I don’t know if this is just an American thing or what, but car salesmen (it’s always men) and the whole experience of buying a car have really crappy reputations. I just bought a new car, and when I first went out to find it, I thought, maybe the reputation is misgiven. Maybe that’s a bad rumor. Because, really, if I was a car sales person, I would be aware of the reputation and work to give lie to it.
Not the guys I got.
Car Salesman #1
The place I got my last car is a national chair, but headquartered in my hometown. They are good used cars; I got my last car from them and put 200,000 miles on it. A lot of my friends and family work for that chain, which has done a lot for my community. I decided to keep supporting them and drove to see what they had, 30 minutes away from my house.
I walk in and this man is on me in no time. Slippery with a quick laugh. A loud laugh. I can’t imagine working with him; it would bug the shit out of me. I test-drove a couple of cars, and then got home and got his little “thanks for coming” email. Then I got another one. From his fucking boss.
I went back to try a few other cars, but first, I had to meet and talk to his boss. After the drives, salesman gave me the, “You know. I wouldn’t ask you to come in, I know you have to go, but my boss wants to talk to you…” So fucking annoying. They didn’t have any cars I wanted anyway, which made it easier to go somewhere else.
Car Salesman #2
I walk into this Car Store and no one is there. No one. There is no person there, no sign telling a guest what’s going on, nothing. After 10 minutes, I flag someone down (a little snarkily, TBH) and am told the cars are all unlocked and I can look around unmolested by a mouth breathing sales person. Oh! They had a way better selection, too.
I test drove a couple of cars and finally settled on one, and had made arrangements with the salesman to return with my husband later in the day. I was feeling better about this place, but scheduling conflicts delayed me and Cohiba for a few days. The salesman said no problem. But he still sold it out from under me.
He described a mistake I can imagine making myself, so I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He said I could see if there were other cars I wanted to try at their other locations. Cool. I found two and, honestly, I would have gotten one of them. Then he asked me which one I wanted.
“Can’t I see them both?”
“Well, they’re basically the same car – model, trim, etc. Just mileage and price differences.” Um. That’s not what I fucking asked you.
“So I can’t see them both?”
“No.” Alright. This was your fuck up anyway, dude, and you had a guaranteed sale. But no.
Car Salesman #3
By this point, I was as prickly as a cactus, and I don’t want to deal with any more bullshit. I found something with a good price and history, and called the dealership. The guy who answered had what is, in my mind, a shifty name for a shifty character. So I had to deal with him.
I walked into the dealership and the stock “car dealership slime ball” characters were front and center when I walked in. The tall skinny blond man with a mustache, and a short chubby man with an oily curly black mullet. Both of them were wearing lanyards and had a practiced casualness. I couldn’t even look them in the eye.
Salesman came out to meet me, and he was only slightly less slimy than Mullethead, but he had pictures on his desk of a little girl about Wee One’s age, so I warmed up to him. He was a little skuzzy, but I figure you have to be in that environment. I liked the car and wanted to move forward, then Finance Guy (FG) came out.
A slow-talking glad-hander who didn’t seem too sketchy at first, but could not give me a straight answer to a single fucking question. He really hated that we got outside financing. Fine, I get it, this is your money maker, but too fucking bad. You know what business you’re in.
During the final sales meeting with Cohiba, we had to deal with FG for most of the time. I had to tell FG “no” multiple times to the same fucking extras he was offering. Several times, he brought his question to Cohiba, even though it was my car and my decision. Damn.
Things smoothed out after he held up an electronic part of the engine and asked us, “Do you know what this is?” He was expecting us to say no, and I did, but Cohiba didn’t. “No, that’s a jerrywidget.” (Whatever it was called.)
FG launched into his sales pitch, but Cohiba says, “Well, I helped design that jerrywidget and I’m very familiar with what it does. We have a saying that if it will last six months it will last six years. Since we’re buying a 2016 vehicle, it’s already lasted six months, so it will probably be fine.”
“That may be, but you never know…” FG responds. Cohiba stops him. “I.. I know how this works. I worked on it for years. And balance of probability says this will not break down, which means spending (he’s been crunching numbers on his phone and turns it around to face him) X-thousand dollars to protect it is pointless. If this breaks down, we have bigger problems.”
FG toned down a little bit after that, and we finally got to fucking leave.
Moral of the story: Keep the car you’ve got in the best shape you can for as long as possible, because buying a car sucks.
If you have had a different experiences, please-oh-please share it with me and give me hope for the next time I have to do this.