While I was recovering from my hangover looking through the morning paper, I saw an ad from a Cape car dealership that promised great deals. I showed it to MJ and she agreed that it might just be worth going down there and seeing what they have to offer. There’s nothing wrong with my SUV. It runs great and it’s been the best car I’ve ever owned. But it’s an SUV and it’s got more than 100,000 miles on it and I’m not even halfway through the payments. And with the auto industry in the toilet, we figured they might be ready to wheel and deal. And if we could pay the same amount per month for a new/used car with way less miles, then it’d be worth it.
So we traveled to the car dealership (which I won’t name specifically, sorry Caper Codders) and I was a little stunned to see that it was a ghost town. Usually these long weekends are the backbone of a car dealership’s sales season, so I expected a packed house. So we started kicking some tires, looking for a sedan with good gas mileage. Like clockwork, out comes the salesman and we begin to talk.
Now here’s where you need some background:
I know nothing about cars. Nothing. I’m an auto idiot. MJ, on the other hand, is extremely intelligent when it comes to cars. Also, I’m not good with money related matters. Interest rates, APR, amortization…it’s all Greek to me. Goes right over my head. But you all know that MJ is a bank manager and she’s a wiz with all that crap. I get all excited at the prospect of a new car, and basically if you hand me a pen I will sign ANYTHING. MJ was born to haggle. We’re just polar opposites, you get the idea.
But we’ve developed a nice little system when buying a car and we ambush the salesmen. The salesman comes out and immediately begins talking to me, because he mistakenly assumes I’m a man’s man who knows cars and I must handle all of the family’s business. I play along at first, as this is all part of the plan. Gradually, MJ sneaks into more and more of the conversation. After we let him talk himself into a corner, MJ starts throwing 1-2 combinations to put him on his heels. And then after the test drive and after he tries to assure us an 8% interest rate is the best we can do on a used car loan, the plan really kicks into gear.
That’s when I say something like “Hey babe, can your bank do better than that? Or what about any of the credit unions you work with?” Unfailingly, the salesman gets a confused and slightly scared look on his face and says “Oh…so…you work at a bank? Are you a teller?”
And God love her, that’s when MJ pounces like a tiger who has her prey trapped!
She dramatically whips out her calculator and says “Well I know I can get 4.49% at Rockland Federal Credit Union and if we get x amount for our trade-in that leaves x amount that we’re financing so roll in taxes, title and registration and we’ll finance that over 60 months and we’d have x amount for a monthly payment. And that’s too high, what else can you do for us?”
At this point he’s completely bamboozled. Sometimes they even laugh and need 30 seconds or so to gather themselves. It’s quite fun.
But today, the guy just wasn’t hearing us. We told him what we wanted and we told him our price range several times. So he pointed us to a really nice car that was everything we wanted and he said it was in our price range. So we test drove it and MJ loved it. But no sooner did we park the car after our test drive, than the salesman comes out and says “Oh gee, sorry about this but I had the price of that car wrong. It’s actually $3,000 more than I originally said.”
Are you serious pal? You don’t know how much your cars cost and you’re just arbitrarily throwing out a low number in the hope that you can get us hooked on the car and we’ll end up paying whatever you want? No no no.
At this point, it looked like another employee had finally showed up. At least I assume he was an employee. He walked in the showroom and started walking in the back room like he owned the place. Except as we’re talking to the other salesman, the guy jumps on his cell phone and starts SCREAMING obscenities at the person on the other end of the line. Not the best strategy for customer satisfaction.
At this point, MJ and I are done with this place. We’ve repeated ourselves an inordinate amount of times and now there’s a psychopath employee screaming in plain sight of us. But that wasn’t the worst part. Not at all. Nothing could have prepared us for the worst part.
As we were putting Will in the carseat and preparing to leave, I looked out among the rows of cars and that’s when I saw it. A rolled up pair of boxer shorts just resting on the pavement in between the cars. And next to the boxer shorts? Shit. That’s right. Shit. Human shit. There was human feces strewn about the parking lot next to all these new and used cars. There were flies buzzing around the shit, next to the soiled boxers. Lovely.
I calmly pointed it out to the salesman, assuming that he’d be horribly embarrassed and rush to clean it up. But guess what he said?
“Oh yeah. I noticed that.”
And that was it. No “Oh my God, I’ll clean that up immediately!” or “Geez I don’t know how that got there. I’m so sorry.” Instead, he just acknowledged it like it was commonplace. Like ALL car buying experiences end with spotting human body waste. I mean c’mon, I know the auto industry is in the toilet but now there’s actual human shit right on the lot? Not a good sign.
The process of buying a car is admittedly craptastic, but that was ridiculous.