Dealing With The Dealers

    Over these last dozen essays or so, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot closer with the some-odd-hundreds of you that visit the site. There’s probably a lot more of you actually. I don’t know. I’m too lazy to check my analytics.  But with said closeness, I’ve decided to make yet another confession: in the winter of 2013, I got in a car accident and told a little fib about how it happened.

    It was all pretty stupid really.  As I was driving down the highway, I started using voice-to-text (as a way to not text and drive).  I glanced down just to make sure all of the words came out correctly and when I glanced back up, a GIGANTIC box was hurling itself straight towards my car.  I tried to swerve to the right but hit it with the front driver’s side.  

    I pulled over and so did the big truck from whence the box came.  A little Mexican man hopped out and trotted onto the highway to pick it up - as if crossing the highway was no big deal.  That’s what I love about Mexicans: nothing stops them.  

    In seeing his ease with picking up the giant box (turns out it was filled with insulation), I figured it couldn’t have done much damage.  But I drove a Civic (not a sturdy car) and thus the box tore up both the side bumper and door.

    The truck driver was kind and took full responsibility.  The owner of the company said he’d do whatever it took to make things right.  Their insurance company worked diligently to get the ball rolling. I, on the other hand, omitted the part of the story where I had been using my phone. Like any red blooded douche basket of an American, I washed my hands of any responsibility.

    This wasn’t the first time I lied about being in a car accident and blamed it on a Mexican guy.  But my bleeding liberal heart had hoped it would be my last.

    The whole thing left me with another conundrum though: I had to buy a new car.  Like any red blooded douche basket of a spoiled, suburbanite kid, I had never done this before.  My parents always did it for me growing up.

    Luckily I didn’t need anything fancy - just good fuel economy since I drove a lot for work.  But the options were still overwhelming.  The rental company had given me a Prius to drive in the mean time which was a big mistake. I’d end up loving it. Well played, Prius.  Well played. 

    Since the Prius was a little out of my price range, my partner, Luke, suggested that I check out the Nissan Versa.  I looked it up online. It certainly wasn't fancy.  But their latest model, the Versa Note, was actually kind of cute.  In the evening, we decided to run over to the dealership and check them out.

When dealing with the dealers, one clearly has to toughen up.

When dealing with the dealers, one clearly has to toughen up.

    We thought we’d be stealthy and avoid salesmen by darting through the lot to check them out.  But the freezing cold air quickly drove us inside and right into the dealer’s loving arms.  

    At first, the slightly handsome salesman didn’t seem all that interested in us.  When telling him about my two options, he acted aloof and actually gave me more reasons to opt for the Prius.  But like most eager gay men, his disinterest in me only made me more interested in him.  So of course I practically started begging him to convince me on his car.  

    It didn’t take long before talk turned into the test drive.  When we got in the car, the salesman’s persona changed.  He now came off friendlier; telling us about his life and asking us about ours.  During the drive, everyone kept checking in with me on how I liked it. I think I like it. I can’t tell. I don’t care about cars. How am I supposed to know?  

    By the time we got back to the dealership, the salesman now seemed like our brand new best buddy.  He asked if I’d like to see some numbers (in addition to some bottles of water or holiday candy or whatever we needed. “Anything,” he said.) I figured it couldn’t hurt. The numbers that is - not the candy.

    He returned with some bottles of water and the financial info.  It seemed like more than I wanted to pay for a lower end car. I asked him if they were running any end-of-year deals.  The salesman informed me that since they were a family owned dealership, they didn’t have deals like that.  This disappointing answer somehow simultaneously comforted me. I’d be buying from a mom-n-pop shop rather than a large corporation. He was slick.

    In an effort to make a sound decision, I told him that I would need to think about it for a couple of days.  He then proceeded to introduce us to his supervisor; also a young, handsome, go-getter kind of guy.  The supervisor then explained that he really needed to be honest with me.  Apparently they had too much inventory and needed to sell some of these exact cars that very night.  Why hadn’t the salesman mentioned this before?

    The two of them began re-working new numbers for me, creating monthly payments that I guess were supposed to make me wet my pants.  As they scribbled things all over the offer, I started feeling a little trapped.  They made it clear that the offer would only be good that night.  The more I resisted, the more the numbers got crunched.  

    Each time they’d walk away, some new stupid thing would be written on the updated offer like “Special deal just for you” and “Let’s make this happen tonight.”  The whole thing became the total cliche I had always heard about.  

    I don’t want to drone on and on about all of the different ways they tried to lay it on hard and thick.  But the silliness of it all started to wear on me.  I don’t do well when I’m put on the spot like this. The bright florescent lights and the nerve wracking pressure started to make me feel like I was in an interrogation room.  

    I started to panic.  Fortunately my partner knows how to handle me in these situations.  He reached across the table. “What does your gut tell you?” he asked.

    My gut told me that I would totally buy the car right then and there if we could watch the salesman and the supervisor make out with each other. I genuinely contemplated on whether I would make this request or not. 

    Can I ask them to do that? No, I can’t ask them to do that! But I’d never see them again. What’s the worst that would happen?  They’d say no? That’s it. And it’d be hot to see what they’d do for this Klondike bar. But they’d have to do it for at least 30 seconds. And with tongue! This is a whole car we are talking about!  

    After seriously giving it some thought, I couldn’t bring myself to ask them to do it.

    When they finally realized I was a basket case who wasn’t going to make up his mind, their demeanor shifted once again.  All of us were no longer good friends.  Instead I had become the new pain in their ass.  

    The two men stepped away to get us their business cards and I suddenly felt like I had either won or lost a game of tug-o-war.  I couldn’t tell. Luke and I decided to go ahead and just make a run for it.  We slipped out the door realizing we had just spent three hours there and were starving!

    Seeing as how my little white lie with the accident gave me the opportunity to buy a new car, I probably didn’t deserve to have the whole process be a smooth and easy ride.  But I couldn’t bring myself to go to another car dealership after that.  I ended up going with a nice car broker who got me a used Prius at auction - once again proving that the traditional means were not for me. And he didn’t even have to make out with another dude for me. 

Luke and Steuben enjoying their ride in the Prius.

Luke and Steuben enjoying their ride in the Prius.

 

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