I bought a car again and when you buy a car you submit yourself to lies and deceit and interest rates. You know that that you didn’t get the best deal because they sold you the car. I want the deal where they won’t sell me the car. And I got that deal four times. I walked into the dealership, said I’m waaaaalkin’ outta the door if you don’t give me this car! THIS ONE RIGHT HERE! …But in a metallic blue-ish gray and also stick-shift and it wouldn’t hurt to have the sunroof and heated seats and the lighting package! And I want it…for less! Or I’m walkin’ right out! And they said sorry bud. To which I said, I’m gone! Watch me go!

And they watched, four times. The conversations I had with the sales guy was like hitting a sponge with a hammer. I was obviously the hammer and he was the sponge and every time I’d make some sort of low offer, he’d absorb the blow and say, “Yeah, I mean I doubt they’ll do that. Here’s probably the lowest they’ll go.” And I said see ya later! …Tuesday good for you?

I thought the customer was always right. I thought I knew what I was doing.

I thought he would say, “Let’s meet in the middle!” And I’d say, “HA! Youuuu scoundrel, you!

Him: Thirty!|
Me: Ten!
Him: Twenty!
Me: Thirty five! Wait!
Him: I’m a sponge!

He didn’t say any of that. Just said, “Okay, see ya then!” He smiled a lot, and we seemed to get along well. One of his managers came out and said, “My theory on sales is this.” And I’ve learned that when people start with their theories, we’re about to jump into some weird stuff. “My theory is: I’d rather sell a hundred cars at a dollar profit than one car at a hundred dollar profit”. To which I said, “I didn’t come here for a math riddle you nerd! What the hell am I gonna do with a hundred cars?! And if you’re so smart, where am I going to get a hundred one-dollar bills! RIDDLE ME THAT!”

And I left.

I told this story to a coworker, and he told me his story: “I walked into a dealership, and said you’re gonna sell me that car for this much money and I walked out to my car, guy runs out after me and long story short guy sold me the car four thousand dollars under asking.” I told my coworker that I did the exact same thing but the guy let me leave. “Did you tell him you were ready to buy immediately?” NOoooo. No I did not. That’s it. Tell them you’re ready to buy immediately! Another trick of buying.

So I girded up the loins of my mind and went back.

“I’m ready to buy this thing, and I’m ready to buy it tonight!” “Sir, it’s 6:53, we close in seven minutes, can you come back tomorrow?” “No, I can’t come back tomorrow, dammit!” “I’m sorry, but it’s—” “Freakin’ FINE! I’ll come back tomorrow!

Foiled again!

The next day I told my father about this situation and he said, “You should read this book: Never Split the Difference: How to Negotiate Like Your Life Depended on It”. I said sounds pretty intense for car-buying. He said, “It’s not—it’s written by the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator.” And I said sounds pretty int—and he said, “Just read the chapter on him buying a truck.”

Long story short, FBI guy goes into the poor, poor salesman’s office and says, “That’s a beautiful truck. All I can afford is $30,000.” And the guy comes out and says we can’t do that, it’s priced at freakin’ $40,000!” And he says, that’s too bad, it really is a beautiful truck. All I can afford is $30,000. And the guy goes back to his manager and this whole thing goes on and on until they sell him the car for $30,000 and the entire sales team is found the next day dead in a circle from the cult-suicide he negotiated them into. “It’s really too bad. It’s a beautiful-looking poison-punch.” “Fine! FINE! We’ll all drink it! Fine.” Bob Salesman vs…the FBI’s leading negotiator in international kidnapping! The newest series on Netflix.

So that’s what I wanted. Minus the cult-suicide. I wanted the deal where where they flip the computer monitor towards me in disgust and all I see are red numbers and blinking lights that say, “Don’t freaking do it sales guy!” and they say, “This is my last act as an employee of this company.” Then I’ll say, I’m sorry but the customer is always right.

Correction: that’s what I want to want. I spoke with my friend and he said, “I know that I probably won’t get the absolute best deal. That’s not my personality.” I remember thinking, Shoot, me too. I’m a bargain shopper, not a master negotiator—I find good deals, and I did find a good deal on this car. I want to be friendly with the sales guy when everything is over. See my theory on sales is this: I’d rather be nice to someone and get a pretty good deal than be a jerk and get a great deal. My other theory is this: I’d rather eat a one apple in a hundred days than one hundred apples in one day.

Bart Tocci

Bart Tocci (’11) lives in Boston where he writes essays, performs at open mics, and threatens to start taco restaurants. He’s been told that he looks like the kind of guy who stands up for what’s right. And who goes to the store before the party. Read more here: barttocci.wordpress.com

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