Whenever we discuss dealerships, we often view these businesses from the driver’s perspective. However, as someone who’s constantly writing about cars, I was also curious about the sales team’s point of view during any negotiation. Specifically, I wanted to know about some of their craziest selling experiences, especially when it came to test drivers.
Fortunately, Reddit has hooked us up. Current and former dealership employees recently posted some of their wildest test driving experiences, providing us with both plenty of entertainment and some insight into what these individuals have to deal with. Take a look at the stories below, and you may be a bit nicer the next time you head into car dealerships…
This first story from u/Whose_ear describes why anyone (including dealership salespeople) should never judge a book (or, in this case, customer) by its cover:
- “I had a dirty looking guy with long, greasy hair want to test drive a Cadillac. We had a pre-planned route for test drives, but he turned the opposite way out of the dealership and told me he wanted to go his own way. At this point, he was acting somewhat strange, like nothing specific, just odd mannerisms. We drove a couple miles and I started getting a bit scared that I was going to be on the 6 o’clock news when suddenly he pulled into an ice cream place. He bought us both ice cream cones and we ate them as he checked out the engine, then we drove back and he left. It was nice.”
However, these dealerships are surely coming across a number of customers who don’t have the best intentions. Take, u/Black_Cat_5, whose friend was manipulated into cabbing a “prospective buyer” around town…
- “Friend’s story: a customer took a Mazda sedan for a test drive and midway pulled over and asked to swap with the salesman to experience the car from the passenger seat. Just as they were about to drive off again he says he feels sick and can’t go on, and thanks for his time. Turns out he just wanted a lift into town.”
If you’re spending time reading about cars, there’s a good chance that you understand a whole lot about the car-buying experience. However, some consumers are completely ignorant when it comes to this specific negotiation. If they aren’t ignorant, then they’re just plain dumb, as they tend to forget that a dealership is a business and their salesperson is an employee. Take this story from u/roflcopterswtams for instance:
- “Not a salesman but once I went to a Mazda dealership to test drive an RX-8. The salesman was a talkative dude, and to make conversation I asked him what was the craziest thing he’s seen on the job. He told me he let a guy test drive an RX-8 as well and that the dude absolutely loved it. Before buying it though, he had to go show his mom to see if she would approve. Dude asked the salesman “Can I go show this to my mom to see if she approves?” Salesman said, “Of course.” The dude doesn’t come back after a few hours so the salesman calls him up and the dude lets him know he’s on his way to New Orleans to show his mom.. the dealership was in South Texas. The dude shows up a day or so later and buys the car. Salesman is relieved because he would have been fired and then some.”
One of the main risks of going on a test drive with a potential buyer is not knowing if they’re actually capable of driving a vehicle. Fortunately, u/isthisonealsotaken wasn’t injured, but the story confirms why salespeople constantly have to be on guard when they’re behind the wheel with a stranger.
“A year or so ago an old man was test driving an F150 and when we got back to the lot he insisted on backing it into the parking space himself. There was a BMW behind us and it looked like he was going to hit it, so I offered to get out and move it. “I’m not gonna hit it,” he said. “Sir we’re getting awful close, put the vehicle in park for me.”
“I’m not gonna hit the damn car!” crunch
I basically said “Well there it was.” and hopped out. Showed him the damage and he insisted he didn’t do it. I think he was just embarrassed and panicked a bit. I would have worked something out with him since the damage wasn’t all that bad, but he called me a liar, hopped in his truck and left so I called the police. He wound up paying a couple hundred bucks for the damage.”
Finally, these sales members tend to come across plenty of customers who don’t intend on buying a vehicle at all. While a good portion of this particular visitors are indeed shopping for the best price on a particular vehicle, many of them are instead simply looking to complete some errands (via u/ first_is_also_a_verb)
- “I work at a used dealership. We sell all types of vehicles, but our most popular vehicle in this area is a full-size pickup. We always have at least 5 or 10. Early December 2 years ago, we had a dude come in and he was looking around at our cars. He said he was interested in a Focus wagon and wanted to take it for a test drive. No problem man, have a good time. He came back about 45 minutes later, said it wasn’t what he was looking for, and rushed off. I went to put the car away and noticed it smelled like pine. The asshole loaded a Christmas tree in the back and took it home, then brought our car back. Why couldn’t he have just used a truck?”
As you can see, salespeople tend to go through their fair share of risks when they go on a test drive. Therefore, consider being a bit nicer to them the next time you head into a dealership…