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Won’t Be Test-Driving That Bad Attitude Anytime Soon

| Working | April 10, 2017

Several years ago I was in the market for a pickup truck. I notice a shiny red 4×4 on the front line of our town’s local dealership and pull in for a closer look. It’s doors are locked, and although I could see several salesmen glued to the front window of the building, looking for customers, nobody comes out to help.

I decide to go in and make myself known. To my surprise, nobody will even look at me, much less greet me. They aren’t exactly busy either. Eventually I get tired of being ignored and approach one of the offices. The salesman inside looks bored. He has his head propped on his hand and is scrolling through something on the computer. I stand there politely, waiting for him to see me. Finally I say “Hello!” quite audibly. After a moment’s pause, I get an “Mmmph” response. I tell him I’d like to have a look inside the red 4×4 in the front row. All he can muster is a “Yeah” and begrudgingly gets up and locates a set of keys.

I lead him across the lot to the truck. He unlocks the door and I sit inside. When I get out he quickly closes the door and locks it, then starts heading back into the building. Bewildered, I ask, “Can we go for a test drive?” to which he says, “Nope. We get lots of kids in here looking at vehicles. We waste time getting plates and going for a ride, then we never see them again. If you want to go for a ride we need to do the financing first.” He then turns and goes back inside without saying another word.

I get back in my car and leave. I go to a dealer of the same brand in another town and promptly buy a truck from them. On my way home I can’t resist. I stop at the first dealer and park right in front of the building. I go inside and ask to see the sales manager. I go inside his office, take my paperwork out, and put it on his desk. “I came in here yesterday ready to buy that red 4×4 from you guys. I like to keep my money local, but I was made to feel like I was wasting your time because I’m a ‘kid.’ Incidentally, I’m 29 if that makes any difference. Instead, I went to your competitor in [Neighboring Town] and actually bought this more expensive truck from them,” I said, putting my finger under the price on the sheet. “You guys must be doing exceptionally well to be able to turn customers away like that. Your buddy’s–” *motioning towards the salesman who had given me the brush* “–attitude towards younger customers has cost you my business.”

A few days later I saw the same red 4×4, wearing dealer plates, broken down on the side of the highway ramp. Had I been allowed to go, the ‘test drive’ would have been an interesting one!

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