Shopping for a New Car with an Old Lady.


I went shopping for a new car with an old lady. My mother.

Our first stop was Honda on Santa Monica Blvd. A kindly, older salesman, who couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, approached us. We asked him about the Civic and he let us go for a test drive.

With my mom at the wheel, and me in the passenger seat, the old salesman sat in back and said little or nothing about the car. His only words were, “Turn left” and “Turn right on 11th”.

When we got back to his office, he made a feeble attempt to negotiate. We were not going to put down more than $2000 and wanted payments under $180.

The negotiations ended, quite cordially, right there and we walked out.

We went over to Hyundai in Van Nuys where the salesman stand around a lot and my Mom has significant trouble pronouncing the brand name. A nice guy named Steve said he had more cars for us to see in a lot up the road. We took a ride with him and when we got to the storage lot, it was padlocked, so we drove back to the dealership and he let us out and we said good-bye and thanks.

At Galpin Mazda, we were scheduled for a 1pm appointment, but upon our arrival the salesman was not there. The receptionist said, “He has family trouble today”. So someone else, with a barely audible name, showed us the Mazda 3: sedan and hatchback.

Here is where I, a Mazda 3 owner, stepped in and started pointing out the various features to my mom. The salesman didn’t say much of anything. I showed her the Bluetooth, the storage, the seats, the great cup holders. The salesman smiled.

We wanted to know about the advertised internet deal of $169 a month with $1700 down. “Oh, that is for the iSport not the iSport3. With Bluetooth, the payments will be around $190, not including tax.”

He wrote down some figures and we put it into a bag and walked out.

No salesman seemed to really care about his cars or his prospective buyer. Maybe selling cars is like having sex. The salesman needs to get excited. He must anticipate a climax.

Why else does the sight of an elderly car buyer completely cause otherwise aggressive, eager and hard-driving salesman to lose interest?

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