Cars Are Cars. All Over The World.

I am 33 years old, and I just bought my first and second car.  Having a car is awesome.  The fact that I can walk a few yards from my door, get in my car, control its climate, listen to podcasts and music, talk on the phone, arrive, and park within a few yards of my destination still leaves me feeling a little stunned.  Don’t get me wrong; there are disadvantages to owning a car.  They are shockingly expensive.  Traffic is annoying.  People driving 60 MPH in the fast lane empurple me with rage.

But honestly, these disadvantages are dwarfed by the joy and convenience of not having to depend on public transportation.  There’s really only one “con” that almost convinces me that owning a car isn’t worth it, and that is the fact that you have to buy one.  And I’m not talking about the act of shelling out a lot of money.  Even that’s worth it.  I’m talking about the actual process of deciding what kind of car you want to buy, finding such a car, determining whether it’s in good condition,and most important, dealing with a car salesman.

I think deciding what kind of car to buy would be pretty easy if you were single, or in a marriage where only one person cares about such things.  No luck here.  Our marriage lacks many things, but not opinions.  Lots and lots of opinions.  And I’m not talking about things like, “I would prefer something with 4-wheel drive, for the snow.”  I’m talking about, “I hate Civics, because I knew this girl named Shalauna in high school who had one, and she was Such. A.  Brat.”  Someimtes Melissa’s opinion boiled down to a crinkled nose and an, “Eww.”

And it would be unfair for me to act like Melissa is the only one with strange opinions of untraceable origin and unquestionable strength.  I’ll look at a perfectly reasonable car, think about it, and say, “Nope.  It would make me feel like the guy who coaches his son’s T-ball team and yells at his son in the parking lot after a big loss, not caring that the other kids and parents can see and hear him.”

So finding a car we wanted to buy was a challenge.  And as far as assessing whether it was in good condition or not . . . I pretty much nailed that.  I even made sure to ask one guy whether the timing belt and water cooler had been replaced.  The sad thing is maybe 10% of the readers of this blog know that what I said was really stupid, and that I meant to ask about the water pump.  One guy asked me if I wanted to take a look under the hood of a car, and I said I did, and then said, “Well, I am pleased to note that there is an engine down there.  Nobody is going to be sell a car with no engine to this guy!”  But once I’d determined there was an engine there wasn’t much else for me to do under the hood.

All of that, of course, pales in comparison with the gut-churning pain of dealing with car salesmen.  Good heavens.  They know what everyone thinks about them, right?  And maybe I’m the exception to the rule, but I can honestly say that we bought two cars in spite of them.  On the first, we decided to buy a car we’d seen earlier that day, and then spent 30 minutes arguing over who had to call the salesman back to tell him we were going to buy it.  We argued over who was going to have the misfortune of a 120 second phone conversation in which the salesman would be informed that we would be buying the car.  Think about that for a second.  It’s really quite remarkable.  And of the two salesman we bought from, he was by far our favorite.

The second was at a little family-owned used car lot.  The son, about my age, was rational and nice.  His father was remarkably unpleasant.  He seemed genuinely offended when I tried to talk him down a little, to the point that I felt as though I were talking about how much I would pay him for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  “Market value for a girl of her age is $100, but you . . . I mean, you can see that she’s really ugly, right?  And I’m just getting to know her, but I think you’d agree with me that she’s that rare combination of boring and annoying.”

I still can’t decide if this was a ploy on his part to deter negotiation, or if he really believed his Nissan Xterra was the prettiest princess in all the land, God’s gift to snowboarding-themed SUVs.  Either way, his manner and tone were so overbearing that I told him I wasn’t going to buy it.  We got in the car and Melissa said, “So, you don’t want that car?”  I said, “No, I do.”  And she said, “Then why did you leave?”  And I said, “So that you and our future children would be able to respect me.  For having the guts to walk away from someone who was mean enough to bully a 33 year-old man.  Besides, I didn’t look under the hood, so that car probably doesn’t even have an engine in it.”

