I spent the better part of this past Saturday shopping for a new well newer car. And a fruitless and frustrating search it was. The worst part, other then the dehydration, sunburn, possible heat stroke and needless miles put on a car that’s already old and tired was the salesmen.
I can still smell their cologne days later. Polo and Drakkar and Ralph Lauren’s armpit juice, I don’t even know what. The pile of business cards I brought home stink of cheap, overpowering man perfume.
Including the two dealerships I visited last week after a doctor’s appointment I’ve probably visited two dozen car dealers this month. Oddly, it used to be or at least the jokes always made it seem so, that the small, private car lots had the most vile, slimiest salesmen but down here it seems the slime has migrated to the large, national, car manufacturer showrooms. Packs of salesmen hanging out on the corner, smoking cigarettes, making crude jokes, smelling like dozens of man scents, just waiting to pounce on the next unsuspecting customer. Here’s what I mean. When approached by a salesman (show no fear!) I introduce myself and give a quick, reasonably clear description of what I’m looking for (two door, automatic transmission, low miles, newer is better) and my price range. Every small lot salesman who had cars in my price range showed me those cars. Once or twice they suggested looking at this or that which was a little over (and sometimes under) my range. The majority of the big, manufacturer lot salesmen immediately showed me cars thousands of dollars more than I was willing to spend and even when I said restated myself forcefully several continued to point me towards cars I couldn’t afford or were completely not what I wanted. Seriously guys, I can’t afford to drive a Corvette especially not a 1984 model!
Topping the creepy list are two salesmen. One, from the very first place I visited who has called me THREE times to tell me he doesn’t have anything for me… yes, he calls to say “Hi, I haven’t found anything for you yet but I’m still looking!” Then he tries to pump me for details on what other lots and cars I’ve looked at. The other, from another big name dealership has also called me to tell me he has nothing for me. So very, very weird. I declined to give him an email address when he was taking down my contact info. He actually went to the trouble and stalkerific effort of hunting me down on HotMail and emailing me. Even though I told him I didn’t give out my email address. I’m seriously waiting for one of them to bring a car, which I can’t afford, TO my house (probably around midnight) to see if I’d be interested in it.
Sadly it seems our price range is one where’s there’s few cars. There are plenty of cars a few thousand MORE than I can afford to spend and there’s a lot of cars less than I want to spend… and oh are some of them horrible, several with 200+ thousand miles, weird stains on the seats and once on the head liner, bits broken off like mirrors, headlight and gas tank covers, stuff that no longer worked. “Well, it’s $2,000 less than you were looking to spend, you could probably get the AC fixed for that, right?” mismatched wheels with DIFFERENT size tires “Oh, you noticed that… we could probably do something about that!”
I already have my own junker, I don’t WANT someone else’s beaten to hell car. My favorite (not really!) so far was a 2006 Scion tC with 243,000 miles and the most frightening words a salesman can utter “aftermarket enhancements” the air intake looked homemade, I swear there was a coffee can welded in there. The aftermarket turbo the previous owner had added seemed to be held on more by gasket sealer than anything like bolts. Speaking of bolts, there weren’t any holding the radiator in. The front tires were bald and the stereo AND speakers were missing. It was a steal at seven THOUSAND dollars… I passed.
I just want decent, reliable, transportation. I don’t want a sports car. I don’t want to race or go mudding. I don’t want or need flashy bits. Just a basic car I can afford that doesn’t make me worry every time I drive it. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Hawk (all humbuggy and stuff…)