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A man is looking for a new car so he walks into a dealership and sees something exciting. The car is the SotA 32 from Portalarium Motors. In addition to its modern styling, this vehicle also has many retro features. The man is delighted to see vinyl bench seats, side vent windows, and a shifter on the steering column. There are no emissions controls on its powerful V8 engine. There is no backup camera, automated braking, or smart technology here. There are no air bags, no padded dash board, or software for parallel parking. The man realizes that this is a car for those who don’t need hand holding. He wants this car.
The man then notices something else about the SotA 32. It’s missing many parts, including the passenger-side door, the left rear wheel, headlights, a windshield, rear seats, mirrors, exhaust, and bumpers.
A salesman notices his interest. “Sir, are you interested in this car?”
“Boy, am I ever!”
“You can drive it off the lot today”, says the salesman, “as long as you realize the car is unfinished and untested.”
“Will it ever be finished?”
“Sure. We call this an Early Access Alpha model. It’s barely functional and generally unsuited for driving.”
“Tell me more!”
“Once it has all the parts it really needs, we can call it a Beta model. At that point we test it out to see if it needs any modifications to make it safe and functional. Eventually we will announce the car as released and make a special announcement to the public.”
“Can I buy this Early Access Alpha model right now?” the customer asked.
“You may participate in Early Access as long as you are willing to pay the full sticker price for an unfinished, untested vehicle. You may even pay more than the sticker price if you like. I’ll throw in a paper crown you can wear on your head to signify your customer loyalty.”
“You drive a hard bargain, but I’ll take it!”
“Oh, one last thing. The Early Access Alpha model comes with a special ignition safety interlock. When you try to turn the key, the engine will not start until you say aloud that you are willing to be a test driver in this unfinished, untested vehicle.”
“Wait a minute” replied the wary customer. “Does the odometer work yet?”
“Yes. It will begin counting miles the moment you drive it off the lot. There will be no odometer wipes. Your mileage is persistent.”
“Well that settles it. So long as the odometer will not be wiped, I guess it’s good to go. Let’s sign the paperwork so I can own this baby.”
The customer drove away in his Early Access Alpha SotA 32, but was back the very next day.
“This is the worst car ever!” he cried. “It wobbles, throws wind in my face, and is impossible to stop. It’s too loud and dangerous to drive in the dark. What is wrong with this company? Why is this car so bad? I’m going to tell all my friends not to buy this car.”
The salesman had no idea how to reply to this customer. He was speechless.