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17 Responses to Cars Are Cars. All Over The World.

  1. Alesa says:

    Oh my heck, we are going through the same thing trying to by husband and work/ski car. I hate salesmen, why are they always men? Since I won’t be driving the car you would think it would be an easy decision for my hubby to make. Nope it is still shaping up to be a month long process, and that is just determining what kind, never mind actually finding it. Grrr.

  2. Troy says:

    LOL on the T-Ball coach and also on the engine inspection. Great stuff.

    Alesa, you better checkity check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. I think you forgot to specify your little hate speech to “car” salesmen, and not salesmen in general. I’ll write that one off as a simple oversight. But there was even a jab at salesmen who are men. Care to restate? Otherwise it’s gonna get hot up in here.

  3. Alesa says:

    Oops sorry, I don’t hate all salesmen. My hubby is a salesman. Just car salesmen, they just seem so shady

  4. maweesa says:

    glad that process is over. moving onto finding a place to live. the fun never ends.

  5. Gina says:

    I think “empurple” is my new favorite word.

  6. Jake says:

    So, I’m married to Traci Timmerman and friends with Bryan Hamblin, this is how I found out about D3T. Awesome, BTW.

    I sold cars for a brief period after my obligatory 2 years overseas. I wanted to learn ‘sales’. I was terrible, but boy, did I get educated.

    Now what I am about to say is of course not universally true, but in my experience it is the rule, rather than the exception.

    Car salesmen have a single objective, and that is to own you. It’s not even about the money, although that plays into it, they want to manipulate you.

    You know when they go take your offer up to the manager in the booth to see whether or not you have come up with an acceptable offer? That part of the conversation takes about 30 seconds, the rest of the time they are making fun of you.

    Think about your job for a minute, about how good you have become at it over the years of practice that you’ve had, and then replace your skill with lying. That’s a car salesman. If one of these tells you that you are a great negotiator and you got a great deal, it might be true, or it might be that they want you to feel like you have bested them, so you feel good about buying a car. The latter is more often the case.

    Sometimes when I share my experience as a sleazy car salesmen I’m asked, “What can I do to make sure I get a good deal on a car?” This isn’t what I tell people, but the truth is, that’s like asking, “How do I win a fight against Mike Tyson?”

    I can say this, never, EVER, trade your used car in to the dealer. There’s a reason they ask you if you have a trade in at the beginning of the negotiation process.

  7. Jeff says:

    I would rather wade through a sea of salesmen than deal with the financing department guys. Those dudes think they have a REAL handle on finance.

    After securing my own financing at a low rate, I actually had a finance guy stop me and try to sell me the car companies plan that was 2% more expensive. When he finished his pitch I just stared at him for a second (in silence) then asked, “Do people actually say yes to that?” To which HE said, “sometimes.” Ugh…

  8. Azar says:

    Remarkably hilarious.

    The one thing I did the last time I bought a car was bring a former car salesperson (also a relative) with me – and the process was so unbelievably painless that I graciously tipped her.

  9. Layne says:

    “Do people actually say yes to that?” To which HE said, “sometimes.” Ugh…

    ZING! That is a great comeback. I’ll have to try that out sometime.

  10. Andrea W. says:

    I’m liking the D3T nickname, although maybe it should be 3DT? Anway, I’ll never forget looking for a car when I was like 20 and couldn’t get a salesman to even talk to me let alone try and sell me something. When my Dad showed up to help me, they were all over us. Grrrr.

  11. Ben Pratt says:

    We bought our used Japanese-made van at a dealership for a domestic make. The listed price and condition were right, but man, trying to negotiate with the fellow was more than useless.

    “So we’re not really interested at that price.”

    “OK, so what monthly payment are you comfortable with?”

