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What's Wrong with Nice Guys?

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Yes, I Can Drive A Stick



I'm one of those lucky girls who comes from a family where the women run their own lives and the men don't really differentiate between male and female when it comes to raising children.  I forget sometimes that I'm "special" in this regard, and every once in awhile it catches up with me.  This happened again, recently, when my father and I went to test-drive a car.  (My father has a reputation as the guy to go to when you want advice on buying a new car.  It's starting to rub off on me since cars are one of the things we "do" together.)  I confess, though, that I do bring my dad or my brother along to deal with car-related matters simply because it's more efficient.  Not very bitchy, to be sure, but it takes too damned long to convince a salesman I know what I'm doing.


I had picked out the type of car I wanted and tested several similar makes and models.  I wanted a large hatchback/small wagon--sedans are useless and I can't really justify a truck--that got good gas mileage and came with a standard transmission, and no frills.  I eliminated three or four and got down to the last contender, so Dad and I went down to the dealer one Saturday morning and asked if they had one with a stick shift we could try, even just to try the shifter if they didn't have one available to test-drive.  The salesman looked at me--I was 24 but passed for 17--and said, "Well, just because it has a shifter doesn't mean it's a stick shift."


Dude, if it has three pedals and the pattern on the shifter looks like this:


1  3  5


|  |  |

2  4  R


It's a stick shift.  You didn't really need that sale, did you?  Good-bye.


Dealer No. 2 didn't have the car I wanted but had one very similar that I could try.  However, he tried to insist we didn't want a standard because they were inconvenient for city driving.  I told him I had been driving one around the city for three years and didn't think it was an issue.  He persisted and we told him if he didn't have a standard, we weren't interested.  We turned to leave and he caved in and he went to get the keys.  We were flying up the freeway on-ramp when I heard his squeaky, emasculated voice from the back seat, " . . . wow, I guess she really DOES know how to drive stick . . . ".   He didn't get the sale, either.


Dealer No. 3 was desperate to get one more sale in before the end of the month and not only didn't give me any crap about the stick shift, gave me an excellent deal on the car, even though he had to go halfway across the state to find another dealer that had exactly what I wanted.  Good man.  My only regret now is that I didn't get the bigger engine, but I can't blame him for that. 


A former coworker of mine had her heart set on a black Mustang.  The only one on the lot was a standard.  When the salesman found out she couldn't drive it yet, he yelled at her and told her she was a fool.  She told him it was none of his goddamned business and he could either hand her the keys or tear up the sales contract.  He, wisely, forked over the keys.


I'm often surprised at the things car salesmen tell me about women customers.  I've heard about husbands picking out cars for their wives.  Who buys a car they're going to have to drive for the next 10 years without actually trying it first?  Is this an example of the stereotypical female insecurity with machines?  It's pretty pathetic.


OK, girls--the secret is that most car salesmen don't know very much about the cars, either.  Some of them do, but the average guy on the showroom floor is riding on what he read in the sales brochure he just handed you and not much more.  Do your homework--compare prices, get a couple of car magazines, and surf the Web a little beforehand--and you'll have them by the nose. 


Copyright© Heartless Bitches International (heartless-bitches.com) 2006
Copying or reproduction (in whole or in part) on any medium (such as in print or on the web) is expressly forbidden without written permission from HBI

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