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06 October 2010

Sexism is still strong in sales

If you've been paying attention to my tweets and my FB, you'll know that I'm looking to buy a car. A VW Jetta TDI Sedan, to be more precise. I'm excited about buying it because it is a great car and it looks great. However, the problem lies in the fact that I refuse to get "taken" during this process. I know that car dealers are out to make a buck, but I want them to make as little as possible off of me. I know how much I want to pay, and I'm not going to compromise that number. I've always heard that car salesmen treat women poorly, but I'd never experienced it so I really didn't understand. Well, after tonight, I can safely say that I've been indoctrinated into the sexist world of car sales. It wasn't overt sexism but enough to frustrate me.

I had been working with a young guy (who is actually from my dad's hometown!), and I was pleased. I walked in tonight to begin dealing after test-driving last night. They didn't really seem to want to haggle or negotiate which was disappointing because I'd been prepping all day! They came down in price by a few hundred, but I kept telling them that I had seen lower prices elsewhere. The young guy I was working with went to get the financial manager (who I had met yesterday), and the financial manager sat down to set me straight. He didn't say this, but it was clearly his intention. He began talking about his "invoice" price, and I said, "I know how your invoice pricing works."

He looked at me, skeptically and said, "Oh yeah? You do? Well tell me."

I told him that I was well aware of his "invoice" price and how it isn't really an invoice price. It is what the factory lists as an invoice, but dealers get considerable discounts and reductions. He quickly reassured me that the dealership got absolutely no discounts and the number he showed me was indeed the invoice. I told him that, if that was the case, then I'll have to pass. At this point, I can tell he's annoyed.

"Well, when you go to those other dealers and discover that they've lied to you, you'll see us again."

Seriously? That's how you want to sell a car? Bully me into it? I don't think so. I told him thanks and started to follow him out of the office. VW is doing this whole "1960s-tye-died" thing so all of the office doors have psychedelic beaded curtains. As he walked out, he didn't shake me hand, didn't say goodbye, didn't acknowledge me, and then let the beads close directly in front of my nose. WTF?!

Up to that point, I was fully prepared to come back and resume negotiations at another time. After his pouty-boy, temper-tantrum behavior, there is no way in hell I will go back there to buy a vehicle. No. Way.

I know that women are generally treated as idiots by salesmen, but I'm not your average woman. I research. I talk. I shop around. I'm not willing to walk in and be taken advantage of. I don't walk in blind, looking to be taken care of. And I'm willing to walk away. This guy's behavior was ridiculous. Acting like a spoiled child because you can't buffalo some little lady isn't going to help you make the sale. Grow up and be a man. :)
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