Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trading Smarm for a Car

We are car shopping. I suppose if we could actually afford a nice car and it could be any kind of car we wanted it might be kind of fun, but as it stands, we have a very limited option. Ideally, we need a vehicle that can be towed 4-wheels down behind the bus with a tow bar instead of a dolly, one that will seat 6 passengers, an upright bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, sound system, and be lightweight.

No really. That's not asking too much, right?

In truth, our deceased minivan could do all of that if we packed very carefully, but it had to have a dolly, since it was a front-wheel drive automatic transmission. The dolly broke our first 3 days on the road. I don't want another dolly.

Then there is the issue of money. Car dealerships expect it, but we ain't got it. At least not as much as they will ask, and they don't believe us. They never do.

There is a reason used car salesmen get a bad reputation. Usually it isn't the salesmen, however, it's the "managers". After having a fairly disinterested lady "help" us at our first stop, she talked to the manager to see if they had anything else. He came to talk to us, (or is it smarm his smarminess at us?) pulled out the way cool, hip talk, ask if we would close a deal if he could get us the perfect car today, (what? you have a 2012 Honda Odyssey on the lot for $5??? Yes!), then said he'd be right back, *winked* at us, and left us sitting there without pointing us to the showers where we could scrub off the smarm. 

The next stop, (since the $5 Odyssey didn't surface), we saw a Suzuki XL with 3rd row seating, but it was likely not big enough, and it was a 2-wheel drive automatic, and only the 4x4 Suzuki XL7s can be towed without modification. We mentioned this, and it was mentioned to - you guessed it - the manager. He told us he is pretty sure you can tow it 4-wheels down. We told him we would not be getting it unless he could prove it could because we're pretty sure it can't, and pretty sure we don't feel like destroying a transmission on his pretty sure. Michael already researched which of the few automatics can, and which require a costly and possibly unreliable pump system installed. Same thing happened at a Kia location yesterday. Manager says he's pretty sure this 2-wheel drive automatic Kia can be towed 4-wheels down. Doesn't matter what car, they'll be "pretty sure" it can be towed. It could have "DO NOT TOW" written in red across the front and they'd still think it could if we needed one that could.

We considered going to Rocky's Autos after that, but I couldn't stomach any further used car salesman psychological ploys, and Rocky's brings out the best. If you so much as glance at any car in the lot, they drive it into their special "SOLD" location, start talking as though it's already yours, give your kids a hat, offer you a pop, go talk to the manager, come back for your "no way", wink, smile, go back to the manager, and if you still are not satisfied, bring that manager down with his hypnotizing charisma, as he uses your first name multiple times, promises to throw in the moon on the whole deal, and leaves you pleading for a pen to sign anywhere if they'll please let you and your sugared up, highly bored children out of the tiny box they stuck you in for the last 3 hours.

Lord, provide me with Your divine grace to not strangle the next manager who winks at me. I may not have the strength on my own. 

Oh, and Lord, please find us the right car, too. One we are more than pretty sure will meet our needs.


  1. It really winds me up when salesmen start to put on the pressure. It's immoral to try to sell something which is unsuitable for your needs; especially if it is going to cause financial hardship when it proves to be unable to do what they were 'pretty sure' it could!! Maybe you should ask for a written guarantee of towing ability (on business headed notepaper and signed by the 'pretty sure' manager - with name also clearly printed. Actually, just to be certain, have it witnessed and counter-signed by someone legal!)

  2. Sounds like a total nightmare...used car salesmen have a reputation for a reason.
    Tina @ Life is Good