Car shopping rant →
[More:]Why does car shopping have to be so freaking miserable?
And a corollary: why are car salesmen so stupidly unable to switch their tactics when their tactics aren't working?
I visited some dealerships today because, even though I wish I didn't have to, I really need to replace my beat ol' Suub with a reliable car. Now, I've done my homework. I know my hard and fast budget, I know what interest rate I qualify for, I know who's financing me, I know the Blue Book and auction rate on my trade in...basically, I know exactly what I can afford. And I know what a dealer should be able to sell me because I know the invoice prices. And yet, when I walk into the dealership and describe all this, they STILL try the shady crap! You'd think they'd recognize that I'm serious - I have a deal to offer if they have a car.
But no. They have to be all "What do you want for a monthly payment?" Doesn't matter, asshat. If the price is right the payments will take care of themselves. I don't want you sweet-talking me into something that actually costs $3000 more but doesn't feel like it because you spread the payments out. "What about these models that are totally different than what you need?" No, thanks. "Hey, it can't hurt to take a test drive!" No, thanks, I'm not looking at those, too inefficient on gas/pricey/low reliability. "How about we play with the numbers, see what we can get you in trade?" Well, I know there's no way you're getting enough from a beat-ass '99 Forester in trade to make a $17000 car magically turn into a $12000 car.
I understand they need to make a little money on a sale and I don't begrudge them that. All I'm complaining about is that they are so bludgeon-headed about reading their customer. If they'd just listen to what I'm after, and match me with something in the inventory that worked, they'd have a freaking super-easy sale. But because they are so desperate for that bonus / incentive / award / additional pocket change, they keep pushing and pushing...until there's nothing to do but just walk out.
How does this make sense? Wouldn't it be smarter of them to just efficiently get you into a suitable vehicle, lickety-split, and move on to the next sale?
The first place I went to had every sleazy trick in the book. Guy I was "supposed" to meet wasn't there (may not even exist. Then, the car I thought I was there to see had (oh, shucky darn) been sold, so coincidentally, since I called last night to check that it was still there. (Amazing, given that my appointment was 10 in the morning). The bad cop tells me thes, then I get passed off to a good-cop sales guy who'll be happy to show me some other things that he thinks I might like, and they start to try bouncing me around. The whole time talking me into purchasing new, which I have no interest doing, as it's so wasteful. When I realized they had no intention of helping me out, I just left. Which sucks, because I drove an hour to see the car they baited me with - my ideal model at a good price and mileage. Fuckers.
I had a better experience at another dealership, where the salespeople were great and listened to what I need, but when I arrived they had also just sold the car I wanted. This time I believed them, because it was sitting on the lot getting prepped for delivery and the saleperson was still working with the people. I was just a few hours too late. It was a sweet ride, too, and a great price again.The nice thing was they promised to call me if something similar came in, and didn't try to strongarm me into buying some other crap I didn't want.
Ugh. I feel like I need a hot shower now. And I'm oooonly at the beginning. I think my plan now is to start taking a more directed approach - I'm going to email dealerships directly with all my criteria, and ask them to call/email me ONLY IF they have something fitting on the lot. And right before I go see it I'm going to call and ask if they still have it. And if I get there and they don't have it, and haven't called to say so, then I'm leaving right away. And I'm going to bring everything they've sent me in email along with me, printed out.
Jesus, Lord. Can you imagine if buying groceries were like this? Or clothes? Or musical instruments?