Encounter with an Honest Car Salesman

I went to a car dealership today to try to trade in my car and downsize to something simpler. Downsize the payment, downsize the gas consumption, and just downsize another piece of my life to make it a little bit easier.

I walked into the dealership and shook hands with an older gentleman, who immediately informed me that he had been working there for 15 years and he had been in this line of work for 33 years. He asked for my name, asked if I had ever purchased a car there before (I had), and he looked up the salesperson that had previously helped me at that dealership 12 years ago.

I cringed. That salesperson was still there. I remember salesperson #1 very well because he did not show me the level of respect that he should have. At the time, I was looking to purchase a brand new car and my boyfriend (my now husband) was with me, and he had no part in the purchase of the car. He was just there to be with me. Salesperson #1 kept directing any conversation about the car and finances toward my boyfriend. My boyfriend even said “I am not paying for this car at all, it’s all her.” And he just kept talking to “the man”.

Salesperson #1 kept me waiting for long periods of time while he would go into the back to “check on something” with numbers. He tried to tell me that my payment would have to be one amount when I definitely knew that it was higher than it needed to be. I finally told him I would have to switch to a lower priced model or look elsewhere. He came around and got me into the car that I wanted for the price that I wanted. I have not been a fan of car shopping since then.

Salesperson #1 was not impossible, but he was a challenge. Car salesmen have a reputation for a reason, right? And he seemed to live up to the stereotype. But today, I was not walking into the dealership with a big fight in me. I just wanted to simplify things.

Luckily, salesperson #1 was not available. I was so relieved that I was going to stick with salesperson #2.

I immediately informed salesperson #2 that I wasn’t sure if we could make a deal work today due to the negative equity on my car. I did my homework in advance and handed him all of the numbers. He was impressed. I told him I didn’t want to waste his time, and I’d appreciate if he could just be up front with me if he couldn’t get it to work out right now.

We chatted as he entered numbers into the computer. He was a jovial guy. He put a list of used cars in front of me and started to using some selling techniques as I browsed the list. Before moving forward, I reiterated that I thought the negative equity could be an issue and agreed to get my car appraised before going any further in the process.

He left to have my car appraised, but he wasn’t gone long enough for it to have happened. He returned about two minutes later and flopped the keys down on the table as he spewed honest facts and figures and he had sad eyes. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

It took me a minute to realize that he was  doing exactly as I had asked. He couldn’t make it work, so he wasn’t wasting time with the appraisal, he knew what the outcome would be after all of his experience and the numbers I had given him.  The negative equity would be a problem.

I shook his hand and thanked him. It didn’t work out the way that I hoped, but I still have my nice car that I wasn’t excited about parting with right now. I also still have a hefty monthly payment (sigh).

I drove away numb and wondering why I couldn’t make this one thing work, but very appreciative that he spared me hours of sitting in the dealership (like I’ve done in the past) only to have the same outcome. All I could think is that maybe there is a reason and it’s just not obvious yet. Or maybe there’s no reason at all. Maybe sometimes things just don’t work out.

What I did learn today is that I encountered an honest car salesmen. I asked for honesty and he gave it to me. That doesn’t mean I had to like it.

Stifle Me Not

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