I’VE been drinking with some car dealers. Which, as you can probably testify, is never wise.
Not only does it almost always end with a hangover that makes you hope the end of the world is nigh, but it also means putting the world to rights or discussing the forecourt botherers who have been wasting your time. So, through my next-day beer fuzz, here’s what I can remember of our latest crop of Car Buyers You Almost Certainly Have Suffered This Week.
He’s mostly hiding behind a phone screen, face illuminated by the faint glow of a constantly refreshing feed. You spot him lying on his front, in between two cars on the forecourt ‘trying to get the best angle’. He’ll ask you to take pictures of him in the driver’s seat for his ‘fans’ and will tell you he’s very ‘influential’, before running off to take pictures of
his lunch. #Blessed.
The Full House
You’ve sold them a car in record time. In fact they bought the pre-reg you had in the corner for 120 days, the doom blue one with steels, and the one with the biggest commission. And they didn’t even haggle. Now they want finance, they’ve said yes to GAP and have signed up for paint protection, fabric protection and are happily paying for mats. In fact it’s so too good to be true, they’re probably a mystery shopper. They are.
That’s a sharp suit. Well, at least it is from a distance. Up close you can tell it’s from Tesco, but still, he’s made an effort. But who wears a tie these days? Those shoes are incredibly well polished. He must be here for an interview. No, he wants the keys to the AMG for a ‘test drive’. He hasn’t got a part-exchange, won’t talk figures and seems to have done no research. To let him drive, or to let him drive off, that is the question.
The Invisible Buyer
He turns up in Converse, crap jeans and a baseball cap. If he was asking for a pound for the Big Issue, you’d probably take pity on him and give him a fiver. Even your first plastic one. But he’s skulking around the forecourt, looking at a £154,000 Ferrari. He kicks the tyres, asks for a test drive, but you’re too busy and he says ‘he’ll come back another day’. That he does, two weeks later in a new 488 he bought down the road. Should have taken him more seriously, that one.
The Unsure Mummy
What’s an SUV? Do I need four-wheel drive? Have you got baby-changing facilities? Have you got it in any other colour? Are the seats wipe clean? Can you hold that? He’s been sick, I need a mop. But what fuel does it need? Why is it so hot in here? I like it, but can you change the colour of the steering wheel? Do you sell rusks? Oh God, is that the time? I’ve got to pick up the kids. Bye.
The eBay Chancer
He writes in code only youths and the illiterate can understand. It’s a modern form of hieroglyphics: part emoji, part text speak, part idiot. ‘Wot u wan 4 dat Vdub mush?’ You’ll be forced to converse with him. Your lack of emojis will confuse him. He’ll offer you ‘2 gran’ for your £4,995 offering, then take umbrage when you ask him to increase his offer. ‘Nah m8, u can do 1’. You’ll probably see him tomorrow as the next Pretender.
The Know It All
He’s done his research. In fact he’s got a PhD in Car Bore. He’s scoured the internet in pursuit of his chosen machine and that four-month search has led him to you. He’s clutching a Parker’s price guide, quotes from ‘the forums’ and tells you more than you’ve ever wanted to know about a Seat Altea. He doesn’t need convincing it’s for him, he already knows. You agree a tiny discount, swipe his card and wave him on his way. You like TKIA, TKIA can come back.
On SuperUnleaded.com: Someone’s Selling A Bosozoku Van In The UK And It’s Awesome