is no reason to get pressured into making a $20,000 or a $30,000 or a $40,000 purchase immediately. There will ALWAYS be another vehicle exactly like the one at which you are looking.

Have questions about buying a car? Ask me.

Like to share your experience – good or bad – at any dealership? Let’s hear about it.

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