Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shark vs Puppy.

The car hunt continues.

Saturday was spent at the Honda dealer where we bought our Odyssey way back in 2002. Those were the days. You waltzed into a dealership with giant sign across your forehead that said "please take my lunch money". No plan. Just show up.

And that's pretty much what we did Saturday as well.

We went in, asking to drive a CR-V and ended up on the wrong end of 20 minute time out in the penalty box at the salesman's desk.

Let me explain.

We did get a test drive in a Honda CR-V. We liked it but it just didn't grab us. The salesman was a real shark. He was a grizzled auto sales veteran, with 20 plus years in the business and lots of sales plaques in his little cubicle to show for it.

We went back to his desk after the drive to "see what was in inventory" like two lost children wandering into a bears den and asking "what's in here?". Yep-yep-yo. Sure, we'll have seat, nice Mr Salesman.

With today's technology, I expect that the inventory is in a database somewhere available online form every desktop in the dealership and on the internet on the dealerships web site. We told Mr Shark that we had a something to do that Saturday night and that we had to leave but Mr Shark insisted that we "see what was in inventory". He tapped a few details into the computer and the disappeared to "find what was in inventory". I have no idea where he went or want he was doing but I'm sure it involved getting a sales manager for the full court press.

We waited politely for a few minutes and couldn't help but over hear what was going on behind us. A sales manager was all but water-boarding a Japanese man behind us over what seemed to be a $200 difference in price. It was brutal.

We waited a bit more. It was not going well for the Japanese guy.

Finally we just got up and left. I did find the Shark's cell number on one of his cards and let him know we were leaving. In retrospect, this was a mistake. We got up, stepped over the Japanese man's corpse and walked across the sales floor and headed out.

By time we reached our car, Mr Shark was on the prowl and at the door, looking frantically for us. He realized he would have no conquest today but he was not giving up. He tried to get us to come back in but we were firm: We had other cars to drive. He asked if we could come back on Tuesday,  but we said no. We left, knowing there would be phone calls and emails from Mr Shark in our future.

Then we got smart and decided it was time to form a plan of some kind. This walking into the shark tank and expecting nothing to happen was foolish. These people are time suckers. Thier entire purpose in life is to keep you in that chair until the sales manager comes over.

So, later in the week, we changed strategies. We emailed a local Toyota dealer and made an appointment. We dictated the model we wanted to drive, the route we were taking and the time we would show up (1 hour before closing). We thought we were so smart. We were prepared for the great white shark and we got.... a puppy.

The Internet Toyota salesman had been on the job 2 months. Two months. We showed up at our appointed time and he had a brand new Toyota RAV 4 picked off the lot and brought it up front. We were ready for our test drive.

One mistake we had made with the previous to dealer visits was to follow the pre-determined test route the salesman had picked out. This time we decided where we going and we decided we were going far. I drove up to the Interstate, got on Northbound headed for the next exit. Once there, I let the Chancellor drive.

Her drive was, well, interesting. It was part Astronaut test and part sales tips for Mr Puppy. The RAV 4 was peppy and she made some tight turns in the thing that had me swinging in the leather front seat. Then she would tell Mr Puppy "It doesn't matter what you are selling, you are selling yourself" Just the way Dale Carnegy would have. From her pep talk, you would have though she was Alec Baldwin in Glen Gary, Glen Ross and not a CAT scan tech. Coffee is for winners!

She made her way not on the Interstate but back to the dealership through the back roads in our neighborhood. She had Mr Puppy totally lost and when we popped back out on the road the dealership was on through an intersection Mr Puppy had never been on, he exclaimed his excitement at not being 50 miles from the dealership.

Upon our return, we sat and talked for a few minutes as the dealership was closing but there was no full court press. We met the sales manager but there would be no water boarding tonight.

By the way, we loved the RAV4.

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