Sunday, April 22, 2018


A trip down memory lane prompted by comments exchanges with Virtual Mirage (LL).

The retail car sales game is chaotic for the most part but one hard and fast rule seems to be found anywhere in the country; the deal comes first! When a salesperson has a customer sitting at a desk and figures are being discussed at the “tower” with whoever is “desking” the deal (sales manager) no one interrupts.  Woe is he who violates this rule.

This incident went down in a Seattle suburb involving the sales manager, “Beefy Boy”, a wholesaler of Iranian origins, and myself, “The Tank”. 

Beefy Boy was a shot putter in college and was on the scrubbed  Moscow Olympics Team. He outweighed me by fifty pounds or so but gave me my nickname after a scuffle in 1986 when we were both mere salesmen. He ended up on his butt. When he got up, he said, “Damn you are a tank”. (Thankfully, two managers had put themselves between us).

The building we worked from was built on a slope with the rear portion some ten feet above the ground. Large windows were along one wall and left open in the summer as we didn’t have a/c.

The Iranian was an arrogant asshole and thought the rules didn’t apply to him. He and Beefy Boy did coke together, among other things, and he forgot his place in the scheme of things.

I was selling a car and Beefy Boy was desking the deal. The Iranian kept interrupting. Wanted to conclude his business and be on his way. Upon his third interruption, I threw his scrawny 200 lb ass out the window. Ten feet down he landed in blackberry bushes. Turning back to Beefy Boy, I snarled, “Now desk my damn deal”. He did.

The Iranian took it upon himself to complain to the General Manager. That got him banned from the premises for six months. I got an “attaboy” from the GM and Beefy Boy got an ass chewing he didn’t soon forget. The sale? Closed it on the third “pencil” for a nice gross and helped me be top salesman for the weekend (worth $200).

In today’s environment I probably would have ended up in jail convicted of a “hate” crime.

My “attaboy” wouldn’t have sounded like one to an outside observer. That same observer wouldn’t understand, “YOU kinky motherfucker”,  is high praise. Like most activities, the car biz is a world unto itself.

Just a bit of free advice about car dealerships. Put some work in before you go “looking”. I always appreciated an “adult” customer who came in prepared. Time is money and a quick transaction will usually result in a fair deal for the customer. If I have to be your “adult”, your “parent”, you will pay for my time and knowledge. Plus, if you are stupid about finances, I will certainly let you be stupid. Real world people, unless you can find Unicorn Motors.


LL said...

I recall a situation where I went onto a new car lot to buy a car for my wife. Checkbook ready. The guy who helped us with the deal was a nice kid. The closer (a Syrian) was an AH. I stood up, told the wife we were leaving. Parting shot, "I can buy the same car at Penske." The Syrian screamed at me, blaggarding me as I walked off the lot, wife in tow.

We went to Penske (next city over) and bought the car without having to endure the Syrian.

Moral of the car selling story: If you want honey, don't kick over the beehive.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Good for you. I'm always amazed by the people who are afraid of offending those that are offending them.

drjim said...

Great story. Yeah, things in the car biz were sure different Back In The Day. Several of my good friends had parents tha owned dealerships, so as I'd hang around the parts department and 'back rooms', I'd hear and see things that the Average Person never did.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

My two youngest grew up being "lot snots" off and on. Gave them a window on the world that maybe they shouldn't have had. On the other hand, they weren't naive teenagers.

drjim said...

The first time I ever heard "There's An Ass For Every Seat" was from the 14 year old younger brother of one of my buddies.

I about fell through the floor laughing.....

Well Seasoned Fool said...

My kids quickly learned how to profit from food runs and other favors. One salesman offered a nice compliment, "Your kid is more ruthless than you!"

Coffeypot said...

I am waiting on the day when auto dealers puts a price tag on an auto and that is the price. Like buying a pair of jeans. You don't haggle over jeans. No need to haggle over the price of a car. I know you hate this idea.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Many places try that. They soon find few customers have the cash/credit/paid off trade to make it work.

I'm retired now but in the day flexible. It was all about the size of the end of the month wash out check.

As I've said many times, the real customer is the bank in almost all transactions. The art of the car deal is moving the customer into a deal the bank will finance.

What is crucial isn't what the customer wants. What is crucial is what the customer will do. All the car company suits focus groups ain't ever going to change that.

Old NFO said...

Heh, you're probably right, you'd be in jail today for that... But I'm betting the satisfaction would STILL be worth it!!! :-)

Well Seasoned Fool said...

I was disappointed he didn't try to get revenge. Confronting me somewhere off the lot would have been a great stress reliever.