Dear Used Car Salesmen of the World

Dear Used Car Salesmen of the World,

Having recently shopped for a used car I thought I would point out an area that the vast majority of you could stand to improve in:

Let me help you out by sharing some examples of my interactions with salesmen. These are actual situations and quotes.

  1. You may notice that I call you by your name repeatedly as we talk. This is not because you have won my trust, this is because I am making fun of how you are using my name constantly in an attempt to sound friendly. You would try other methods of sounding friendly but you can’t think of any. This is because you have never liked, or been liked by, anyone.
  2. When you say, “So give me a price”, I will say, “That is funny. I came here because you were selling the car. Somehow in my twisted logic I thought that meant you would know the price”. No matter how hard you press, “Tell me what price you need to see, Josh”, I will continue to say, “I will need to see your best price, Steve.”
  3. There is no mystery to why I am looking for a used car. Please don’t pretend this is hard to understand. I explained this to a sales manager just last week. “‘Josh, why do you want to buy a used CR-V when there are all these new ones on the lot!’ ‘Well mike [leaning in close and said in a conspiratorial whisper] it just that…the used cars [looking around to make sure no one overheard, Mike leaning in closer]…well, the used ones…They are CHEAPER!'”
  4. Your attempts at pressuring me may make me finally say something like I said to one young idiotic salesman, “You may notice that when you say “Well, I guess you are not serious about buying” I wince. I am not wincing because I feel badly about my newly discovered lack of seriousness. I am wincing because I am embarrassed for you and your awkward attempts at pressuring me. You obviously deal with a lot of foolish and easily intimidated people. That is lucky for you, since those are the only kind of people you are qualified to deal with. Goodbye.”

I could go on, but I want to help you, not just point out all the reasons you should throw-up everytime you see yourself in the mirror (Wait, do you actually have a reflection?). So, a few suggestions.

  1. Every morning repeat 15 times. “I will try not to be a sociopath”.
  2. Watch people who aren’t used car salesmen. See how people sometimes like them? Try to be like those people.
  3. Strictly observe a national Used Car Salesman Day of Penance. On the last Saturday of each month you should engage in an appropriate activity from sunup to sundown, such as repeatedly poking yourself in the eye, punching yourself in the groin, or hitting your thumb with a hammer (bonus penance for combining all three).

Yours truly,

18 responses for Dear Used Car Salesmen of the World

  1. john says:

    Is it bad form to drive to each dealership, get out of the CR-V you bought elsewhere, wait for the salesman to come back and greet you then say “Oh, wait I forgot I bought one already from someone who wasn’t a weasel.”??

  2. john says:

    Also I would like to ask – here, since the previous post seemed wrong for it – Do any of these things make you want to cry:

    Raindrops on roses And whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles And warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages Tied up with strings

    Cream-colored ponies And crisp apple strudels Doorbells and sleighbells And schnitzel with noodles Wild geese that fly With the moon on thir wings

    Girls in white dresses With blue satin sashes Snowflakes that stay On my nose and eyelashes Silver white winters That melt into springs

    When the dog bites, When the bee stings, When you’re feeling sad

  3. I particularly enjoy the imagery of a car salesmen poking himself in the eye and punching himself in the groin. Beautiful. . . nay, majestic! Thank you sir! That is now one of my favorite things.

  4. Kevin says:

    I got a kick out of this entry, I guess it’s because I recently bought a used car and can relate to what you said.

    My personal favorite trick is when they sit you down in the room, you tell them you aren’t willing to pay more than a certain amount each month, so the first thing they do is tell you they can get the monthly payment down to whatever you said + $100, just so they’ll have room to come down and act like you’re getting a steal.

    99% of used car dealers give the rest a bad name.

  5. shawn says:

    Ahh! The used car salesman…the bane of all society. I remember going to a used car lot in Salt Lake (Larry H. Miller) and explaining to the salesweasle that I could not afford the car he wanted to sell me because I was on a fixed income and had a family to feed (just Lisa and I at the time, BUT WE STILL HAD TO EAT). He responded by sheepishly pointing over to a picture of his family and explaining that he too had a family to feed and if I bought that car now I would get a free pup tent. That was the end of the conversation.

    My hatred for car salesmen was deepened when I worked at Saturn of Orem. It was then that I realized that you cannot be a good salesweasle and be decent. It just will never happen. It is against the laws of nature. In the future, when robots sell cars, the first question from the robot, in a monotone robot voice, will be, “What kind of car can I get you into today?” If not the world would turn inside-out and mankind would cease to exist. Look it up in the D&C if you don’t believe me.

  6. martin says:

    You forget that Josh is a gifted salesman, and if his family’s well being depended on his selling cars watch out – you would buy whatever he’s selling.

