Death of a Used Car Salesman

Wednesday, January 22, 2014



I’m supposed to be blogging about my Kauai trip, so why haven’t I posted in days? Oh, that’s because my life has become an annoying circus of researching cars and dealing with sleezy used car salesmen.  I have pretty specific requirements what I’m looking for as far as type of vehicle, mileage and price.  I’ve been looking everywhere- seriously, everywhere.  It was so much easier car shopping in Houston because there was a different car dealership on every corner and most of them are fairly reputable.  Birmingham however is not like that.  There are only a handful of car dealerships and none of them are connected.  Is it too much to ask that all of the dealerships owned by this Serra character should be able to view what used cars are on each other’s lots?  What the crap is the purpose of having them all be owned by the same person if I have to go to each one individually to try to find a certain car?!

I’ve also been running in to the big problem of dealerships having cars listed online that are not actually on the lot.  I guess they’ve sold but the sales person tells me the car is there and when I show up for a test drive he claims it was “just sold” and instead tries to put me into something completely not what I asked for.  I know my car is out there somewhere because Carmax shows them; it’s just that they’re in Virginia or Tennessee or North Carolina and I’m not putting hundreds of miles on a car the day after I get it.  Here’s what I’m looking for, you can tell me if I’m being too persnickety:

Type:  Compact/mid-size SUV (Honda CRV and Toyota Highlander are my faves)
Mileage: 30k max
Price: Depending on what I get from Allstate, 22k or less
Features: Cloth seats

Really, not that difficult.  Obviously I’m trying to find the newest car possible in that range and so far I’ve come across lots of 2011, 2012 and 2013 models available. 

Let me explain for you my frustration with the sales people I’ve interacted with.  My first car we bought from an individual, next came Troy who we bought from a Lexus dealership in Houston so I’ve never had to interact with anyone who came close to the stereotypical used car salesman persona until now.  I’ve been really good about calling places to set an appointment with a salesman each time I go out hunting cars.  The idea is that it should save me time because they’ll go find what I want to test drive and have it ready.  That hasn’t happened yet.  The first place I tried I wound up not even going because in the 3 hours before my “appointment” 2 different sales people from the same dealership called me to try to get me to meet with them instead of the guy I’d made an appointment with.  Who does that?! The next place I went to, the guy made me wait 30 minutes while he talked on the phone with I don’t know who then didn’t have anything ready.  We finally went out to look for some cars and he kept trying to get me into a Yukon.  Where exactly does Yukon fit into the compact/mid size SUV category.  Right, it doesn’t.  After 2 hours and NO test drives later, I finally escaped.  By the time I got to the next dealership I only have time for a quick test drive of a Toyota RAV4.  Their website said they had some CRVs I could drive but the sales guy said it had “just sold” before I got there.  Riiiiiiight.  When the salesman was asking me about what type of car I was looking for (even though I’d already told him all of this on the phone when I made the appointment) he asked what color I wanted, if I liked Black specifically.  My response, “Yes, I love black”.  I kid you not, his response “I bet you do”.  Then when we get into the RAV4 and are driving around I’m asking him questions- average MPG, accident history, etc.- but he doesn’t know the answer to anything and eventually we fall silent.  He turns up the radio and it’s on a Boyz II Men-R&B-Soul station and the current song playing was super sexual.  At one point I remember hearing something about "nails on his naked back"…. The guy just chilled there humming along.  I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life.  Needless to say I skedaddled out of there as soon as I could.  I’ve gone to 2 other places since there and it’s been the same pushy "I don’t really care about what you want just what I can sell" kind of attitude.  Last night on a whim I decided to stop by somewhere out of the way when I got off work.  I called ahead and the guy pulled out a Toyota Highlander and a Honda Pilot for me to drive.  The Pilot was like WAY over my price range but the Highlander was sort of perfect.  I fell in love.  Except it’s a bit larger than what I really need right now and it a couple grand over my price point.  Part of why I liked it so much is that the salesman I worked with was super nice.  The Highlander wasn’t ready when I got there, it was being cleaned, so I had to wait but this time I didn’t mind.  This guy wasn’t pushy at all and it made things really comfortable.  Frankly, if I’d had my check from Allstate I probably would have bought that car last night.

With my luck it’ll sell before I get my check so I’m still looking, which is depressing.  I’m going to start pulling my hair out if I have to keep working with jerk sales guys like I have been.  Maybe this is a turning point and I’ll only have nice, normal salesmen from now on.  Wishful thinking, right?  Anyways, that’s why I haven’t had time for blogging about my trip.  Literally every moment I’m not at work I’m either researching cars or driving around to different dealerships.

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1 comment:

  1. Hey Beth! A friend if mine used this car buying service and would recommend anyone using them.

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