Thursday, June 16, 2011

car psychology

What is it about shopping for cars that makes us so paranoid? We're convinced that everyone is out to stick it to us. Granted, it's a lot of money, but buying a house is ten or twenty times what you would pay for a car, and do we suspect that our realtor is trying to pull one over on us?

Maybe it's because as a home buyer, you pick your realtor. You don't get as much power over deciding who will sell you a car. And yet it's just as much in a realtor's financial interest to put you in something too expensive, isn't it?

Most of us buy used cars, so there's the added layer that we're afraid they're trying to sell us a lemon. Buying used golf clubs isn't nearly as anxiety-producing. A second-hand handbag isn't likely to have been damaged in an accident--or be as expensive to fix if a part should fail.

I get that. A lot can go bad quickly if you end up with a crappy car. But I think there is a very real belief that car dealers are slimeballs out to screw us over. Yes, they're in sales, but do we fear the guys at Best Buy half as much as the guy at the Chevy dealership? Do we let a few jerks, a few stories, a few bad experiences affect our feelings towards an entire industry?

Well, yes, basically. And every I have a bad experience, or someone I know does, it just reinforces that antagonistic feeling. I've had great experiences buying cars, but they're always overshadowed by the bad ones. It's too bad, because it's hard enough to part with so much money, it's even worse to give it to someone  that you don't like or trust.

This has been what's on my mind lately, as we've been car shopping. Fortunately, we bought one last night! Not at all what I had been expecting, but we really like it. I'll tell you the story later of how we ended up with this one. But as a teaser, I'll leave you with a quote from the funny but forgettable Jon Lovitz movie, High School High. "What's the capital of Nebraska?...Who freed the slaves?...Charles Keating cooked the books of what S&L?...Who makes the best town car?"

1 comment:

  1. That would be Lincoln. And those are plush cars.
    If it makes you feel any better, I think realtors ARE trying to put something over on me and I don't trust salespeople in the stores either.


Be nice.