  7. aporitic says:

    Excellent point, and certainly true enough, but there is a worse group; a group of people that, as a profession, make used car salespeople look like soup kitchen volunteers. I’m talking about real estate agents.

    Oh sure, you say you know so-and-so and she’s a real estate agent and she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet. That is only because you aren’t “looking”.

    Just hint sometime that you might be thinking about getting into something else and watch the nostrils flare . . . there, did you see it? It happens because even the highly refined zip-off skin and the years of special behavioral training cannot hide the visceral appetite awakened by a whiff of blood.

    The current leading scientific theory is that Satan awards his very “best” minions with stints in the real estate business as a form of R&R; a reward for excelling in the destruction of human virtue.

    It is also a little known fact that C.S. Lewis was planning to write a sequel to The Screwtape Letters about this elite group of “soul drinkers” but the horrors he uncovered in preparing for the book nearly drove him mad.

    So, while I agree that it is best to keep one hand on your assets if you are upwind of a used car lot, you are not truly imperiled unless you are househunting.

  8. dave says:

    I once made an offer on a car with this sales guy and he went back into this room and someone else came back and gave me a higher price but informed me that with my monthly payments it was exactly where I wanted to be. I was like, “strange, I thought that I wanted to be paying lower than that. Oh well, used car sales manager knows best.” Then all the truth came crashing down on me and I stiffened my back and gave him the finger as I strutted out of the place. Another guy took my license as I was test driving a vehicle. They wanted too much, so I said “fine then, give me back my license.” 15 minutes later the guy comes walking back with my license. I looked at him like, “what the Hell?” Man, the games these guys play. so weird. I was this close to kicking him in the groin and then walking out.

  9. Robert G. Barton, Esq. says:

    All this talk about dishonorable professions and noone has mentioned lawyers, whew…., I am beginning to have some self esteem again.

  10. chris says:

    this open letter should not be restricted to just used car salesmen. there are plenty of professions out there that could benefit from such advice. off the top of my head i’m thinking of: door-to-door salesmen telemarketers lawyers building contractors the airline industry i could go on but this is a good start.

  11. martin says:

    I think the opinioins on this site are leaning toward the anti-salesite. Why is it no longer OK to heap ridicule on all members of an ethnicity, or religious faction because of the deeds of a few of thier members, while hate-language directed toward professions is open season? I’m just saying . . . . .

  12. a letter to used car salesmen

    [i am reprinting this for my friend zack (or “bob” as he is also known) who is just getting into the used car business. uh, nice knowin’ ya, buddy.] Dear Used Car Salesmen of the World, Having recently shopped for…

  13. dave says:

    I’m going to go into sales and subvert this terrible stereotype. Each person that asks me a questions, I’m going to tell him, “well, I’m not you, why don’t you just think about it and then decide for yourself.” or “you did test drive it, did you like it? do you like another car more? Than buy that one then.” “It seems that nine out of ten people that buy cars here regret their decision, you might consider that. But my first statement would be this, “the people in the office upper management are lying rats. They put this sticker price on there, when they could easily go lower. Yesterday a fellow grinded me down 3 thousand lower than the sticker, and between me and you, I think we could get them down another thousand.”

  14. dayment says:

    I’d like to add gym membership weasels to the list.

  15. Brian says:

    Dear Josh, You gotta help me out here. I’m trying to work with you. Just tell me how much you want to pay for the car. Let’s talk trade-in. And, c’mon, don’t you want me to make some profit on this deal? I’ve got overhead to deal with, you know, lighting and all that. It’s not easy being me. Besides, all that matters is your monthly payment, right? You suggested watching other, what was the word, people? What are those? -Steve Car Salesman.

  16. JJ says:

    I am seriously thinking about selling cars and becoming a professional. By the way the word professional means..(putting more time into it then you expect to get out of it). I can see that i will have a uphill battle, because i am a honest person,therefore i quess i will lose my job for not ripping people off enough or maybe just maybe i will start a new era of (THE HONEST CAR SALESMEN).If things are really as bad as they sound i hope judgement day comes soon so all this crap can stop.

  17. E. Anon says:

    In reference to an earlier question, “When the dog bites” makes me cry.

  18. JC says: is a great site for dealing with salesweasels. It’s focused more on new car purchase, but most of the same general rules apply. I bought a new car a couple months ago for about 4000 less than the sticker price and 1000 less than the salesperson — my boss’s daughter no less — said was the absolute minimum, their cost…

    The bit about names is too funny. I’ve noticed some waitstaff do a version of that; they don’t know your name, so they just count you: “How are you two doing?” “Are the seven of you enjoying your appetizers? Can I bring you seven a pitcher or two of margaritas?” “Are you sixty-five in the mood for dessert this evening?”