Sometimes you just shoot yourself in the foot.

Lisa and I spent several hours at a car dealer this evening, in a huge waste of everyone’s time.   I hadn’t planned for it to be a waste of time.   If they had what I was looking for and we could come to an agreement on price, I was ready to buy.   Unfortunately (or maybe not, for me), the car dealer games cost them a sale.

The first price they came up with — after leaving us cooling our heels for a bit too long — was, of course, ridiculous.   Less than blue book trade value for my current truck against retail for the new one.   Now my ’03 Sport Trac is a pretty desirable model in great shape with low mileage, good tires and a nice aftermarket in-dash nav system and backup camera.   It’s going to sell quickly and without a lot of time or money spent cleaning it up.  We politely declined, and it was time for Round 2.   I told the guy we were several thousand dollars apart, and gave him a number I thought was more fair…   from which Lisa then suggested we trim another couple thousand.   Half an hour or so later, we get the answer; it’s still a couple thousand higher than Lisa’s figure.

By this time I’d had enough time to think about what we were doing about that I had pretty much talked myself out of buying that truck — at any price. It lacked a few options I really wanted, and had a few I specifically did not want.   By the time we finally decided we were done and asked for the keys to my truck (which had disappeared, of course)   the sales manager made a last ditch effort to get us to take it for a thousand under even Lisa’s number, which I thought was pretty low anyway.   Sorry, too late.

If we’d been able to dispense with the idiotic games, if we hadn’t been left waiting on negotiations for so bloody long, we might have considered taking a truck home with us.   The guy could have come up with an offer a thousand or even two higher than their last offer, right off the bat, and we might have done the deal.   Maybe.   I would have regretted it later, but they’d have made a sale, and it still was a very nice truck.   Problem was, they felt the need to play the kind of stupid games that have given car dealers a bad name.   And we’ve seen it all before and recognize all of it for the nonsense it is:

  • “I’m going to lowball you and see if you’re stupid enough to fall for it.”   No, we’re not stupid – and this is not an impulse purchase.
  • “I have to run this past my manager.”   Yeah, right.   If you can’t make a deal, then kindly get out of my way and get me someone who can.
  • “This truck is going out on a dealer trade so we’re not supposed to sell it to you…   but we will, but you have to buy it tonight or it will be gone in the morning.”   Sorry, not buying that story.   You’re either lying to me, or reneging on another deal.   Either one is a very unattractive trait in a dealer.
  • “Oh, Ford financing is expensive, we’ll hook you up with a great loan rate, probably under 6%.”   Um.   ‘Scuse me?   Ford was at that time offering 0% financing for 60 months, PLUS $1000 cash allowance, PLUS a five-year extended powertrain warranty.   What, you didn’t know about that?   You’re supposed to be a Ford salesman and you are unaware of that?   Wait, this is another test to see if we’re stupid, right?

We walked in around 4 PM and didn’t get out of there until well after 7.   By that time I was tired and hungry, Lisa was about ready to fall over, and they had managed to convince me not to buy the very nice truck we’d driven.   And quite frankly, the whole experience pushed them down a couple of notches on my list of places I would buy from.

I’m going to give the next guy a 2-minute rundown of the stuff I am no longer willing to put up with, under any circumstances, and see if he still wants to deal.   No running off to the manager — if I’m in a chair more than 5 minutes without a warm body with a number on the other side of the desk, I’m out the door.   Make a deal or find me someone who can.   I don’t pay sticker price, I don’t take lowball trade offers, and please don’t piss on my foot and tell me it’s raining.