Adventures of Alyssa in a Car Dealership

(A True Story)

or: How to Not Buy a Car in an Ungodly Amount of Steps

Step 1: Realize that your beloved old Stella is on her way to the big parking garage in the sky. Set yourself a deadline to replace her before you need to renew her registration in November.

Step 2: Make your mind up 15 different times about buying vs. leasing and what kind of car you want.

Step 3: Remember how your little sedan got stuck in the snow three times in one week last winter, in addition to every other close call. Decide on a pre-owned small SUV because mama's ballin' on a budget and also because your brothers will yell at your if you buy new again.

Step 4: Set your heart back on the car you've wanted off and on for the past eight years.

Step 5: Tell both your brothers what car you want and have them instruct you to get a different one. Ignore advice. Talk at them until they change their minds and offer you the advice you want to hear.

Step 6: Spend a half hour on and email 15 different dealerships within 30 miles with the car you want on the lot.

Step 7: Ignore most of their automated response emails until you get one from the dealership .6 miles away from your office.

Step 8: Go there after work, ready to buy, without telling anyone, including your car-enthusiast uncle who lives two miles away and who would kill you for buying a used car without him driving it first.

Step 9: Meet with a salesman who resembles a Hispanic hobbit and never tells you his name. Glance at his ID badge, giggle, and refuse to say his name out loud because it's a euphemism for the male organ of love and because you have the maturity of your best friend's four-day-old baby.

Step 10: Endure the most awkward small talk ever while HH forgets how to spell "Ford" when taking information on your potential trade-in.

Step 11: Go for a test drive having barely talked car with HH at all.

Step 12: Have the following conversations on said test drive:
HH: So what do you do?
Me: I work in publishing.
HH: What do you do there?
Me: I'm a writer.
HH: Really? Like, really? You actually write the stuff?
Me: Yeah, I'm a writer.
HH: I've never met one of those.
Me: ....
HH: (Referring to my current vehicle) (Incredulously:) How did you end up in a two-door?!
Me: I was 18 and I thought it was cute and I wanted it?
HH: Dumb move!
Me: Okay.
Me: (Trying not to make the ride more awkward:) I tend to be the one driving whenever we go out so yeah, it's a little inconvenient trying to maneuver people into the backseat.
HH: Yeah especially when you're all drunk!
Me: Well I'm usually the one driving because I don't really drink all that much and don't get drunk.
HH: Hah, you suck.
Me: Okay.
HH: You go to the city at all?
Me: When I'm in the mood for it. I love having it at arm's reach but I haven't been in much lately, just haven't had much reason to.
HH: Yeah you don't look like you go clubbing.
Me: Okay. [Because that's literally all there is to do in NYC, I guess?]
HH: You snowboard at all?
Me: No, never tried. Want to give it a shot eventually though.
HH: You should, but definitely get drunk first. It's more fun that way.
Me: Sounds like a good way to get hurt when you don't know what you're doing on a snowboard.
HH: Nah, it doesn't hurt that bad.
Me: ...
HH: So will you show me something you've written?
Me: No.
Step 13: Return to the dealership as HH tells you, "You're not that bad a driver! Just a little." Reassure yourself that you're a good driver, especially for being born and raised in NJ.

Step 14: Hand over information on your trade-in. Assume HH has scampered off to the appraiser, but remain unsure because he didn't tell you where he was going when he got up and left.

Step 15: Browse Reddit on your phone for 20 minutes while you sit at his desk alone. Drain your battery to 39%.

Step 16: Tell yourself if he hasn't come back in five minutes you're getting up and leaving.

Step 17: See HH return four minutes later. As he writes your information down again and gives you no answers, sit quietly.

Step 18: Roll your eyes as HH says, "All the other guys keep asking me if you're a model." Ask why. Hear, "Because of the way you walk. And look at you*!" Laugh uncomfortably. Hear, "These guys, ya know?" Give yourself a migraine with the intensity of the ensuing eye-roll.
*Swear to god, not a humble brag. It was ridiculous. I mean, I'm 5'4. Show me a model shorter than 5'10 and I'll show you a liar. XP

Step 19: Remind HH of the numbers you told him in the car of how high you wanted to go with monthly payments.

