Dear Crabby, How Do I Avoid Car Sales Tactics?

Dear Crabby,

I need to buy a new car, but I can’t stand the salespeople at the car lot.  How can I find a decent car and avoid the high-pressure sales tactics?

Sincerely, Straight-Talking Steve

Dear Straight-Talking Steve,

I know what you mean about those car salesmen and their high-power sales pitches.  I hate them too.  I remember looking at a vehicle with Mrs. Crabby one year during the “Labor Day Sales Event” at a nearby dealership.  This salesman walked passed us quickly and shouted, “You have five minutes to lose five G’s!!!”  I guess he was referring to the fact that the sale was supposed to end by six o’clock and it was five minutes till.  Mrs. Crabby was so irritated by the man’s harsh tactics that she said she wouldn’t want a vehicle from him if it was free at that point, so we turned around and walked away.  One other year the missus and I had finally decided on a car that we liked.  We agreed to the color, the style, and the payments, and we were ready to drive it away.  I briskly took the keys from the salesman and told the wife that I should drive the new car home.  I was secretly thinking that I didn’t want anyone to scratch or ding our new little investment on the first day.  I hopped in the car and confidently backed out straight as an arrow – straight into the large electrical pole behind me!  I had owned the car for all of two minutes and I crunched the rear end!  The salesman was nice enough to pull it around to the bump shop for me so we could arrange for the repairs on our now eight minute old “new car.”  So, suffice it to say, I know all about those funny feelings we all get while entering a car dealership and anticipating the cost or the pressure from such a huge purchase.  This feeling alone has caused me to purchase a few used vehicles in my life as well.  Those were not always great experiences either; one was a lemon made to look good for the test drive, and the other, which was owned by an older woman who didn’t believe in rolling her window down, had a window that was seized up and never did open.  The things I have grown to like about car dealerships are the perks of the free shuttle ride and, of course, the free coffee and donuts in the waiting room.  Although I will tell you that one of my most embarrassing moments came out of one of those experiences.  I had just dropped my Olds off for some routine maintenance and the serviceman told me to wait by the door for the shuttle driver to return.  He mentioned that he was an older, white-haired gentleman that would be glad to take me where I needed to go.  After waiting for about five minutes, a white-haired man walked up and said hello, so I nodded and grabbed my things.  He walked out the door towards a Suburban and I began some small talk.  I asked how he was doing and if he thought it was going to rain or not that day.  He looked at me funny as he got in the driver’s door and I opened the passenger door.  As I went to get in he said, “No, no…” and seeing his personal things in the seat, I cut him off and said, “Oh!  I understand.  I’ll sit in the back.”  I shut the door and hopped in the back seat.  I was surprised to see a mess there too.  He had personal items all over this vehicle.  I was apalled at how he was using this shuttle thing to his advantage, but I tried to ignore it and simply asked him to take me to the local cafe down the road.  Just then he very sternly said, “I am not a shuttle driver.  Get out of my vehicle!”  All of the sudden, I put it all together and realized that I had confused the whole situation.  I apologized profusely and returned to the waiting room.  Like other things in life, sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  I have found that I like my local dealership better than any other alternatives.  At my age, I don’t get too many high-pressure sales pitches anymore.  I tell them what I am looking for, and they find me what I want.  End of story.  Good luck and pay attention to those shuttle guys!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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