I don’t think so. Car shoppers reveal the one thing a car salesman did that made them leave before completing a sale. Content has been edited for clarity.
Second Time Around
“ ‘No. That vehicle is out of your price range. There is no reason for you to look at it.’
I was young. I worked a manual labor job. I went to the dealership directly after work. While I admit I looked like I couldn’t even afford to feed myself, I did have about four times the price of the vehicle in my savings account.
I told the sales guy to fudge off, returned to my vehicle, and drove away.
However, I really was interested in this car. So the next morning, I went back to the dealership and walked directly to the sales office.
I said, ‘I am here to buy a car from anyone but you.’
I pointed at the salesman from the day before. A young sales guy about my age jumped up and said he would show me whatever car I wanted to see.
Fast forward about 90 minutes and I was paying for the vehicle in cash.
After all the paperwork was finished, I was leaving and was approached by the sales manager. He asked why I came in the way I had. I explained to him the way things had gone the day before. He seemed quite upset and asked if I would talk to the individual with him. I refused. I told him his salesman’s behavior is his problem, but if I had not been in love with the car they would have lost a sale completely. He said he would take care of it. I left and never went back.”
What The Heart Wants
“You’re probably expecting some rags-to-riches story about how I walked into a Porsche dealership with raggedy clothes while people ignored me, but then I called my butler who rolled up in a Bentley handing me a suitcase full of cash which I used to buy a 911 Turbo on the spot, right? Sorry, that did not happen.
Once upon a time, I was a new college graduate deep in debt with barely any money after paying rent. An extra 100 bucks each month was hard to come by, and I often wondered why I worked only to give all my money away to taxes and bills.
So after saving an eternity for a car down payment, I was really hoping to buy a more reliable car to get me to work. Not a fancy one. Not even one with power windows and power doors. Something cheap and reliable — the Toyota Corolla CE.
So I walked into the nearest Toyota dealership and told the sales guy I wanted to finance the low-end CE model. I had done my research and had seen their ad in the newspaper. It fit my budget. He insisted on showing me models with fancier features and I looked.
But then would politely tell him, ‘No, I can’t afford that. I need the one with nothing, not even AC.’
Shoot, this CE model didn’t even have hubcaps. Bare steel wheels. I want that.
He told me, ‘My friend, no means no,’ walked away, and left me in the parking lot.
I went home to think about what just happened. A 1000 bucks difference might have been nothing to him, but that was a lot to me. So the next day I went to a dealership 15 minutes farther and asked to buy the same car again. Again, no power windows, no AC. Heck, I would even take the crappiest color you have, beige. What do I care? I need cheap and reliable. This guy here was not trying to impress anybody. Done. Without attitude or judgment from the second dealership, I bought my ugly-as-heck beige Toyota Corolla CE with no hubcaps, no power windows, and no AC. But I was happy!
What I learned was some dealerships play this game where they advertised cars they had no intention of selling. They keep it on the lot so that their advertisement is legitimate. It was just there to draw in more potential customers, hoping to convert you to a more expensive car. It worked on most people, but not on a starving college graduate who was already concerned about the price of Top Ramen.”
“‘Please don’t touch this car,’ a salesman told me once. I worked at a car dealership in Florida and I wanted to buy a car. A nice little Volkswagen with teeth. The sales manager told me if I ever needed a car to come to him and he would handle it. So I did. And he told me to work with this one gentleman and when I found the car I wanted, to let him know and he would speed it on through. So I went on my lunch break with the salesman he recommended and when I got to the car I wanted, a brand new 2004 VW R32. So I found the one I liked, silver, and I said I wanted this one and proceeded to open the door. I had been eyeing them whenever they came through the shop on pre-delivery inspection.
‘Please don’t touch this car,’ the salesman said.
I said, ‘What?”
‘Please don’t touch this car unless you intend to buy it.’ he repeated
I didn’t fuss, I walked away and got into my car and drove across town to another VW dealer, and bought the car there. All the Volkswagen guys in that area more or less knew each other from meeting at VW training school or on the racetrack. Plus I used to work with some of them.
I said, ‘Don’t prep it, don’t clean it. Just take the sticker down and let me take it the way it is. Don’t even gas it up.’
Maybe I spent 20 minutes there, I had my own financing so it wasn’t a hassle. Their sales manager was blown away when I told him what happened to me not half hour earlier. I drove back to work and parked it in the employee parking lot. I went into the break room to eat a sandwich. The rude salesman from earlier walked in and tried to offer me a deal.
I said, ‘I already got the car.’
He said, ‘Really, from who?’
I said, ‘From XYZ Volkswagen.’
He looked at me weirdly. I dropped the keys onto the table with the id tag still on it. ‘Wanna see the receipt?’ I asked.
He walked away.
The sales manager came and asked what happened and why didn’t I come to him first. I had nothing against the sales manager at the dealership I worked for.
But I told him, ‘Every single time I’ve tried to buy a car from any dealership I’ve ever worked for I’ve gotten a hassle from the sales department, every single time – cash deal or otherwise. I agree to the price, I buy the warranties and extras, why isn’t my money good enough?’
He was speechless.
Come to find in the next week, the owner of the dealership was highly upset I bought a car from another VW dealer. I told him the story, and all he could do was apologize. Did you know the following month the owner threatened (off record) to fire anyone who bought a car from another dealer? Talk about punishing the victims of his hostile sales department. Since that day, whenever I go to a dealer to buy a car, I go to the weakest salesperson and gave them their fastest sale ever. The big shots can go pound it.”
That’s Not Nice
“Not just a single statement, but an attitude.
In 2003, my wife and I were car shopping. We had hit up numerous dealerships, as we had an eleven-year-old Lumina, and really had no idea what we would like to buy. When we got to the Toyota dealership, my wife was excited because she had a friend with a Camry, and she really wanted to see what we could make a deal on.
Well, we started through the process with them of explaining what we wanted.
The entire time we sat at the salesman’s desk talking, anytime my wife asked a question, he would turn to me in answering it. Not a single time did he directly look her in the face and answer. Not once.
It took about fifteen minutes for us to conclude we had no desire to buy at that dealership. We got up and left, and I truly don’t remember if we even said anything when we left.
Not long after that, we went into a Nissan dealer nearby and there sat an Altima, red, sparkly, just daring us to drive her. The salesman was a Hispanic gentleman, and I want you to know that word exactly fit his demeanor and his personality. He treated my wife like she was the most important person in the showroom, and he did it without even coming close to patronizing.
He sold our family and not just the two of us, seven Nissans of various models over the next eleven years. If we hadn’t moved across the continent five years ago, we would still be buying from him. At no time during that period did his demeanor and his relationship with us had changed. He treated us every time as if we were the most important people in the showroom. He always gave us a fair deal, and never did we feel taken advantage of.
He was the only person we knew in any commercial business we stopped by to bid farewell to before we left town. He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
Gus, wherever you are, we still love you!”
“I’m a Jeep girl. Always have been; always will be.
My first ‘car’ was a white Wrangler with hot pink pinstripes. Don’t judge. It was the ’80s. That one was traded in for a red Wrangler in ’97, which I still owned to this day. Once I got pregnant with Spawn number one, however, it was time to get a family vehicle. We headed back to my trusty Jeep salesman for the third time and picked up a used Grand Cherokee.
It served us well, but by 2013, it was time to trade in the old gal for a newer model. The kids were bigger by this time, and between their sports or music equipment plus their entourage of friends, we knew we needed a third row. This was not an option on the Cherokee, so I went in search of a non-Jeep option.
It was weird to think about buying from a new dealership. But there were plenty of options out there beyond my beloved Jeeps which wouldn’t require me caving to convention and settling for a minivan, right?
Anything but the dreaded minivan.
After some internet sleuthing, I decided to check out the Lincoln Navigator in person. A salesman greeted me on the lot, took note of my beater Cherokee, and after a bit of scripted chit-chat, asked me to come inside and fill out a contact form.
Ugh. Okay, fine. Whatever.
I handed the completed form across the desk, and the sales guy scanned it over. ‘You put ‘author’ in the employment field,’ he said.
The way he said it was strange. As if he wanted to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake.
‘Yes,’ I said, proudly. ‘That’s my job.’
He literally rolled his eyes as he snickered, ‘And what kind of books do you write?’
‘Romance,’ I replied, chin held high. I had encountered enough people over the years who were content to snub the entire genre. I had to learn pretty early on to grow a thick skin about my chosen subject matter.
Another eye roll. ‘That’s cute,’ he snarked. He went on to make a few joking comments about ‘bored housewife… little hobby… Fifty Shades… no income and you’re looking at a 40,000 bucks vehicle.’ He said it was all in supposed good fun, just kidding around with me. I don’t remember his exact words because I was fuming by this point.
Now. Here was the part where I tell you I had only released my third novel by then. But it was the final book in a trilogy that had somehow managed to find some success. So I had just quit my day jobs and gone all-in on the writing thing. That year was a turning point, not just financially because I had just started allowing myself the right to call myself an author.
And there I was for the first time actually trying out my new title in public, and this clown was mocking me for it.
I leaned back in my chair and cocked my head. ‘You know, I don’t normally go around bragging about this, but I happen to be a New York Times bestselling author. I’ve already made six figures from my ‘cute little hobby’ this year alone. So, yeah. I’m able to buy a new SUV.’
I wish I could tell you I added, ‘Just not this one,’ and got up from my chair while his mouth gaped in shock before he ran after me begging for forgiveness and pleading for my business. But that was not how the story went down. Instead, I politely said my goodbyes and left this particular dealership. I held true to my convictions I would never buy a car from that place.
Regardless of the fact that my little rebellion was entirely unknown to some snarky salesman, I was proud of my choice to deny him the commission.
I ended up buying a Ford Explorer from an awesome dude who thought my career was ‘groovy.’
“This wasn’t a story about a rich guy dressed in torn jeans trying to buy a Rolls Royce. I was not a rich guy. This was about me and my daughter when she was eight. I lived in Miami, Florida, then. I had to replace my old car and I had decided to buy a three-year-old Toyota Camry in 2003 because it was all I could afford, at the time. I checked out the ads and decided to look at the same make and model for Toyota Camry in two different dealerships, so I could compare and buy from the one that offered the best deal.
But, at the very first dealer I visited, I saw a Camry I liked in every way — color, mileage, price, everything. This wasn’t a Toyota dealership but a used-car dealership. My daughter was with me. She was eight years old, then. Obviously, she didn’t understand gears, cylinders, or anything car related. But she knew that Daddy was buying a new car and was excited to be part of the process.
So, anyway, I told the lady who was selling me the car how I liked the car and I wanted to buy it. Financing was done, at this point. We had agreed on a price and on payments, though I hadn’t signed the deal yet. The paperwork was in front of me. All I had to do was to sign it. I was happy about the deal. I was smiling. So was my daughter.
I looked at my daughter and I asked her, ‘Do you like the car?’
Before my daughter could answer, the saleslady said, ‘Are you buying this car, or do you need your daughter’s permission?’
I walked out without another word. I bought a nearly-identical car from the other dealer, who was also a non-Toyota dealership, on identical terms. The car worked for 20 years from 2000 to 2020, though I gave away that car in 2017 and leased myself another one. So, I made a good decision, though it was an emotional decision. I have never regretted it. I would do the same again even though my daughter is now 26.
I had a similar experience in 2017. It was a Toyota dealership in California. This time, I was alone. Again, all of the paperwork was nearly done for a 2017 Toyota Camry. All I had to do was to sign.
Then the manager said, ‘You don’t know how much you earn. I do.’
This was after I had shown proof of income. Again, I walked out, went to another dealership, about 20 minutes away, and leased exactly the same car. My income and proof of income didn’t change, in 20 minutes. Not only that, I paid ten percent of the down payment I had agreed to, at the previous dealership. And I ended up paying off my lease with no late payments six months ahead of time. Plus, I got a pretty good deal for my 2020 Camry when I returned the 2017 Camry for lease.”
“As recently as 2017, December 29, I wanted a new small-sized SUV because the bigger ones would not fit in my garage. So I walked into a Jeep dealership since I always had a fascination with the Jeep Cherokee, with my family in tow. The salesman took me out to the lot and proceeded to try to sell me a used Dodge clunker. There were about 200 new Jeeps sitting there.
I said ‘No, sir, can I look at a Jeep Cherokee?’
The salesman told me he couldn’t be expected to carry keys to all the cars in the lot. And anyway, it was out of my budget.
I asked, ‘And how did you know that, sir? I never mentioned a budget to you.’
Because he, you see, has had dealings with people like me before, and it was just a waste of time. Anyway, the Dodge clunker would be better than the old Japanese car I was driving anyway.
I told him, ‘No, sir, that isn’t my car at all.’
I was driving a 2015 Impala LTZ.
I walked off and went to a Ford dealership next door. Weird story continues. I was immediately paired with a salesman who insisted on speaking to me in Spanish, although I was replying in English. And again, he tried to sell me a test drive car with 3000 miles on it already. Because, of course, I would appreciate 7000 bucks off the price. By this time, I had had enough of this nonsense, and walked off the lot in about 15 minutes.
Hoping against hope, I went into the GM dealership across the road. I was pounced upon by a salesman immediately.
‘Can I show you an Equinox of the highest trim? And while you are here, have some coffee, and your daughter can have a hot chocolate — it’s cold outside,’ he said.
I told him, ‘Yeah, sure, but I don’t want one with leather seats. I hate leather seats.’
