Tuesday, March 07, 2006

AutoQuest V - Those Evil Dealerships

If you are the Ned Flanders type, that is, if you keep a sunny disposition and perpetually have warm feelings towards your fellow man, you must have never dealt with car salespeople. They will make cynics out of anyone in a hurry.

I've shopped for cars before. I've done it for myself, my wife, and a few friends. I am familiar with the routines. Here are a few in fact:

  • The stall: They know you picked this particular day to car shop. They will do everything they can to stall and keep you from visiting other dealers. They will offer you coffee, make lots of small talk, but most of all, they make you wait alone.
  • Breaking you down: All the small talk and waiting is meant to accomplish something else. They want to lower your defenses. You become ansy, you even become slightly annoyed - not enough to leave, but enough where you start wanting to move things forward. This, of course, is where they have you. You're going to become more agreeable because you want to start driving your new vehicle, not wasting more time with these bozos.
  • Good Guy/Bad Guy: The first person you talk to will be determined to be your best buddy. He/she spends time with you discussing and test driving the vehicle. He/she gets to know you and you develop a bit of rapport. He/she will discuss the price and financing you should be able to get. Then its time to sit down and start talking numbers. This is where a second person, whom you have not previously seen appears. This person will discuss numbers, not your needs or wants. The second person will tell you why you can't get the 0% financing, or qualify for the lease. Of course, person number 1 will fight for you. He/she is on your side and will go and talk with that ogre. So the two of them talk it out in another office leaving you waiting again (see above). When they return, person 1 will apologize that you can't get the deal you talked about earlier, but they will make a "special exception" for you and offer you something better than what person number 2 said, but not as good as the original numbers person 1 said.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about a real-life experience I had on Sunday.

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