Monday, July 20, 2009

HOB and Betty's Big Adventure: Car Shopping Continues.

It was fairly late when we left the very calm/nearly comatose man at the VW dealership, but we stopped by the Honda dealership on a lark and were greeted by a very nice guy who handed us off to another very nice guy who showed us some cars. There was no sales job, no high pressure tactics, no one took our name and number. We just looked and when it was time to go, we left with a handshake and a smile.

Driving home, we commented how car-buying and car sales people had certainly changed over the years. Maybe, we surmised, the industry had finally gotten the message that high pressure tactics didn't work anymore. We were ready for this new, civilized, enlightened world. Yee-Haw.

Then. The Next Day. We Entered Mitty's World.

Despite the good experience we had with the first Honda dealership, we decided to go visit the one closer to us. We figured it would be more convenient and we wanted to see if the prices were about the same.

Driving into the dealership, we spied at least eight hungry car salesmen perched at the front entrance, all in white shirts. They were the sea gulls. We were the fish. I clutched my notebook, full of my facts and figures and we started for the door.

We decided to not walk straight through them, but to go off to the side a bit. There, we were met by a man in a blue shirt who introduced himself and wanted to know what we were interested in. He said he was the sales manager and said he would find a salesman who "was a good fit" for us. Now, the man had talked to us for fifteen seconds, so I wasn't quite sure what he meant by "a good fit," but soon, out came Mitty, a middle-aged white guy (good fit, hummmmm) with a oddly weathered face to shake our hands and look us in the eye. Mitty could have easily been one of the guys on "The Deadliest Catch."

"Got enough paper in that notebook?" he said.

Making Fun of Betty's Notebook: Strike One.

Though there were 500 cars surrounding us, Mitty led us straight to a desk where he grilled us about the other makes and models other than Honda we were considering. Then he asked, "So do you want the lowest priced car or the most car for your money?" We smiled politely, but did not answer. He asked again. "Both," I said. Believe it or not, he asked again.

"Do you want the lowest priced car or the most car for your money?"

Needlessly repeating stupid question: Strike Two.

I wanted to show him how ridiculous this question was, so I said, "How are we supposed to answer that question? Are we supposed to say 'Oh yeah, I want the least car for my money?' I mean, really, what do you expect us to answer?"

HOB was smirking at this point, knowing exactly what I am thinking. HOB knows I really have trouble with guys like Mitty and I think he actually enjoys watching the mouse being lowered into my cage.

Mitty ignores me, turns to his computer and goes to the exact web sites we have viewed at home. He delights in showing us reviews of the Honda we are interested in. He scrolls down, showing us the high ratings. I stop him at a low rating. "Look at that," I say. Mitty goes on to show me why the guy who wrote the review is an idiot. Mitty then commits himself to running down the Mazda 3, the other car I was thinking about.

At no time does Mitty take us anywhere near a car. Instead we are in the office, looking at web sites we have already seen. Then Mitty fulfills the stereotype of the car dealer completely when he asks if he can "...make it happen, will you make the deal today? Can we make this sale today?"

Now, HOB is incredibly patient during this whole process. He knows the game and just sits back watching it play out. I, on the other hand, grow impatient with Mitty. I shake my beloved notebook at him and say, "We've spent hours researching cars. Do we look like people who make rash decisions? Do we look like people who are in a hurry? Do we look like people who act on impulse?"

Mitty blinks and looks at HOB who sits patiently.

"Hell, I can put you in that car today. You could drive off the lot in a brand new car today."

Repetition of the word "today": Strike Three. (Let's face it, at this point it does not take much.)

Mitty leaves and I turn to HOB, announce the price at the other Honda place is about $150.00 higher and I am more than willing to pay it if I don't have to deal with Mitty any more.

Mitty sends in salesman number two.

"Are you here to rough us up?" I ask, now ready for my second mouse of the day. "Are you here to make fun of my notebook?"

No, he is here to repeat to us why buying a Mazda is a bad idea and to show us MORE web sites that we have already seen.

Mitty comes back in to sit with us. I am really ready to go but they are "printing some comparisons up" so we sit and wait for the comparisons.

Soon we are able to escape.

At no time did either of these guys ever physically show us a car or let us get near a car. What's up with that?

We left, went to the Mazda dealership, test drove a car and decided against it. (Just a little too boxy.)

Then we went back to the first Honda dealership, located our sales guy, who answered our questions thoroughly but made no attempt to coerce us or upsell in any way. We took a test drive, did a little wheeling/dealing, signed the papers and bought a new car.

Since we are participating in the "Cash for Clunkers" program, we can't take delivery until Friday. Then, I will be Sporty Spice, driving around in my new white Civic Coupe.

Mitty does have HOB's work phone number and I imagine he'll be calling soon after HOB gets to work today. On one hand, I wish I could be the one to give Mitty the news, but really, I think HOB will do a better job of it. He won't get sarcastic, for one thing. I won't be there when he talks to Mitty and although I KNOW this line will not be a part of the conversation, I like to imagine it will be:

HOB: "Hey, NOBODY makes fun of my wife's notebook, Buddy."


Anonymous said...

oh oh OH! congratulations!! i love my honda! i loved my white civic! i can't wait to meet whitey :)

Bossy Betty said...

UMMM....It can't wait to meet you either, but its name will NOT be "Whitey." I am working on a vanity plate now!


Anonymous said...

how about blanca?