Can You Be TOO Honest?

Posted: April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Previously published on and then removed from Persona Paper 

Only once have I purchased a new car – a 1995 Hyundai Accent. All of my other cars have been used, and many of those cars have been Hyundais. I’m not one of those people who has to have the best of everything. I just need something functional. And I am honest. If I need a car and all I have left in my budget is $135, I tell the salesman quite honestly that all I have left in my budget is $135. Why waste time finagling?

The first time I entered a car dealership to buy one of the cheap new cars the commercials touted on the radio, I told the salesman quite clearly, “I have only $135 left in my budget.” I brought along with me one of my daughters, because she needed a new car, too, and I was cosigning for her.

Several hours later, she started getting agitated and since we had already gone through all the paperwork for her car, I told her to leave and I would follow when all my paper work was done – probably in another several hours. (Buying a car can be so time consuming!)

A couple of hours later, the salesman approached me to tell me that he got a great deal on the car we’d been discussing for the past several hours – at a cost of only $240 a month!

I was dumbfounded. Was the man stupid or deaf? “You know,” I told him, “I was being completely honest with you when I walked in here. I told you what I could afford. I’m sorry you’ve wasted your time and mine.” I grabbed my keys from my old car and I walked out.

Before I got inside my car, the one I was trading in for the car I told him I needed for only $135 per month, the salesman raced out to the car and told me he had been able to work up a deal with the manager.

Shaking my head in disbelief, I returned to the car dealership and was sold the car for $137.50 per month. Since I had $5 wiggle room, I accepted.

Fast forward to several years later. I made sure I mentioned the story of the previous salesman to the new salesman, because I wanted to make it perfectly clear to him that I had ONLY $135 to spend on a used car. As you might expect, he too, tried to sell me one at a much higher cost. Once again, I got up to walk out and then was immediately halted by, “Wait! Let me see what I can do.”

So why can’t people give a fair price to somebody who asks for one? If you don’t want to sell me something for a price I can afford, don’t convince me that sitting in your office for several hours wasting my time is going to be profitable for me! I’m not looking for greed. I’m looking for honesty!

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  1. Coral says:

    Although it may seem simple and straightforward, the sales world is a complicated one. I do not think they go out of their way to be dishonest, but they have a responsibility to both parties–the customer and the person signing their paychecks. That makes it difficult. There are some car dealerships that are now lowering the prices of their cars to their fixed rate prices, so there is no room for negotiation. We have to seek them out, if you want a fixed rate payment from the git-go.

    • theresawiza says:

      Having worked in sales, I understand the need to make a sale, but when a potential customer explains in detail why she can afford only so much, and the sales person then offers a price that is nearly 50% above what the customer requested, the sales person appears to be NOT paying attention. If that happens again, I’m walking out again 😉 And thanks for the fixed-rate info!

      • Coral says:

        I agree with you, and having been in sales, there is a balance that all must watch. Good salespeople know that people buy from people they like. If walking out the door made some do something differently, I (personally) would have continued to walk out the door. I would not buy from someone who would waffle like that. If that was the best they could do the first time, then it shows me that they lie or use shady tactics. I might even, if I had time, sit down and let them draw up the paperwork and right before I signed, change my mind. Then I would write letters to many. LOL But that’s just me wanting to get the last word in. 😉

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