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I emphasized the "new" in my blog title, because my first experience in a dealership happened when I was young--about 22 or 23--and had never had a new car before. I worked for Ma Bell back then. This was before AT&T's breakup. I worked the midnight shift and was putting in tons of overtime. I worked on the weekends as well. Needless to say, I didn't have much of a life but my savings account was growing.
I spent my newfound wealth on getting my first very own apartment. No more roommates! I paid cash for furniture, a stereo, kitchen items, and more. At that time, I had an old Chevy that I paid $200 cash for after I graduated from high school. I wanted a new car! I could afford a new car! I had $6000.00 saved up for a down payment and it was burning a hole in my wallet.
I loved Toyota trucks. I wanted a brand new one with all the bells and whistles, so I went to my local Toyota dealership and saw the love of my life on four wheels in the showroom. Angels sang and violins played as I salivated over what I knew would be MY new truck. Then IT happened. A salesman approached me.
Rather than treat me as someone who was a serious car buyer, he treated me like I was a 16-year old female who needed to be shown how one so young really buys a car. He proceeded to take me out to the back lot and show me some severely stripped down models. I insisted on test driving the one in the showroom, but he wouldn't listen. He kept trying to show me all the features in what I thought was an ugly truck. He kept emphasizing the low payments I would have. He kept ignoring my requests to go back to the showroom. He kept getting on my nerves and making me angry.
I kept telling him I had a good down payment and an excellent credit record. I kept telling him I had done my research and had checked out my finances and knew what I could afford as a monthly payment. I kept telling him I wanted the bells and whistles model in the showroom. He kept ignoring me, so I left. He gave me his card and I threw it away.
I went to another Toyota dealership and encountered a salesman who treated me like a real customer, not like a stupid girl who didn't know anything about buying a "boy's toy." The other salesman wanted to know why I wanted to buy a truck. This salesman asked me about my down payment, he ran a credit check, he showed me the trucks I wanted to see, he discussed the truck's features with me, and he even let me take it for a test drive. Imagine that! I walked away with a 1982 Toyota SR5 with only 8 miles on the odometer! That made me smile. I finally felt like a responsible adult.
I wonder if my initial experience in a dealership is still the typical experience for young women who want to buy a new car.