Friday, June 25, 2010

and the survey says???

My fair lady and I both tag on a lot of miles driving for work. I used to drive my cars right into the graveyard at about 180,000 miles. But over the last decade, my slightly older body began to beg for a return to comfort when the odometers clicked out the first of 6 figures. Lady has also joined that club.

So recently we decided to investigate a new all wheel drive vehicle worthy of replacing her 5 year old chariot. I did all the shopping, as my limited patience for the car buying experience is unfortunately trumped by her zero tolerance.

And now that my inbox has received a post sale/customer satisfaction inquiry I am left to ponder how to reply. Will I be brutally honest? Or, will I be overly gentle?

We actually really like the car, and that single piece of truth will likely be the driving force behind my answers. However, instead of winding me through 25 or 30 questions about facility comfort and inventory, I would much prefer the more obvious. For example: Were the folks at the dealership consistently jovial and whimsical enough as they tried to screw you three different ways?

For as friendly as they can be, deception seems to be the prime agenda in these ‘negotiations’. I know that there are some programs and dealerships that participate in flat, and supposedly no nonsense deals. But, the way I view it, there are still 3 basic ways they can bleep you.

They can bleep you on the price of the car. They can bleep you on the trade-in. And they can go all out on the financing. Was it a coincidence that my sales rep forgot to put the rebate on the order as first written? Were the (never before noticed) dings on my used car, and the still original timing belt as costly a factor as they wanted me to believe?

Regarding the financing, I won’t even speculate. I know they were trying to f@#$ me there. ‘Impossible’ is what the twenty-eight year old finance expert told me of my interest rate petition. Impossible, I reminded him, is usually what some other people are already doing.

After finally coming down to earth, and falling $120 per month in payments, he tried hard to make it seem like he valued our relationship. Was that before he was trying to take me for a dim-wit or after realizing that he had still made a sale?

All this unfolded, as my son tested the limits of my serenity, as he himself tested every single button, keyboard and plasma screen they had on location.

However, the most amazing part occurred when I picked up my cell and advised my cleverly absent lady to come on down-that ‘the price is right’. I then recognized that I do have a bit of ‘happy idiot’ in me. And all was forgiven as we gleefully admired our new transport and paid close attention to the instructions (like we wouldn’t have figured it out anyway) for each new device on the dashboard.

I imagine it’s time for me to bestow some 8’s along the grid on their survey’s 1 to 10 rankings. ‘Probably will’ is the likely answer concerning whether or not I would consider doing business with them again. I say this with the awareness that when I now park my 4 year old, slightly dinged up and less advanced vehicle next to my bride’s new stallion, I hear a little birdie saying-you’re going to be f@#$ed again soon.

© 2010 Christopher’s Views


  1. Gracious: you've taken one of life's suckiest experiences and--gulp--gotten perspective on it. Well done.

    I'm still whimpering over what an a$$ the salesman of our last car was. Bleck.

  2. I love it, Christopher! We obviously think very much alike! Whatever, hope the new vehicle does what it's supposed to do. I have an OLD Nissan and it still runs like "almost new", but I'm too old to make a change now anyway! Have a wonderful weekend!


  3. Oh I do like your way of warming up to your subject. You don't rant, but you do get your point across in the most eloquent way.

    In my dealings with car salespeople, I have always started out with confidence, and only later realized that I probably got screwed. Now I let others take the depreciation hit, and the negotiations are much simpler.

    Enjoy your/her new wheels!

  4. Chris, this is hysterical! You've given me even more great reasons why I must NEVER accompany my husband on any car buying excursions!

  5. I hate car shopping. But I have to admit the last salesman we had was almost tolerable. Good post.

  6. Your thoughts and mine are too complex to consign to a filled-in bubble 1-5.

    do come read more about my new vehicle tomorrow :)

    Aloha from Hawaii

    Comfort Spiral

  7. *Jumps around* Oh, oh, I know! Be honest, but use every little-known-or-used phrase for the alluded to F&^%ing.

    "Your sales staff attempted to make away with my virtue, like a thief in the night..."

    "At the lurid jingle of coin the combined sales staff attempted to deprive me of my honor..."

    And so on. What? No? Shuck, but it would be so much fun. You could also attempt to give only passive aggressive answers, seeing as the entire survey is an exercise in passive-aggression anyway.

    Question: Was our sales staff courteous and informative?
    Answer: For a bunch of Highwaymen they were swell.

    Still no? Oh no one ever lets me have any fun. Sorry Christopher, I realize you don't know me well enough at this stage to know that I'm completely harmless but tend to leave crazed comments, particularly before noon when I'm likely to be quite caffeinated.

    I loved this post, because it is something to which we can all related. There is something tremendously insincere in the act of selling anything. I'd almost rather buy a car from an actual pick pocket, at least then it would be a closer-to-honest transaction.

    I hope your wife enjoys the new car, and I'm entirely with you, at twenty-five I drove cars almost into the asphalt, and declared myself "Not a car person, really."

    At forty-three if my cars suspension feels even slightly off I've suddenly become the road's version of the Princess and the Pea.

  8. Never mind, of course you get f . . . ed, that's life, or rather business.
    We don't expect anything else, do we? Provided we don't actually believe that salespeople are our best friends, have our wellbeing at heart or wouldn't dream of ripping us off, we'll be alright.

  9. Ha, ha, Land of Shrimp!! You've got the right perspective. Enjoyed this post, Christopher, and my feelings mirror most of the others. You did pretty good negotiating and should just now sit back and enjoy your new car! ~karen

  10. Car shopping is MADDENING! I often wonder how those salesmen can look themselves in the mirror each morning!

    Hi! I just wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting and following my blog. I really, really appreciate it! I'm following you back, cheers!!