Thursday, December 01, 2005

Car Jamming

I recently bought a certified pre-owned vehicle. The last time I bought a car was in 1995. Before that, 1988. My first car was a BMW 2002 - you know, those little ones that make a Mini look big. It wasn't certified pre-owned. Private owner, a guy who worked at some fashion store in the Tacoma Mall that makes Gap look like haute couture. He was a slick dude. And the 2002 was a fine looking vehicle on the outside, but under the hood it was the biggest piece of shit I've ever heard of. I bet the guy who sold it to me is a used car salesman now.

What is it with car salesmen (and women) that makes them so slimy? Do they go to some car sales school where they're taught the slimy tricks of the trade? Slimyness 101? Seems like they could just point out the features of the car and go along for the test ride and talk a few special deals up and their job would be done. I don't need the "I really want to make this work for you" treatment. They don't give a shit what works for me, as long as it means a sale for them.

Well this salesman, we'll call him Sammy, gave me the requisite treatment. Coffee, more coffee, more coffee. I love coffee, but what else ya got? He talked about his cousin who lives near me, but couldn't remember his name. He told me to go in and say hi to his cousin. Uh huh. He attempted to recount the details of our phone conversation and got every one of them slightly wrong. Wife's not coming, don't live in San Hose, don't have a trade-in.

The slimy stuff was generally harmless until we were finalizing the details of the purchase. I told him I noticed that the fog lights weren't working, the light that turns on when you open the drivers side vanity mirror didn't, and the windshield wipers made a horrible rubbing and skipping noise when turned on. Not major stuff, but stuff that shouldn't be happening on a certified pre-owned vehicle. Sammy said they were taking the car to the back to get it ready to go.

I sign the next 3 years of my life away with some other guy who does nothing but complain about "the man" and ask me if I would edit a video of his 2 year old son. I go back out to the waiting area where Sammy asks me if I want more coffee. Then he tells me that the shop is closed on weekends and they're not gonna be able to fix that stuff today. To sweeten that deal, Sammy says that I have to take it back to Sunnyvale VW to get that stuff fixed. Wow, that was a fast one! I thought I'd covered my bases.

My head turned into a big flat lollipop like the ones you see in Bugs Bunny cartoons that said "SUCKER". Actually all that stuff wasn't a major deal, but it made me wonder what else didn't meet the certified pre-owned criteria. Well, a few days later I drove the car down to Sunnyvale to get the stuff fixed, they gave me a Hyundai loaner that drove like a souped up golf cart, and I drove back down again to pick it up the same night. You gotta love that 101 rush-hour traffic. I drove into the lot to find Sammy combing his greasy hair back in the reflection of my certified pre-owned car window. He greeted me with a big open hand waiting for a shake. "Well I guess the next time I see you is when you're bringing me another customer!" Yeah.

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