Here a Car, There a Car. . . .

Recently, My Favorite Domer (AKA my son) permitted me to go car-shopping with him.

His decision, I’m sure, came after a frustrating day where he found:

  • Car salesmen who refused to take his search seriously.
  • Salesmen who ignored him on the lot.
  • Salesmen who tried to sell him more vehicle than he needed.
  • Salesmen who tried to charge him more than he wanted to pay.

Part of me misses the buying experience Saturn dealerships used to offer. No haggling. No gimmicks.

Just pay the sticker price and take the car.

How refreshing!

But Domer was born too late for that, so he had to suffer the joys of “search and wheedle.”

And he wanted me along for the ride.

He insisted he wouldn’t buy from any place where he had to go inside and hunt down a salesman.

“If they don’t want to try to sell, then they haven’t earned my business,” he said.

Okay. Works for me.

The first place we went, we scoured the lot peeking into car windows and examining stickers.

No salesman (or woman) approached us.

I suggested going inside. Domer didn’t want to, but we did.

Walked the entire length of the showroom, nodding at the salespeople sitting alone in their cubicles.

Not a one spoke to us!

Puzzled, we left.

The next place wasn’t much better.

This salesman approached us, made a few cursory remarks, learned Domer wasn’t a big spender and pretty much sent us on our way.

What’s going on here, I wondered.

At the third dealership, no sooner had we parked my car when a young, energetic, pretty sales girl welcomed us, introduced herself, and promptly started showing us cars.

In Domer’s price range. With the specs he’d outlined.

And if she’d had the car he wanted, she’d have made herself a sale.

The next day we traveled far out of town to a dealership where Domer immediately found “the car.”

It was beautiful, shiny, sleek, and looked perfect for him.

After driving it, we sat down with the salesman to crunch some numbers.

Now Domer majored in Finance. He loves numbers.

But I see figures, and my eyes glaze over and I zone out.

When the bottom line total appeared, Domer shook his head.

Too much, he insisted.

The sales manager stepped in, offering a lease.

Domer couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Finally, we found another dealership with another female sales rep. And while they didn’t have the car Domer wanted on their lot, she and the sales manager worked to get a fair price both they and Domer could live with.

And they searched around until they found the right car for Domer.

It was in Ohio.

He drove it off the lot Fourth of July weekend.

Now, if he’d just stop calling it a cash drain!

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21 thoughts on “Here a Car, There a Car. . . .

  1. Car shopping is such hard work, and Domer was right about waiting to find someone who wanted his business. Do you know that when my parents recently bought a Honda Pilot the salesman came to their house to put the seats back in the trade in van for them and after they bought the car he came back over to program the garage door opener for them. No surprise that he is the dealerships top salesman.
    I’m glad Domer found his car. Those first bills are a bit of a shocker. Hope the car is very good to him.

    • Thanks, Kb. Your parents’ salesman sounds like a gem — sad that more in his profession don’t take note of what it takes to be so successful. Wow, two trips out to a customer’s house? Way over and beyond what anybody would expect, but oh so appreciated, I’m sure!

    • Actually, I think it was his professors who taught him right, Monica. I’ll take a bit of the credit for raising him frugally, though! Yes, it’s super important, when making a BIG purchase, to find something you like that’s in your price range. Suffering through buyer’s remorse isn’t something I’d wish on anybody!

  2. And hooray for him, turning on his heels and leaving at the very suggestion of “lease”. That’s what makes the most money for the dealership – that’s how they make their money. Well, that and the financing.

    I’m so glad he found the right car. It can be done, but it takes some patience and determination. I was very lucky when I bought Princess. For one of the few times in my life I knew someone who knew someone, and he called the dealership ahead of time to tell them I was coming. There was no foolishness whatsoever. I got the car for the sticker price, but the dealership threw in tax, title, license, window tinting, an “interior package” with better floor mats and such, and an extra year on the free service. I might as well have won the lottery!

    Many happy miles to Domer! There’s just nothing more fun than a new car!

    • What a good experience you had, Linda — yes, I do believe who-you-know helps when making major purchases like a car. Sounds like you got a great deal!

