I’m still not through mourning for Arthur, but I’ve at least recovered enough that I can share a bit more about our experiences on Saturday in pursuit of a new car for me.
We started at Koons Tysons Toyota, because they were the closest dealership with a manual transmission Corolla. I took it out for a test drive, and chatted with the salesman a bit. He layed out the cost of the car, nad I told him that I felt that I needed to test drive at least two different kinds of cars before putting down that kind of money. He was very understanding, and did bring the manager over before we left, but even the manager seemed to understand that buying a car is a big deal.
Our next stop was Rosenthal Honda, just a mile down the street from Koons. Now, we had actually been to a Rosenthal Honda before and not been happy with the experience*, but this was a different branch and we were looking at new rather than used, so we were hopeful that the experience would be different. We looked up the sales person from the e-mail they had sent, she found the keys for one of the 2004 Civics with manual transmission, and we had a pleasant test drive.
When we got back to the dealership, she brought us up to the office and gave us a price. I responded by saying that it was a big decision and that we would need to go to lunch and talk about it. She went to get the manager, who tried to get us to commit to buying the car right now, to which I responded (possibly more than once) that we would need to go to lunch to discuss the decision. At this point the manager seemed annoyed that we wanted to *gasp* think about the decision. I can’t believe that this attitude can win this manager many sales…maybe I’m just naive.
We did talk over the decision over lunch, but frankly it was a one-sided decision. (Though, Andrew did try to play devil’s advocate.) Did I like the Corolla $1500-worth better than the Civic? Perhaps not. Did I like the Corolla and the dealership that was selling it $1500-worth better than the Civic and the dealership that was selling it? Definately. It seems like a simple rule — treat your customers the way you want yourself to be treated. Or better yet, treat your customers the way you would want your mother or best friend to be treated.
That’s about it — it did take a while to actually drive home with the car, but that’s the way it always is when you buy a car. I did cry on the way out of the parking lot because Arthur was still sitting there, looking at me. And yesterday, while we were out Panda Hunting downtown, I kept seeing Tercels and would feel a twinge of nostalgia and guilt. But I am starting to bond with the new car (which has not revealed it’s name or gender to me yet).
* We went to the Fairfax Honda used dealership last June when we were looking for cars for Andrew. I told the salesman outright that this was our first day out and that we would not be buying. We just wanted to get a feel for what was out there, and we realized that the exact cars may not be there the next time we came in.
He proceeded to show us cars, questioning why we wanted a certified pre-owned car, and insisting that we would never find a certified Honda or Toyota in our price range. (That last part we knew was a lie, because we had already test-driven a certified Toyota Echo in our price range.)
He ran into the dealership to get something to write some information down about us, so he could call us when something came in that we might be interested in. When he came back, he told us that his manager had said that he must be doing something wrong if we weren’t ready to buy after the cars he’d shown us. Excuse me? That’s right, we are manipulated that easily.
This salesman just kept pushing, and asking what he was doing wrong, and what could he do to get us home in a car today. Finally, I looked him square in the eye, and said, “I’ve already told you that we aren’t buying today. You could offer us a car for a dollar, and we won’t be driving it home today.” I think he finally got the clue.
Needless to say, we did not buy Andrew a Honda.