Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

Awhile back, we bought a new car. Now, let me start by saying I know that there are completely decent car lots and totally reputable salespeople out there…
But…to me buying a car is like a sad, sweaty dance.
I’m not mechanical and I don’t know a lot about engines and that makes me feel really vulnerable at a car dealership. (MAN! Both of those things were hard to admit!)
But, I needed transportation so we stepped on the dance floor.
It was on a Saturday afternoon, we were just starting to “look around” we weren’t in a hurry, we weren’t really planning on spending 6 hours in a car lot and leaving with a sweet new ride.
Unsuspecting, we parked Diana’s car and walked up to the big glass building. We were immediately and aggressively greeted by a true sales force. It was like a greyhound race and we were the little mechanical rabbit.
One out of breath guy made it to us first. He looked a lot like an early Matlock Andy Griffith, so I immediately trusted him. He shook our hands and proceeded to become the best friend that we never knew we had, and who we haven’t seen since. He was a really nice man who smelled like Stetson cologne and cigarettes.
BUT, wait…here’s a total shocker…Some salesmen tell you what you want to hear.
There is an art to the deal.
They pay attention and they tailor the pitch to your person.
Im easily deceived.
I’m quick to get snookered.
Anytime I have made a major purchase, the tone and talk totally change once they find out that I work at a church. They suddenly become very religious. They tell me about their church attendance or confirmation. They start using christianese words like “blessed”.
I get it, They are simply trying to communicate “See, I’m just like you!! You can trust me!”
Some salespeople play to your base wants and desires, a sketchy salesman can figure out quickly what and who you like and what and who you don’t like and they pluck those prejudices like a well tuned banjo.
But I digress…
Once we took the car for a test drive around the well lit parking lot and admitted our interest, THAT is when the dance REALLY started…
“Let me check with my manager and see what we can do for you.”
We dance around a bit, We are not willing to commit.
He runs his fingers through his heavily gelled hair and says…
“Let me check with our finance guy and see what we can do for you.”
We dance around more and We just don’t know.
He wipes the sweat off his upper lip and says…
“Let me check with the person who restocks the vending machine and see what we can do for you.”
We eventually get lulled into paying more than the original ticket price…
I have never been accused of being a shrewd businessman.
Then we get led into the drab finance office to work out the details. It is a very impersonal little office space, I think it is shared by 27 people. There is a plastic trophy in the corner for “highest volume of customer satisfaction per capita in district 8”, that is pretty impressive…makes me want to trust them.
The finance guy walks in, he looks like an old school televangelist. He has a slow southern drawl, “wellll, Mister and Missus Lang, let’s get yeewww the best possible payment plan…” this will prove to be an unkept campaign promise.
We end up signing and initialing 437 pieces of paper. We learn that additional services and fees (like windshield wipers) can cause your payment to inflate like a hot air balloon…awesome…wow.
I left the room feeling like I’d been repeatedly kicked in the groin, I looked at my wife, she had a look on her face like she had just ate some bad Chinese food.
We consoled ourselves with the fact that along with our sweet new ride, we did get a free TV AND a turkey (yup, an actual frozen 18 pound turkey).

THEN…after owning my car for a while I got to deal with the service department. I have to schedule the first oil change, which is supposed to be free. I go in early in the morning and I’m confronted by a small army of shiny people. They carry clipboards and evidently drink lots of strong coffee. They promise to get me out in about 15 minutes…another unkept campaign promise.
2 hours later, a smiling man saunters up and the conversation goes like this:
Smiley service guy: “Okay Mr. Lang, that oil change today will only be $42.97 and we throw in our mediocre car wash for free!”
Me: “but, I thought I got 5 free oil changes?!”
Smiley service guy: “Sure you do, but those are only good on Tuesdays from 8:46 am until 8:53 during a solar equinox…and just a heads up, the next time you will definitely need to replace SOMETHING!”
Me: “But, the car is brand new…”
Smiley service guy: “Mmptgh….” (mumbles something then walks off without ever losing the huge smile.)
Another disturbing thing: after going to the service department the first time, I turned on the AC on and the car suspiciously smelled like cat pee. It still lingers. I got a Carolina Panthers air freshener to hang from my rear view mirror, but now the car just smells like a cat peed on a gardenia bush.

All that said, it REALLY is a sweet ride, I love my new car. I can reach the pedals and it has great windshield wipers.


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