Four days ago, I dreaded the idea of buying a new car. I've only bought a car from a dealership once before, and it was the cliche car buying experience - slimy salesmen throwing out phrases like "trust me, you're getting a great deal", "you should definitely get the extended warranty", "I need to talk to my manager", "okay fine, we'll throw in the floor mats for free", "you're not going to find a better deal anywhere else", and "want to go water-skiing with us?" (okay, the last one wasn't typical, but I was actually asked that). That was about 7 years ago and I had to take my dad with me to help with the negotiating part because I was so nervous about getting ripped off.
So it's no surprise that I was not looking forward to going through this process again. But last weekend, Pete convinced me to go test drive the car I've been eyeing up for a while now. Having been through the process many more times than me, Pete is much more experienced at it - but he's also much more cynical about it. The second a car salesman starting walking towards us, Pete put his head down and mumbled to me "quick, walk away before he talks to us". When the salesman asked if he could help us, I politely told him that we were just looking, and to his credit, he left us alone. But when you actually want to test drive a car, you have no choice but to deal with Mr. Slimy Salesman - but much to our surprise, we got to deal with Ms. Friendly-and-Not-Too-Pushy saleschick. Pete and I both drove the car, and really liked it, so when we got back to the dealership, they got us right where they wanted us - in the office talking numbers. I actually liked Ms. Friendly-and-Not-Too-Pushy, and felt like I might actually be able to buy a car from her eventually...but then her evil twin, Ms. Used-Car-Sales pushed her way into the office. Ms. Used-Car-Sales was the cliche car salesperson - smoker with raspy voice, lots of bling, pushy, annoying, and not a good listener (e.g. her-"what color do you want?", me-"black", her-"we don't have a black one, but we have a yellow one", me-
I definitely don't want yellow", her-"well we have a red one too", me-"I'm actually set on black", her-"well that limits your options", me (to myself)-"no shit, that's why I want to buy a new one"). By the time Ms. Used-Car-Sales was done yammering, we'd had enough of the process for the day. And fortunately, since I wasn't in a hurry to buy, it was quite easy to walk out (knowing that they'd be contacting me soon anyway).
Having test driven the car, I decided it was time to do some Internet research. And I was amazed at what I found...