    “No, the monthly payment doesn’t matter. The total price is too high. Thanks, anyway”

    “Oh, I see! OK, we can just do a 60-month loan for $[the same price we’d rejected] instead of a 36-month loan, and let’s see here–”

    “No, you’re still talking about the monthly payment. Forget that, and let’s talk about a lower total price. For example, we’ll pay $[a fair price] for the van.”

    “Gotcha. So let’s try $[the original price] over 72 months and see what the monthly payment is. Wow! This is going to be low!”

    We did end up getting a lower price, and we paid it off in a year, but we could have done better if we’d leveraged the knowledge we had from CARFAX that they had paid $[3/4 the original price] to pick up the van at auction. Next time we meet, car salesman, *we* will have the last laugh! NEXT TIME!

  12. Davis says:

    Alesa, my prayers are with you.

    Troy, I’m sorry, but things are never going to get better for your kind until you do something about your car-selling cousins.

    Jake, welcome. I love that you’ve pulled the curtain back on that terrible process. It made me hate them even more.

    Ang, in their defense, you were probably browsing 3 miles away with binoculars.

    Ben, the monthly payment thing killed me, too. It obviously must work, though, or they wouldn’t try it as much as they do.

  13. Spence says:

    First post to D3T…have enjoyed many previous posts.

    Welcome back to Utah.

    Love and share your frustration for “cruisers” in the left lane. The rationale that because one is traveling in excess of the speed limit and therefore is entitled to the left lane, is ignorant to the real name and definition of the left lane. It is the passing lane, not the “fast” lane. Therefore, though obstinately traveling (and certainly not passing) at 75 mph in the “fast” lane may make the ignorant feel satisfied, my passing on the right at 90 mph by defnition means that said cruiser is ignorantly and illegaly in the WRONG lane. The right lane for the non-passer is the RIGHT lane…though I guess my 90 mph speeds are illegal as well.

    Take care.

  14. Jaron says:

    I once had the joy of accompanying a wealthy friend on a car purchase. We were both kids who were recently returned from the mission. The salesman wasn’t immediately interested in us, given that we were on a luxury lot. Finally my friend worked hard enough to get their attention and we took the car for a test drive. Being a recently returned missionary with nothing else to do, he had completed extensive research on the vehicle. He had already made up his mind that he wanted to buy it, and the salesman couldn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know.

    When we returned to the dealership the issue of pricing and purchasing came up. The salesman was doubtful about my friend’s ability to realistically purchase the car, and he immediately went to the “monthly payment” discussion and a lengthy lecture on credit worthiness, etc… My friend simply offered 5% below the MSRP for a fully loaded model, and said he would pay cash right then and there, no financing. He logged in to his bank account online to show them that the funds were available, and they let him write a check and walk away with the car with no additional maneuvering. Oh to be the son of a millionaire…

  15. Troy says:

    Alesa, no need to apologize, it’s an inside joke here on D3T. I was playing off my caricature. I’m not really that defensive. Though I do like quoting Ice Cube to sound tough.

    http://www.dontdodumbthings.com/2010/07/26/the-s-word-2/

    I know two guys named “Spence” that might post on here, and judging by the driving descriptions, “Spence S” is the obvious choice.

    Andrea, we can’t name it 3DT because DT is Davis’ initials and that would just go to his head.

  16. Christian says:

    Reba and I just went through this with our minivan. The used car salesman stereotypes are all true. I’m a salesperson and I hate dealing with salespeople, but buying a car is easily my least favorite thing to do.

    The “what do you want your monthly payment to be” question kills me. Our guy wouldn’t give that one up either. They think we’re so stupid. And apparently most of us are, because it must work enough to make it worthwhile for them to keep doing.

    Jake, Azar, Spence, Welcome. Great work on D3T, Jake.

  17. Oh my gosh, dying over the Civic and t-ball comments from both of you. Your t-ball sitch reminds me of a Jamie Kennedy Experiment episode where he bullies his son Tommy on his “special day with a major league team.” Anyone? “I’m sorry I throw the ball like a girl named Tammy.”

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