Friday, January 23, 2009

The Story of Mr. & Mrs. Stickgrappler (suckas) vs. the Slick Car Salesman on Superbowl Sunday

Couldn't leave well enough alone.


Remember that phrase, it will come up later.

As this year's football playoffs ended and the Superbowl approaches, I'm reminded of what happened last year on Superbowl Sunday. I shall entertain you with the story of my wife, Mrs. Stickgrappler, and I , Mr. Stickgrappler, going to shop for a car.

They were having a 0% interest financing deal going on... you know the type, there will be no interest on the loan, but you must make the minimum monthly payments for 3 years. What that means is us having to pay a higher monthly payment, but the tradeoff is our loan is interest free, which most loans, you end up paying principal AND interest. Or you can choose to decline that and get $1,000 back, IIRC, those were the terms of the deal. The promotional was due to end the day after Superbowl Sunday.

Mrs. Stickgrappler and I went to the nearest dealership. Unbeknownst to me, the nearest dealership recently split into 2 locations: 1 for used/pre-owned certified cars and the other for brand new cars. I didn't do my homework to check on the dealership, thinking it's the same one. This was a popular brandname and I didn't think the dealership would close. I just didn't foresee them splitting their products to 2 locations.

We go in and there was no one in there. Granted it was a Sunday, a few hours before the Superbowl, but we expected at least some customers in the dealership. We were greeted by a slick salesman. He was wearing jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and sneakers. Immediatedly both my wife and my 'radars' went off. DING! DING! DING! DING! Something's amiss here. We just couldn't place it at the time.

Standard opening lines from a slick salesman: How are you folks today? How may I help you? Looking for a used car?

We said, "No. We are looking to buy a new car." The slick salesman's eyes lit up. You can see the $$$ popping up over his head and hear the cash register open... CHA CHING! He was polite and informed us that the dealership split into 2... the new cars are in the other showroom. All along he's making polite conversations, tentatively probing us with his questions and statements... seeing what reactions he can elicit. He was working us like a fisherman reeling in the big one.

He drove us over to the new showroom. My wife inquired about the promotion going on. He said there was no promotion going on. My wife was adamant and said her coworker referred her to that dealership and that there was a promotion going on. He then said, "Oh wait. I think your friend got it wrong. That deal is only for select vehicles. It's mainly for the SUV's or Pickup trucks and not for the car you want." My wife mumbled under her breath saying she knows there is some deal going on.

We get to the other showroom, and it was jammed-packed with customers and windowshoppers. The salesmen were all wearing suits and ties. Our radars went off again. DING! DING! DING! Mrs. Stickgrappler glares at me with the "It's all your fault!" look.

We were in there to buy a car, and being helped by this nice salesman so we will stick with him. He takes us to another floor, he makes conversation explaining how the dealership was successful and needed to expand, how everyone who lives in the area, buy cars from him and the dealership. We look over a few, and find the model we want. We sat inside and the slick salesman pointed out all the bells and whistles of the car. We were in love with it.

The slick salesman drives us back to his location. While driving back, he casually asks us what we were willing to pay for our dream car. He kind of steered us towards a price, after we saw the sticker price. His price was a round even number a few hundred dollars less than the sticker price. My wife mentions that she checked a website which had a price even cheaper than the sticker price. The slick salesman says that can't be. Perhaps the site didn't have all the features that we wanted. Perhaps it was a bait and switch operation. Be that as it may, we were getting less and less enamored of buying a new car and getting a bitter taste in our mouths.

We had discussed buying a new car for a few months already... I felt we could've waited maybe 1 more year. But after all discussions, we agreed, we would buy a car that day (which coincided with the Superbowl).

We get back, sit down, and start the paperwork and haggling. My wife and I expected to be told a price, and we pay it, but we ask for freebies like mats, etc. The slick salesman said no freebies, said no car dealer sells below cost, but he was willing to sell it to us a few hundred below cost. My wife played a little hardball knowing that the price he quoted as the cost and the price he was willing to let us have it, despite it being below cost, was still a few hundred north of the real bottomline.

Anyway, he says he has to do a credit check, leaves us in his cubicle. Grabs his boss and they make some noise/commotion in the back. He comes back and says his boss wasn't happy about the price we were willing to pay and as if on cue, his boss walks behind us past his cubicle and says, "You're giving the car away!" as if to reinforce/sell us on what a bargain price we are paying for it and that we are pulling a fast one on them.

So to sum up:


    no freebie mats
    no 0% interest financing
    no $1000 cash back


We were willing or more likely really wanted to buy a car that day.

I was about to sign paperwork and my wife says she doesn't like the color we saw. She wanted a different color. The slick salesman all of a sudden had a scowl. I'm sure he heard in the back of his mind as I did, prior to my wife requesting a different color, Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross -- "ABC - A - Always, B - Be, C - Closing."

He said he couldn't get a different color. My wife said in the showroom you said you could. He says my wife's choice of color was bad. The color in the showroom we saw was good. At that point, it sunk in, he wanted to sell us the floor model. Our heads started to spin. We whispered to each other that somethng was not right. We started to get a scowl on our faces now. His politeness was gone. He was close in getting me to sign off the paperwork. Then he makes a commotion, gets up and leaves, saying he will check for the color as he senses we were going to walk on me. He spent about 2 hours with us. He then says, he could give us free mats and get us the color. The time he spent to put on the show for us, made us reflect on what was going on.

He says he would concede all those 'unreasonable' things my wife asked for. I had pen in hand, my wife seemed happy, and the slick salesman, couldn't leave well enough alone.

"How about a tip? Don't you think I deserve a tip, Mr. Stickgrappler?" I was dumbfounded. My wife didn't hear him. I almost signed the paperwork and I asked my wife if she heard him. I looked at him again. He says he has 6 children, he gave us all we requested, he got us a price that was below cost, he felt he should get a tip.

My wife and I dropped the pen and flat out said, "No. We do not want to buy a car from you." His head was blowing off steam at this point. He tried to maintain his cool and asked, "Why not? Was it the tip? Sorry about that, I felt I was entitled. You can ignore my request then."

Couldn't leave well enough alone.


The former suckas known as Mr. & Mrs. Stickgrappler walked out on the Slick Salesman on Superbowl Sunday. The next day, my wife discussed the events with her co-worker and there was a promotion going on. The Salesman was going to get the $1000 that was really ours, using that, he was going to cover the costs of the freebies and the below cost price he quoted... after all that, he would've netted about $400 probably. Easy scam job there. Almost took another sucka to the cleaners.

Here ends this Story. There are some lessons to be learned in this story: don't walk all over customers to see how much you could get away with. If your gut and radar is going off, listen to it. Do not turn a deaf ear to your intuition/feelings. If something feels wrong, get out of Dodge. Don't hang around.

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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps