Last week I bought a new car.
I didn’t want to but I had to since my lease expires next month. On Saturday, Dave and I headed to the dealer to test drive the Nissan Rogue. We had no intention of purchasing anything just yet but you know how pushy car salesmen are.
After hours of back and forth, Dave located the car that most closely matched my wants/needs on a competitor’s lot. The sales manager said that dealer was picking up one of their cars on Monday and owed them a trade. With a smile and a wink he assured me he’d get “my” car and have it ready for immediate delivery.
Now, I’m not a sentimental kinda person; especially not when it comes to things like borrowed vehicles. But I hold a special place for my Toyota Rav4. I bought it when I was living alone in Milwaukee doing the single-mom thing, at the height of my career (read: pulling in a great salary. Also read: selling my soul).
I watched that career fade in its rear view mirror before parking it in the driveway of my stay-at-home life. I’ve relied on it heavily for my DIY adventures. This car’s so awesome that my best friend bought the exact same one. Exactly the same. Which totally simplified our occasional girl’s nights out. It’s like all of who I was and everything I have become rode shotgun and it was just hard to let go. So, no it wasn’t the plan but it was time to cut the cord.
Rip that band-aid off you know? It’s just a car I kept telling myself.
Fast forward 36-hours. Salesguy calls to say the new Rogue is on their lot, ready to go. He’s not feeling well and heading home early but his coworker will fill in for our 6:30 pm appointment. I smell an opportunity to prolong parting with my last shred of independence and ask to reschedule entirely. And so it goes, we’ll head up the following evening to swap vehicles.
Only, I have this nagging feeling… So, I let my fingers do the walking. If the internet is good for anything it’s keeping you in your jammies on the couch researching things. I pull up the inventory for the other Nissan dealer in town where the car was being transported from. Sure enough, it was still listed in their database. I realize digital data is only as reliable as the folks responsible to maintain it but when that little “Chat Live Now!” window floated across my screen I decided to check my gut.
I copied and pasted the VIN number of *my* car into the little window and “Linda” quickly got to work pulling the vehicle’s information up for me.
Linda: I’ve got great news! This car is in our inventory. When would you like to come in for a test drive?
Me: Do you mean it’s in your database? Or do you mean it’s sitting on your lot?
Linda: I just pulled up the information and it’s coded ‘in stock’ in our system. What day works best for you to come in?
Me: So does that mean it’s in your database or on your lot?
Linda: The computer pulled up the information so how about I send you a price quote and reserve a time for you to come and see us! What’s your email address?
Sigh. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to do a little comparison shopping. I might as well see what they would have charged me if I’d driven over and started haggling with them directly. It’s not like I was ever going to walk into their showroom.
When I got the email from the Internet Sales Manager there was pricing for both the car I asked about and an alternative vehicle. Since the latter was more expensive, I figured this was their way of upselling since they didn’t have the car I wanted.
I probably should have just deleted that email and camped out on the couch. But, I didn’t. Instead I grabbed my cell and called the manager, Sherri, up. I tried really hard to keep my cool, introduced myself and asked her to please confirm that the first car she quoted was, indeed, still available.
Now, I’m going to guess that in the 9+ years she’s been doing this she’s come across an irate customer or ninety. She picked up on my irritable vibe and put me on hold to personally check the lot. When she confirmed that yes, the car was parked outside, I lost it.
Now, let’s make sure we are all on the same page here.
After 5 hours in Dealership #1 we located the car over at Dealership #2. Sales Manager #1 says he will get that car for me “no problem”. Dave forks over $1000.00 deposit. At 12:00 pm on delivery day, Salesguy #1 calls to confirm they have the car and says I can pick it up at 6:30 pm. At 8:30 pm that same night, I contact Dealership #2, speak to Sales Manager #2 who physically confirms that the car is sitting right outside her office.
So, exactly which damn car is supposed to be sitting IN MY DRIVEWAY? Good question.
Now listen. I’m not going to continue this post by cataloging the numerous times Dealership #1 folks had to bend the truth to maintain their original lie. I’m actually a tad thankful for the opportunity to remind the kid that lying does not pay. And there’s no need to add to the common presumption that all car sales people are slimy.
No, the remainder of this space is dedicated to a quirky ginger who managed to restore my faith in customer service and the car-buying process.
Early Monday morning I’m sitting across from Sherri confirming the details of the ‘price match’ deal she’s offered up. I knew I liked her when she called me back Saturday night and started the conversation with “Hey, here’s the deal…” I could tell she was real and wasn’t going to blow sunshine up my bum. So, when, in similar fashion, she removed herself from the conversation because she was technically the boss and supposed to let the actual sales people, you know, sell we shared a quick “man, this delegation crap bites huh?” look and she introduced me to Anthony.
Don’t be fooled into thinking she pawned me off on some wet-behind-the-ears newb because Anthony, it turns out, has actually been selling cars for quite a while. And I, apparently, wasn’t his first indecisive customer. He made no qualms when he had to run clear across the lot, in frigid temps and shin high snow drifts, to retrieve this other car I had seen online and might be interested in considering. It was the same make but a model year older. Anthony had no issue with jumping back into the second car and pulling it around the building, right up alongside the 2014 Rogue so I could do some comparison shopping.
And, Anthony maintained a jolly composure when, after a solid 30 minutes of opening up this door, sliding in and across the seat to exit that door, jumping into the other car to repeat the process, then climbing in the 2013’s backseat to measure quick only to hop out and whip open the 2014’s trunk to see if maybe there was just a tad more room in there, I surely would have driven every other car salesman to drink, heavily, if for no other reason than to return feeling to their frozen limbs.
So why do you suppose this guy entertained my insanity? Was he a saint? Did he stand to make a hefty commission off the sale? Had he lost a bet with his boss? Did he think I would throw my hands up in the air, incapable of making a decision and just buy both damn cars?
Anthony knew exactly how to deal with my absurdity because his wife rescues unwanted curbside treasures too. He was familiar with my condition. So dude spent an entire afternoon hashing out the pluses and minuses of the vehicle’s redesign. He pointed out a few downsides to the fancy upgrades in the 2014 that might impede the shove-ability of rehashed trash. Seriously, he contemplated pitfalls that I’d encounter that 99.8% of all others he’d dealt with in the last 10 months would never, ever have to consider.
And he did it all with a freaking smile. A sincere one, not a forced get-this-crazy-chick-the-hell-out-of-my-cubicle smile. He wasn’t anything like the pushy salesguy over at the other dealership.
And I never had to question his integrity.
So, when at long last I signed on the dotted line (okay, let’s get real – I don’t work so you know Dave is the one who bought me the car) I was stoked that Anthony had another salesguy snap a picture of us next to my new partner in DIY crime.
Rico took one for me too.
If you’re in the market for a car or just having a shitty day and need to laugh, stop in and see Anthony at Rosen Nissan, 5505 S. 27th Street, Milwaukee, WI. I hear they’ve got a sweet Rav4 with low miles for sale.
“Great Cars – Great People” indeed.