      That’s just what Domer said about leasing — no way! And the guy still insisted on talking to us about it, despite my having shared my own horrid experience with a lease back in the ’80s. Talk about stubborn!

      I’m like you in loving having a new car. The smell, the shine, the learning what’s where. . . . Thus far, Domer is looking on it as a necessary evil. Perhaps time will change his mind.

  3. Car shopping is like shopping for a swim suit – arrrrrrgh. Glad he found a winner – and isn’t it another example of the benefits of internet? The playing field is so much broader.

    • You’re right, Barb — the playing field is broader. Not only that, but the sales folks are aware that potential buyers know how much car they can expect to get for the amount of money they’re willing to part with. And Domer was fanatical about getting a “bargain”!!

  4. Congrats on the car purchase!

    I’m shocked at the sales people. You should browse in Phoenix – the sales people stand outside the buildings and as soon as your front tires hit the lot, they descend upon you :) The last couple cars we bought, we did through Costco’s auto buying program. We told them what we wanted and they directed us to the nearest dealership with that car. The internet sales manager showed us the pricing sheet and that was it. I can see his point on expecting the sales person to approach him. They earn commission on the sale, so it’s a reasonable expectation.

    I’m glad Domer didn’t take the lease. We did that until I convinced my husband that it was dumb. He’s in total agreement now (both vehicles are paid off.) I’m glad he was able to be strong and not buy more car than he needed. It is a big expense, but it’s necessary (and soooo nice when it’s paid off)!

    • Thanks for reinforcing the message not to take a lease, Janna. I can’t believe the guy was adamant about discussing it in the first place, not after I’d indicated I had a horrid experience with leasing and would never consider it again!

      Your car people sound more reasonable than the ones we encountered. That’s kind of what I’m used to, too (being pounced upon before you even put your car in Park!). That’s why I persuaded Domer to let me accompany him. I wanted to see for myself whether he was doing something inadvertently to keep them away (he wasn’t). Maybe they’d all reached their quotas for the month?!!

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  6. –We just went car shopping w/ my son. It was FUN! He finally found a cool jeep w/ low miles…. Mr. Liverpool did most of the talking…because they didn’t take my son too seriously. OR me!

    Congrats on the wheels! x

    • Kinda wish you’d let us borrow Mr. Liverpool ‘cos they didn’t seem to want to deal with me, either, heehee! Of course, Domer the finance major did the bulk of the “wheeling and dealing” — they probably didn’t like that either, but they wanted to make a sale. I know your son is going to love his Jeep!!

  7. My oldest son recently bought a vehicle for the first time too. He first went to the local Chevy dealer nearest our home. A salesman of an older generation pretty much blew him off too when he learned my son had a spending limit. Next stop was another Chevy dealer a bit further from home. A salesman there gave him the attention he needed, took him seriously, found him the vehicle he was looking for and gave him a deal he couldn’t pass up.

    I’m in the market for a new car within the next few months. I will definitely start my search at the dealership where my son was so well taken care of.

    I guess our kids have to have these kinds of life experiences as they enter the “real” world. It will definitely help them learn that not everyone out there is a “good guy.”

    • Yes, but as a mom, it’s so hard to feel like I’m throwing him to the wolves, ha! I’m glad your son had a good experience at the second stop; the question is, Why do any dealers feel they can turn away legitimate business? I mean, don’t they know people (especially tech-savvy kids) are quick to broadcast mistreatment on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and it’s pretty hard to overcome unhappy word-of-mouth?!

  8. I just went car shopping with my son in May. I was great to share that with my son. I really made us…closer if that is possible. It was a little stressful but in the end…my son got a fantastic deal. These car dealers ARE wolves!!!! But a mama bear is far more dangerous!!!! LOL!

    • You’re so right about “beware the mama bear,” Tanya!! Car-shopping is an experience all of us eventually have to endure. Would that dealers didn’t try their hardest to make it unpleasant!! By the time you get done listening to all those figures (and trying to see if any of them make sense) your head is swimming!

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