Inifiniti Personal Assistant offers a butler for those that can’t afford one
After a long recession where it seemed like no one wanted to drive anything but used Priuses, rich people are starting to throw money at luxury cars again. In fact, the luxury segment has never been better, or more luxurious. In the month of April alone I test-drove two separate cars with built-in refrigerators, one with adjustable rear-seat lumbar massagers, and a half-dozen with heated and cooled front and rear leather seats. Luxury cars now all have shipboard computers that would power the Space Shuttle and about twice as many horsepower as they require. It’s an extremely competitive marketplace for customers who have seemingly bottomless income. Manufacturers have been offering everything short of an actual butler to cater to customer whims.
But now Infiniti does offer a butler.
In March, I stumbled into a free 60-day trial of the new Infiniti Personal Assistant program, which Infiniti describes as your “own concierge service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” They say, “whether you need directory assistance, dinner reservations, directions, or you have a more involved need, like tracking down a 24-hour dentist, researching flight costs, booking a rental car or need to order flowers for your loved one, IPA can tackle it on your behalf.” The PR person I talked to said she used the service to order diapers online and to make hair and nail appointments.
I had no looming dental emergencies, and, mercifully, am out of the market for diapers until I need them for myself 40 years hence. But I do travel a lot on important car business and occasionally eat at the kinds of restaurants where we sit on crates and share fried pig parts “family-style” with a bunch of strangers. Those are surprisingly difficult reservations to get. A personal concierge sounded good to me. So I signed up, and called immediately.
The first Personal Assistant I got on the phone was extremely polite, and had a nice soothing Southern accent. I imagined a room at Infiniti’s Tennessee North American headquarters, full of well-trained twentysomethings, catering to rich people’s (or at least upper-middle class people’s) ludicrous whims all day night. I got a guy who talked like a Southern version of Jeeves from the P.D. Wodehouse novel. I was all too willing to play Wooster.
“Welcome to Infiniti Personal Assistant. How can I help you?”