Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Death of a Used Car Salesman (Part 2)

One of the more notable things that Chuck encountered whilst on holiday in New York was an absolute lack of interest in customer service. Chuck isn’t the most high maintenance traveller around and can appreciate that there are plenty of jobs out there that must be a real challenge for people to get out of bed in the morning for. Jobs in New York like waiters / waitresses, bartenders or hotel staff that rely heavily on tips typically work their asses off and provide solid assistance. Where Chuck noticed a real drop off was in retail outlets where you could stumble around with an armful of 100 bills and store clerks wouldn’t think to move in your direction. Perhaps its because New York is swarming with tourists flush with cash meaning that they don’t really have to work hard for sales. Whatever the reason, it’s quite amazing. The best example was Chuck dragging a pregnant Mrs. Long into a golf shop. Chuck may be totally wrong, but surely there cant be many pregnant women shopping for pitching wedges. So for a bloke to drag a pregnant woman into a golf shop, there had to be some pretty solid buying signs right? Anyway, Chuck pulled out a few clubs, took a couple of swings, looked in the salesperson’s directions (he was busy text messaging) and finally put the clubs back and walked out.

Chuck was so pleased to arrive back in Australia where customer service reigns supreme!

Anyway, getting back on point it was time for Chuck and Mrs. Long to enter into the world of car shopping. Everyone has heard the tales of dealing with dodgy car salesmen who’ll tell you anything you want to hear in order to make a sale. Conscious of budgets and financial commitments, Chuck and Mrs. Long were tossing up between new or second hand. Those of you have been reading this blog over time will know full well that Chuck is a man of many talents and abilities. Unfortunately automobiles is not one of them. In fact, not so long ago, Chuck and Mrs. Long were driving when Mrs. Long noticed the car pulling to one side. Her initial thought was a flat tire and she was spot on. Chuck’s immediate reaction was “shall we call roadside assistance?” Mrs. Long scoffed as she popped the boot and grabbed the spare. Realising that he had just come across as a total pussy, Chuck scrambled out and assisted in loosening the wheelnuts.

Fuck that just made Chuck look soft.

Anyway, Chuck’s knowledge of cars is so limited that the 2 key decisions in each of Chuck’s previous car purchases were: 1) what’s the stereo like? And 2) what colour is the interior?

The thought of a car salesman bombarding Chuck with words like “fuel efficient, zippy, handling and thumping sound system” created a sense of apprehension. In preparation Chuck jumped on line and stumbled across links like this:

If Chuck was going to be swindled, at least he’d be able to identify the tricks the salesperson was using!

So Chuck and Mrs Long entered the first dealership…………..and nothing. 25 minutes later Chuck and Mrs Long had inspected several different makes of car, climbed inside at least 8 and studiously evaluated the radio in all. Not a single glance from a salesperson. Bemused, Chuck and Mrs Long walked back to the car and left for the next dealership.

Again, approximately 30 minutes spent wandering around a car yard without a single interaction with a salesperson. Surely pregnant couples don’t do this sort of thing for fun and hence reduce credibility for other pregnant couples?

Do you realise how pointless it is walking around a car yard without any help? Well it’s not hard for Chuck since car colour, interior and radios are the key criteria, but for the serious purchaser it is almost pointless.

The third dealership at least provided some contact with a salesman. It occurred as Chuck and Mrs. Long were heading for their car and involved “err g’day mate, you alright?”

It wasn’t until the fourth dealership that Chuck and Mrs Long received some attention. The interesting thing is that none of the four dealerships had more than two other people looking at cars. Obviously the market hasn’t rebounded completely in which case you’d thing these people would be scrambling to turn a sale. Anyway, this dude was fairly helpful and considerably less pushy than Chuck had anticipated. Having said that he did pull the following sales techniques on Chuck (as found in the attached link):

Free Extras

Making Friends

My Wife/Husband/Mother Drives One

Limited-Time Offers



His game was so transparent

(In hindsight….and afdter Chuck had been railroaded into a test drive)

Perhaps the GFC has killed the used car salesman?

Needless to say Chuck and Mrs Long are still baby-chariot-less… but the industrious Mrs Long did find the same car models on the internet for several thousand dollars less! What a good a egg.

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