One of the ways in which Florida differs from any other state in my memory, is that car dealerships are open on Sundays.
It used to be a fun Sunday thing to do. Go to a car lot and wander around admiring various vehicles. We would read that little paper taped to the inside of the windshield and peer through the windows trying to see what the interior looked like. We would chose our favourite car on each visit. Sometimes it was a snazzy low riding sports car. Other times it might be a very dignified high end sedan. Perhaps something more practical like an SUV.
We would select colour, make and model and even details. And since it was all fantasy, I could put this interior on that car with those wheels in that colour, totally mixing and matching not just manufacturers, but type of car. Some of them might have turned out a little Seussian, but I'll never tell. It was just silly fun. And best of all, it cost absolutely nothing!
We found out, to our surprise, soon after moving here that most auto dealerships have sales people working on Sundays. It was not a pleasant surprise.
There we were wandering around just looking, not touching, and suddenly a man walked up behind us and howdy'd. And that was fine. I mean, we weren't expecting it. There was nobody else anywhere around and honestly, it didn't even look as if the lights were on inside. Which is pretty darned sneaky. But initially, it was fine. Then very quickly, it was not.
He was not only an aggressive sales guy, he was a stick-to-you-like-glue salesguy. If I zigged left, he zigged left. If I faked right, he faked right. There was no shaking this guy. AND he talked nonstop. I mean to the point where, he asked questions and then didn't give you an empty spot in the conversation to answer. So no actual listening would be going on. Got it.
His entire goal, apparently, was to get us out on the road test driving something. Anything. He didn't seem to care what. But I believe the second sentence out of his mouth was already about taking a model out on the road. He wasn't interested in hearing "No Thank you" either. He also didn't hear the words, "We are just looking". We didn't stick around long and he looked so confused and sad when we left.
So we haven't gotten to play the automotive lets pretend game in quite some time. But recently, we have been taking long hard looks at our cars and realizing that we aren't going to be able to keep them both glued together with bandaids and silly putty forever. So we ought to start thinking about what car we would choose when one or the other of ours goes wheels up.
I think we both dreaded it. Tim did a lot of online research to limit the number of different kinds of dealerships we would have to visit. Thank goodness!
The first place we went was another pouncer. It's like having a Tigger as a salesperson. Literally his first sentence to us included the words test drive. His second was that we should go inside and sit and talk about exactly what it was we were looking for. Nope. That's like a first date talking about how many kids you should have together before the waiter brings your drinks! It was just way too aggressive for our taste. He learned pretty quickly that we were not appreciating his approach and to our relief, he walked away. Only to return a few minutes later with his boss who was a lot more laid back. Okay. We can work with someone like that. And we did the Q&A session outside, talked a bit more and called it a day.
The second place we went was a treat. Gentle, easy going, conversational, a sales person who LISTENS! We actually did a test drive there and afterwards, there was no expectation that we would immediately yell, "SOLD!" and drive off with a new car. She allowed us to lead the way. Perfect. When we left she made sure that she would be available to us by phone or email anytime. Tim tested that promise yesterday by emailing her a few follow questions expecting to hear back on Monday or Tuesday. Instead, she returned his email in just a few short hours. Wow!
We liked their service policies, we liked their vehicles and we especially liked our salesperson.
A truth that apparently some people don't realize, is that part of salesmanship, (or if we are going to get very PC about it, salespersonship) is that you have to read people well. It's a kind of relationship. And like all relationships, there are good ones and there are bad ones. But if you want to seal the deal, you have to work hard at building a good relationship.
Buying a car is a big deal. Very few people enjoy the process. And for me, just the idea that once that dotted line is signed, we will then be making car payments again for the first time in a Very Long Time, just stresses me out. When you find a dealership and a salesperson who make that process as painless as possible, yup that's where you go.
So we are 3/4 of the way there. We know the kind of car. We know the Dealership. We know the salesperson. Just gotta know when is the right time.
I suspect it will be like choosing your life mate. You just know when it's right.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.