Steps 20-25: Have HH run back and forth between you and "the bank" (?), each time returning with numbers that are not in the same ballpark as what you said. Inform him each time that the right price is more important than driving something new home today and thank him for his time as you try to leave.

Step 26: Have HH come back one last time with his manager, who you thank and tell you're not buying a car today. Inform them that you're aware they did what they could, but you're not making this big a change of plans on five minutes notice. Stand up and try to leave.

Step 27: Have manager try to talk you into leasing a new and completely different car when you've already said several times in no uncertain terms that you don't want to lease and that you don't want to buy new. Remind them also that, as you said earlier, you have no problem not buying today because this is literally the first car you've looked at and you're not going that far outside your comfort zone without looking down different avenues first.

Step 28: Have manager tell you he's going to call you every day this week.

Step 29: Have HH wink at you as he hands over his card and cell phone number.

Step 30: Leave with Stella and go to Chipotle because it's National Guacamole Day and and remember that you still have a month and a half until your self-imposed November deadline.

Happy Hump Day.


  1. what a nightmare!!! i hate car buying. esp the part when trying to get the car down to what you want to pay for it and the manager coming out and how unbelievable of a deal this is and yada yada!!!

  2. Oh dear. Ugh I tell you they dont make fun of car salesmen without good reason!!! lol at least you have some time and you'll be replacing Stella soon...

    Also .... driving drunk? Whadda fool.

  3. oh my stars girl. My husband was a car salesman for 2 years. He told me some HORROR stories about the guys he worked with and the shit they pull on their customers. It's disgusting. I would say bring your dad or a male figure when purchasing a car because they will rip you off. And make sure the guy you bring is not 70-80 years old. They loooooooooove taking advantage of them. Just wow. This has me speechless. I am going to show this post to my husband when he gets home. He will probably have flashbacks!

  4. ughhh what a tool! seriously, i would have complained to the manager about how skeezy he was being - gross! this is why people don't like car salesmen, especially used! we had a lot of trouble with a big dealership when we were looking for a new (used) car about all the same things, price was like double what we said, and then miraculously closer to what we said and we were like so you were just trying to take advantage of us? nice. they called us like every day for a month, after we had already gone to a smaller family owned dealership and had a no muss no fuss transaction and got a new (used) car, for less than the shitty car the other dealership wanted to sell us.

  5. Well that is quite the story!! But of course he/everyone there thought you were a model you gorgeous girl!!! I am so happy I don't own a car or have any plans to in the near future - so many issues and problems!! Can't wait to see what you decide to go with!!

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  7. Sounds AWFUL. Drunk snowboarding sounds like possibly the worst idea ever (if you HAD to combine alcohol with a sport ever, snowboarding is not one of them). I'm impressed that you managed to make nice conversation with him! Good luck on the rest of your car searches, and I'm sorry that Stella doesn't appear to be getting her groove back :/

  8. Oh my goshhhh! How awkward & inappropriate! I don't think I would have made it through that much convo and interaction without coming across as incredibly rude. I'm sorry you weren't able to get your car though- especially after putting up with all of THAT! :

  9. oh you model you! take someone with you next time.

  10. You should have back handed the little hobbit during the test drive.
    He had the worst sales technique of anyone I have ever heard of!!!!
    So glad you didn't buy a car from that little punk.

  11. Ummm...what?! Those conversations are crazy. I'm not a complainer but I would have been really tempted to talk to management or something after that. I hope you can find your dream car from someone who isn't a sleazeball!

  12. it sounds to me like you met the worst car salesman in the entire universe! good luck finding the right car though, car salesmen are a special breed...

  13. Buying my first car as an adult wasn't a pleasant experience for me either. I hate how it's all about bargaining and upselling. Like - I'm being upfront, don't waste my time! It's sad to say but things were noticeably better when my husband was there with me. I hated how salesmen completely directed themselves to him but at least I was free to roam around while he got the sale schpiel.


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