There is a lot of talk about consumer spending being down. I want to tell you that one reason consumer spending is down it is because customer service has diminished. The facts are out there. I don’t feel I’m the only person in the world experiencing horrible or less that adequate service. I want to give you an example.
The other day my family and I were looking at new cars. We called prior to going to establish a relationship with a sales associate. I told him our name and clearly stated, “We are looking for a NEW CAR, under this price range. We need a warranty for 50,000 miles.”
“Sure, I can certainly do that.” The sales associate responded.
Now at the dealership we are driving around in a used car with 48,000 miles that cost $50,000 and has a rancid odor. Are you kidding me?
“How do you like the car?”
“What’s the smell?” asked our son.
The salesman ignores his question. Then he turns the air conditioning on full blast. Then he begins to talk to my husband about the navigation system.
“Hmm, it’s nice, but I don’t like the fact it has 48,000 miles on it. Is it under warranty?” I ask.
“Miles? Ahhhhhhhh, that’s just a number. Cars these days can be driven up to 200,000 with never having problems. If you feel comfortable you can purchase a warranty.”
“Hmmm, Don’t the new cars have warranty?”
“New cars are under warranty for 50,000 miles. All your maintenance is free on a new car.”
“Does this car have a warranty?”
“No, but for a few thousand you can buy one.”
“Is there anything included on this used car?”
“Where are the floor mats?”
“That will be negotiated between us men here.”
“So there isn’t any?”
“For a price anything can be added.”
We arrive back at the dealership after our ten minute drive. “Thanks for showing us the car. We’re going to eat dinner now.” I stated with a smile.
“Just come inside for a minute so we can talk about the car.” The sales man leads my husband off into the dark side of the dealership, into a glass cubical with small modern leather chairs.
“Honey, can we talk for a minute?” I gingerly ask my spouse.
“I need him to come with me,” states the man. My husband follows him. It is clearly evident I was not welcomed. I sat in the lobby on the other side of the dealership. I feverishly search for my phone to text my husband. I want to warn him about this man’s intentions. I also want to let him know how much I feel this car is a really bad investment. My cell phone battery is dead. The phone is completely shut down. My child is playing Angry Birds on his. “Let me have your phone for a second.”
“No, you have one.”
“Mine is dead. Let me use yours.”
“Give it to me please…” I begin to reach for it but he’s quick. He’s pulling away, turning around all while still playing the game.
“If you don’t give me your phone; I’m going to ground you from all your video games.”
“Fine, let me finish.”
“Noooo, I need it now. I don’t want dad to buy the car.” As I finish the statement my husband is walking towards me. Phew he didn’t buy the car.
“I need my wallet.”
“No, no you don’t.”
“I don’t want the car.”
“I thought you wanted the car. I was doing this for you.”
“Well, the salesman would not give me a chance to tell you that I didn’t want it. It’s old, used, smells bad, over priced and not under warranty.”
“Then go tell him we don’t want the car. I was about to sign some papers.”
I walked over the small glass desk with leather chairs, “I’m sorry but you clearly misunderstood our intentions. I told you earlier we were coming to look for a NEW CAR, with warranty and under $X. This car you are trying to sell my husband does not qualify for any of those things. You have multiple new cars that do meet our requirements, but yet you never showed them to us. I also told you we had not looked at any other cars. In the event we had found a car we liked we would have not bought it tonight without thinking about it first.”
The man looked at me with a shocked expression. He extended his hand. “It was nice working with you folks. I wish you great luck in the future.”
My husband, son and I went to dinner. We were sitting at the table having a great meal, talking about the car. “So, you didn’t like the car?” He ask me.
“The car is nice if it’s free, but it’s not. It’s over our budget, old and with 48,000 miles.”
“I know. I thought it was crazy we were looking at used cars. Why was he showing us used cars when they were so many new cars in our price range?”
“I wish you would have spoken up.”
“I tried. The man kept talking or started talking each time I tried to speak.”
“You could have just said what you said when we finally left. In the future just yell or something like you do when we’re home and I mess things up.”
“I was trying to be nice.”
“Nice isn’t going to cut it when we’re buying a car.”
Our son interjects, “So you’re giving mom permission to be rude in public?”
“That’s so cool.”
We laughed and finished dinner. We drove back home in our old car enjoying each other’s company. It might have been a bad almost car buying experience, but at least we had each other to laugh with about it afterwards.