Sometimes Wikipedia cracks me up.
The Toyota Previa… “failed to steal any significant share from the Chrysler minivans due to its high price, odd Asian styling, poor fuel economy, terrible horn, and weak engines.”
Note to Toyota engineers. Work on that horn! The old ones apparently weren’t horny enough.
The retail car business seems to be a hotbed for irrational snobs and hot-headed lunatics. Not to mention those who don’t bother reading advertisements before wasting your time.
Case in point. Every time I sell an old gasser Mercedes, I always put the following headline in big bold letters.
“THIS CAR IS NOT A DIESEL. NOTE. THE ENGINE IS NOT A DIESEL. EL COCHE NO TIENE UN MOTOR DIESEL. COMPRENDE? GRACIAS!”
This will not stop someone who is under 25 from coming to my lot, showing me the ad on their rinky-dinky cell phone, and asking where is the diesel Benz.
Every… single… time…
The same is true for when I sell a Mustang or a Camaro.
“THIS IS NOT A V8 MUSTANG (OR CAMARO). IT IS THE V6 MODEL WITH 200 HORSEPOWER. IF IT WERE AN Z28/GT, I WOULD HAVE MENTIONED IT ALREADY IN THIS AD.”
In this case, the young cell phone surfer will either come with their friends, or their Dad.
“I thought this was a Z28/GT model?”, the father/friend will say while the reading challenged kid is busy texting his friends.
“Did you read the ad?”
“Well… um… son? Did you read the ad?”
These are just cases where basic reading comprehension skills are lacking. Lame yes. But when it comes to the car itself, I deal with three unique types of nutjobs that just make me want to walk away from a conversation mid-sentence and close my office door.
1) The Badge Whore
This is the guy or gal who calls you about a Pontiac Vibe or Geo Prizm and wants it to magically turn into a Toyota. They will test drive it. Like it. Tell you about their all too loved Toyota that apparently bit the big one, and then ask you…
“Do you have a Toyota Corolla/Matrix?”
“Yes, but they are a higher price.”
“Can you call me when you get one in with similar mileage for the same price.”
“I can’t. Those don’t exist. For the same price, it will usually have around 50,000 to 70,000 more miles. You do realize that this is the exact same vehicle mechanically.”
“Yeah… but I really want a Toyota.”
2) The Illusionist
This is the prospective car buyer who will bitch about issues that don’t actually exist. Or will ask you to lower the price due to maintenance it may ‘potentially’ need 20,000 miles down the road.
C: “Do you hear that?”
Me: “Hear what?”
C: “That roar.”
Me: “Those would be the tires.”
C: “What about those little spiky things on the side of them?”
Me: “Those would be new tires.”
C: “And why doesn’t this car have a CD player?”
Me: “Because it’s a 15 year old economy car. They didn’t come with CD players?”
C: “Why does the antenna stay up?”
Me: “Because it’s a fixed antenna.”
C: “I don’t like old cars. This is an old car. Has it recently been given a service?”
Me: “The odometer is at 160k. The oil was changed and it has new tires. The major service isn’t due until 180k.”
C: “That will cost money.”
Me: “So does a bus pass.”
Finally, you have the car buyer who is more lame than Kwame Kilpatrick, Rod Blagojevich, and the 1962 Mets.
3) The Chronic Lawballer
This is the guy who, if you offered a perfectly good car for $1000, would counter with an $800 offer, an extended warranty, and a free toaster.
Yes, the following scenario really did happen to me.
Customer: “You know a lot about SAABs?”
Me: “Sure. I’ve had a couple dozen. (Keeping the SAAB-istic and SAAB-ist puns to myself.)
C: “You know they are unreliable.”
Me: “You realize this car has been on the road for 20 years.”
C: “Well, I’ve had SAABs for a long time. Decades. I never pay more than $500 for them.”
Me: “You realize I can crush this vehicle and get more than $500 out of it today.”
C: “That doesn’t matter. Kelly Blue Book says it’s worth $500 and that’s what I’m going to pay.”
Me: “I can’t help you. That’s not realistic.”
C: “Okay then. What about $600, a 7 day warranty, and you give me your toaster?”
C: “I need a toaster. Mine broke. I also saw a toaster in your office. I’m also looking for a TV but you didn’t have one of those.”
Me: “The car is $1200”
C: (looks at me startled) “You said a thousand?”
Me: “Yes, but I always charge more for aggravation.”
C: “No, I want to buy the car and toaster for $600.”
Me: “$1300 then.”
C: “You’re ripping me off.”
C: “You’re ripping me off!”
Me: “No toaster then. $1350.”
We ended up arguing for nearly 20 minutes and… I sold the car and toaster for $1200. The guy then called me up a few days later and asked if I could send him $200 since the alternator needed to be replaced.
I replied, “Do you still have my toaster?”
He pawned it. I kept my money. So what are the lamest excuses you have ever heard from a car buyer?