The car salesman has been all too often typecast as a slimy, sneaky (probably balding) man who is trying to squeeze you for every penny you’re worth. As a culture and country that loves shopping in almost all its forms, our disdain for new and used car dealers alike begs the question: Why? Why do we detest this purchase?
A recent study completed by Edmunds.com found that one in five Americans would rather forego intercourse than haggle over a car price. Think that’s dramatic? The numbers keep coming-one in three Americans would rather go to the DMV, endure the middle seat of an airplane, or do their taxes than go through the process of buying a new vehicle. Moreover, almost half of Americans would rather say goodbye to social media for a month, and 29 percent would prefer to forsake their smartphones for a weekend if it meant they didn’t have to deal with buying a new ride.
As it turns out, what Americans really dislike is the all the anticipated haggling and the pressure to pick the “right car” – not the proverbial slimy car dealer himself. Let’s get down to the details and see exactly what it is about these acts that cause Americans so much stress.
The Hunt for the “Right Car”
In a world filled with hundreds of makes, models, trims, and accessories, it can be extremely daunting to decide which vehicle (or even headrest) is the right one for you. Plus, an automobile is likely to be the biggest purchase a person makes in their year. So, add that economic weight in with all the endless available options, and the pressure may seem too much to bear. In his piece “The Paradox of Choice,” Barry Schwartz and his team of psychologists theorized that more choices can actually limit our “freedom” and increase our stress, rather than create more freedom. This theory stems from the idea that we are emotional creatures; so making a decision as weighty as choosing your new vehicle can’t always be founded in numbers. While, of course, this effect can be true for any other item, picking the wrong pair of boots does not carry the same impact on our (and our family’s) daily lives as choosing the wrong vehicle.
The Art of Haggling and Getting “Good” Deals
When shopping for something like your next phone, all you have to do choose exactly what model you want is to browse websites and online retailers, and then you can make your purchase from the vendor with the lowest price (and maybe even get free shipping!). Unfortunately, with vehicles, this process is not quite so straightforward. A “good” deal on one automobile is never the same as another, since variables like dealer discounts and manufacturer incentives differ from brand to brand and model to model. Fortunately, with the online resources available in today’s world, buyers can now access trade-values, incentives, and more all before stepping foot in a dealership or hitting send on an email. However, there still has to be a degree of trust between a buyer and the new or used car dealer in order for the transaction to go smoothly. The idea of entering a dealership and being confident enough in your numbers to try and haggle with a salesman is daunting to many, but so is the thought of losing thousands of dollars.
So, it’s not just the stereotypical sleazy used car dealer stressing people out. Rather, it’s far more fundamental than that, and the best way to avoid these stressors is to come into the store having done your research and having faith that not all dealers are out to get you.