He assured me, ‘Sure, let’s take a look out in the lot.’
I was pretty impressed with the vehicle. It had nice bells and whistles, no leather seats, but not the highest trim. I wanted a longer test drive tomorrow before I made a decision. The man just handed me the keys and says I could keep the vehicle till tomorrow.
I asked, ‘Wait, what?’
He said, ‘Sure, sir, bring back the vehicle tomorrow.’
I was impressed. I did not take the vehicle, but returned at eight in the morning the next day, took the test drive I wanted, negotiated the price down, and drove out with a brand-new Equinox. And in all that interaction, there was not a disrespectful word about whether I could make the payment on the vehicle.
And to think, I wanted a Jeep Cherokee all this time. Well, that one salesman had spoiled it for me. I will never look for a Jeep again, and continue to buy GM.”
You’re Not Listening
“This was only about five years ago, my husband and I were shopping for our first new car. We had a budget set in mind and we’re only slightly flexible. We got to the local Ford dealership and of course, a salesman was at our car practically before we could get out of it. He talked to my husband first and barely acknowledged me, no shock there. Then he asked what we wanted to look at. My husband looked to me because I was the one who budgeted everything out.
I said, ‘We want to see any vehicles you have that are under 25 bucks. I would particularly like to look at a Focus and maybe a Fiesta, but if you have anything else under 25 bucks we will look at that as well.’
The salesman looked at my husband and then asked him, ‘So do you think you could go a little over because we have some great Ford Edges that are only a little more than that.’
My poor husband was fairly non-confrontational in these moments, and I was actually so shocked I became partially speechless. My husband just kind of nodded and we started off towards the lot away from all the cars and towards the SUVs. We got to the Ford Edge section, and I noticed immediately the cheapest one was already about 29 bucks. I stated my concerns to the salesman about how this was a good bit over our stated budget and we would like to see something closer to our budget. But specifically, we would like to see a focus or a fiesta. I was once again completely ignored as the salesman started telling my husband about all the amazing features blah blah blah.
He then said, ‘I’ll give you guys a minute to yourselves to talk it over just come see me over there when you’re ready.’
I was close to furious at this point. I told my husband that if the salesperson couldn’t acknowledge me then I did not want to do any kind of business here. And we needed to leave. I walked immediately to the car and my husband followed.
As we were trying to get in the vehicle, the salesman came over and started on another sales pitch to which I said, ‘You know maybe we can come back tomorrow and actually get to look at what we wanted to but for today we’re leaving.’
The idiot handed my husband his card and said, ‘I look forward to seeing you guys tomorrow then.’
We ended up getting a Toyota.”
“I went to a dealership once with full intent to buy a new vehicle. One that had been completely redesigned for the year and had good reviews. It wasn’t some sort of fancy sports car or a wild exotic one. Just a standard four-door family sedan. When I was not at work, I wore jeans and a t-shirt, so maybe I didn’t look the part of being able to afford the car. The salesman kind of led me around the showroom until we were discussing the vehicle behind the back of a man who was just standing there staring out the windows.
When I mentioned the vehicle again I was interested in test driving, the man turned to me and abruptly stated, ‘We don’t have time for looky-loos who aren’t serious about buying.’
Turned out this rude person was the owner of the dealership.
I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take my business elsewhere.’
I drove a few miles down the road to another dealership and bought the sister model of the car, the same basic car with different trim packages on the same day.
I then drove to the first dealership and pulled up outside the showroom and blew my new horn until the rude owner came out.
I rolled down the window and smiled and said, ‘How do you like my new car?’ and drove away.”
” ‘You fellows don’t want to buy a car today.’
Years ago I decided that being a young stud I wanted a Mustang. Maybe it should be said I needed a Ford Mustang but I was also cheap so I figured I would buy a used one. I also had a dad who loved to dicker especially when it came to cars. So he came up to the city I was living in, and off we went to go car shopping.
We looked at a few, and finally found one at a used car lot. We talked about what I wanted to pay and we started the dance. The salesman opened the hood and showed us the engine and everything else. He gave us a price, we gave a counter bid then he went to his manager. You know the game. He came back out with a lower offer. We talked it over and counter-offered. This went on for a couple of rounds. Did I mention I was cheap and so was my dad?
Finally, the salesman came up, slammed down the hood, and said, ‘You fellows don’t want to buy a car today.’
We went down the street, found Avis, and bought one a year newer with less mileage.
My dad told me after we left, ‘Do you think we should go back and tell him we bought a car today?’
Gosh, I miss that man!”