Thursday, 26 February 2009

Death of a car salesman

There are lots of people out there who can get very excited about buying a new car. I am not one of them. Despite my disinterest, this week I had to trade my car in and buy a new one. This nearly resulted in my being sent to jail for murder most foul.

The person I normally get my cars from has nothing at the moment that fits my particular requirements. As I needed to get this whole thing done and dealt with as quickly as possible, I widened the search and found the perfect charabang online. The whole thing went downhill from here.

This gets me to the real reason for this blog entry. It is not to bore you with the details of me trying to buy a car but for me to vent my rage at the intolerable, endless and appalling sexism and general uselessness of car salesmen.

Let's make something clear. I am not a bra burning feminist. I like my bras for one thing, and I have no objection to having a door opened for me. I don't think that's sexism, I think it is gallantry. However this particular experience was filled to the brim with old fashioned, patronising and excruciating sexism from an older man towards 'the little woman'.

The prat that I dealt with was consistently patronising, and at the same time shockingly stupid. He had obviously decided that as a girl buying a car, I could not possibly understand what I was doing, despite me explaining that this was the third car I had traded in in as many years. He ignored this fact and instead spent his time explaining things in a deliberately slow voice as though he were dealing with a lunatic. Things that I already understood and didn't need explaining to me.

At the same time he wouldn't actually answer my questions because 'you don't really need to know that dear'. All this while he constantly called me by the wrong name, didn't listen to me when I explained what I wanted and told me to 'calm down dear' when I exploded with rage as he ignored me for the umpteenth time.

I longed to just walk away from the sale rather than deal with him but I didn't have the time. So I bottled my ire and headed to Lincoln to fetch the wretched thing. It turns out that the prat had no idea where he actually worked. He had insisted that it would take me no more than 2 hours to get from central london to Lincoln. Try 3 1/4 hours. He then gave me such terrible directions to the showroom that it took an extra half hour to backtrack and find him. I am good at directions - my job entails me finding new places three or four times a week and I get lost about twice a year. Even the other people in the showroom looked baffled when I showed them the directions I was given. He didn't even apologise. He just mentally patted me on the head and said 'well you got here didn't you dear'. How did I not stab him there and then with my car keys?

Where do they get these people from? How are they still alive, let alone employed? This man was a dinosaur and needed to be made extinct. I longed for a comet to land on him and leave nothing but a charred pair of shoes and a smoking crater. I mentally put my hands round his scrawny neck and choked him to death, laughing maniacally, then put him through a potato chipper and burnt the remains before driving over them in my newish car. The whole experience was hideous because of him. I am getting cross just typing about him. AAAAAAAARRGGHHHH

I am glad to say that it is rare to come across this sort of attitude, but invariably when you do it is in a car salesmen. Do the dealers go out looking for sexist, stupid idiots to patronise us? Do they think to themselves 'hmm, next to a house, this is the biggest purchase most people will make so let's make it as hellish and insulting as possible?' If that was their plan then they succeeded. And as for me? I am going to drive this car for the rest of my life so that I NEVER have to deal with a used car salesman again. Ever.


elizabethm said...

Now I can offer you one of the benefits of getting older - it becomes easier and easier to patronise right back!
I do so know what you mean. I think they have a special selection programme to ensure they only get the most stupid and prattish.

rosiescribble said...

The guy's an idiot, simple as that. I am mentally straggling him too. What an idiot. Now I must lie down in a quiet room and calm down!

notSupermum said...

Oh I sympathise wholeheartedly, I really do. I recently had a run-in with a car salesman (where are all the women?) and I felt he was extremely patronising. I came away wanted to trade my car in for a horse and carriage so as not to deal with car dealers anymore.

justme said...

I think you showed commendable restraint in in not backing up and running over him as you left.......
Glad you have a nice new(ish) car though!
And I agree with elizabethm!

katyboo1 said...

It's made me angry just reading about it. What an absolute toss pot. Let's find a way to pay someone to put itching powder in his pants.
That would be good.

katyboo1 said...

It's made me angry just reading about it. What an absolute toss pot. Let's find a way to pay someone to put itching powder in his pants.
That would be good.

bevchen said...

Gah. What an idiot!! Makes me feel like flying over to Leicester just to punch him in the mouth.

That's one advanatge of not being able to drive - no used car salesmen to deal with!

Mr Farty said...

This car salesman...wasn't called Swiss Toni by any chance?

Susan Walsh said...

Wow, both he and NOT Hugh Grant were terrible at giving directions. American men are also very bad at this, and then they refuse to seek help once they are lost. I imagine it's the same there. Men are such knuckleheads.

The Singlutionary said...

Ahhhhh. Its so frustrating to encounter stupid people who are oblivious to the fact that they are stupid. At this juncture in my life, I am convinced that this is a fairly large portion of the general population and an even larger percentage of the population of people who sell things.

I used to be a sales person and I was always impressed by the stupidity of my own people.

the Barrister said...

I'm slightly worried about the delicious, luxuriant detail with which you describe precisely how you thought to engineer his demise...

Comfort yourself that you don't have to live inside his head.

(*off message* Without wishing to conform to gender stereotype, 'charabanc' not 'charabang' (which in any event, means a bus) and in this context 'uninterested' not 'disinterested' *on message*)

lunarossa said...

I sooo understand you and I'm sorry this had to happen to you as well. I'm due to replace my car as well and I have also to go around and try to find something suitable and I hate it! Last Saturday my son did a bit of research and we went together to test drive a car. Well, the salesman would explain the "technical bits" to my son (mind, he's only 15!!!) and left me out of the conversation almost totally. Only when it was a matter of discussing the price, he was all nice and mellow to me! Of course, I've got the double handicap: I'm a woman and a foreigner!!! I did not buy the car after all. Ciao. Antonella

Welsh Girl said...

Elizabeth - I really hope so, I long to resist years of being told to be polite. If that day is coming then perhaps there is hope after all.
Rosiescribble - Neatly put. Hope the lie down helped. It's taken me days to begin calming down.
Notsupermum - SUCH a good point. Why aren't there women car salesbods? I expect it is because men wouldn't buy a car of a woman. Sexism in action....
Justme - wish I'd thought of that!
Katyboo - this is where your ranty website would come in use. You could compose a fantastic letter for me!
Bevchen - you have no idea how lucky you are!
Mr Farty - Swiss Toni would have been a joy next to this git.
Susan - you're right! That's twice I've been given the literal run around by knuckleheads (great word!). Grrrr.
Singlutionary - it looks like such hard work doing things the stupid way though. Why have they not a) evolved or b) become extinct?
The Barrister - hmm, and that was the milder death I had planned. (ps - my car is used rather like a bus hence the charabanc reference, and I like the Jeeves and Wooster feel of a charabanc, however thanks for the spell check service!
Lunarossa - doesn't it make you cross. Why, when it comes to cars, are we treated as idiots? I say buy a horse and cart!

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