Marianne postpones making big decisions as long as possible...but when she's determined to make one, watch out. When will male car salesmen learn?
A little history on my rickety old Saab.
My car needed a new alternator, among other things. I had to have AAA come to the house two weeks ago to jump start it.
After doing some homework on line, I narrowed my choices down to the VW Passat and the Subaru Outback. With all the trips I make to Vermont and Maine, I need something dependable in bad winter weather. I guess people worry about me.
Thursday I was to pick up one of My Guy Friends Who Insist on Helping Me Get a Good Deal to go kick tires in Brattleboro, VT. I went out and the damn thing was dead again. AAA came. No problem but Brattleboro had very little 2001 inventory. Two new Outback LTDs and one LLBean with 35K miles at a very high price.
I dropped off Peter, The Adviser, and figured I’d go to Northampton by myself, where I had been two days earlier. I had explained to every car guy I talked to that I was going to go to various dealers and get the best price. I had test driven the LL Bean and the Outback there. I was considering a discounted LLBean with 6,000 on the showroom floor which had been the manager's. I called to see if it was still there, they said yes, I went down.
Things did not feel right from the beginning.
There were five salesmen and me.
I said , "So the price is discounted $3,500 plus the Subaru rebate, right?'
"Oh, no, the rebate is included in the $3,500."
"But doesn't the rebate go to the customer?" etc. etc.
They were treating me like a dummy and I didn't like it. Then there was the oft heard phrase, "What can we do to earn your business?"
"Give me the rebate off the bottom line."
They said I had misunderstood. NO one does that.
I said that I was looking at an LLBean at another dealer with fewer miles, a premium sound package, a $4000 discount PLUS the rebate.,
They said I must have misunderstood.
I said I'd just have to go to the other dealer and check it out.
Then they made me mad.
"Well, three other WOMEN have told us about that car, they get down there, find out they were lied to and come right back here." The "three other women" just hit me wrong.
I said I'd just have to see for myself, and their response was "We're open 'til eight o'clock. We'll be right here waiting when you come back."
As you might imagine, I'll never darken their door again.
I went straight down the highway, confirmed that the $750 was mine, and bought the car. A young man who went through the high school from where I’d just retired sold it to me. I never had him as a student but we talked old times as though I had been his favorite teacher.
He clearly has what it takes to be a car salesman.
He said that whenever I need to have the car serviced for something that takes a little time, he will come by here in the AM, leave me his car and take mine down for servicing. Or I can get used a car for a few hours. I'll hold him to it.
Could One Of The Men have gotten me a better deal if he had negotiated the price? Could I have gotten a better trade in? Well, I don't know. Maybe a few hundred dollars. But I think I did OK.
And I am driving a luxury car with two toned gray leather seats, heated outside mirrors, an auto dimming rear view mirror, the premium sound package with a six CD changer somehow hidden in the dashboard and eight speakers and sub woofer, leather all over the place, walnut dash, eight way automatic seating with lumbar support, heated seats and lots of legroom front and rear, automatic climate control, blah blah blah.
It is the Subaru Legacy Outback LLBean. Six cylinders. Lordy. It was the owner's wife's car and has gone 4,000 miles. When I finished bargaining there was a difference in price of 1,600 between the fancy LLBean and a very nice new regular four cylinder Outback Limited. And that was a very luxurious car.
But to get this added luxury and the six cylinders,well, I just said to myself, "You can have this. Why not?" So I picked it up the next morning. Of course I had buyer's remorse and my fingers shook as I wrote the check, but I'll got over it.
The "three other women" guy called. I told him that I just drove home the other one, plus a very clear explanation of why I did so.
The other agency called right after that, telling me that I had driven off without changing the plates. I went out and checked. Yup. No plates. They are sending someone up. Good service makes me feel good.
Today I hauled a huge mess of mums in the back, and made it officially mine. It smells new and familiar at the very same time.
If only more car dealers understood smart women. It’s hard to believe those old techniques still work on anyone, but there are always men out there trying them.