How to Not Sell My Wife a Car

The day has finally come! Asking the Wrong Guy now has its own website! This week's columns will be posted on this site as well, but from then on, you should go to askingthewrongguy.com.

On the "Other Stuff" page there is a donation button. I only mention it because I know he won't.

Anyway, thanks everyone for helping us get this thing off the ground. It was killing me that Ric had no outlet for his brilliance, and now, thanks to all of you, he does.

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Reader Comments (48)

My wife and I had something similar with a car salesmen. He talked to me about all the technical details, then turned to my wife and said "it's a pretty colour, isn't it?"

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStuart Hogg

You seem angry, Mr. Meyer.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheeseball

This is very specific, and not overly helpful instruction. I can understand the frustration, but I do not feel enriched.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Chosen One

Ha! I am first by mere coincindence of timing my trawl through the archives.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMoist Robot

We moved to TN 3 years ago and went to buy a car. That is how it went with us. She knew what she wanted and he kept asking me everything. I finally said "she is talking to you and she is smarter than both of us combined." It shocked him into action.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdeimos

Omg! This is what happens every time I try to look at a car on a lot! The salesman talks to my husband about the engine and me about the cup holders and mirrors on the visors. It's infuriating.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

"Then I'm going to need more incentive"

I will use that someday; hopefully at a car lot

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbill

I hope you at least post a reminder or two to go to Ric's site in the early days of the transition.

In anticipation that this will elicit many, many car buying stories allow me to share my most recent one. We had pretty much finished all of the haggling and were in the special 'finance office' to do the paperwork when I noticed that the salesguy had slipped window tinting and this, that and the other into the Bill of Materials. I stopped the proceedings right there and said we wouldn't be paying for any of that crap. They did the 'but didn't you initial here?' and I noted that those initials weren't worth squat. (In these situations, it's good to have the experience of working both as an attorney and in procurement). They brought the salesguy back in to salvage their profitable gew-gaws and his guilt trip was that when he sold his son a car he charged his son for those. My wife and I were less than impressed. We got the car, didn't pay for the extraneous crap and got a call from the sales manager the next day asking why we gave the salesguy such low ratings.

Regardless of how this may sound, I have never for a moment been under the impression that we 'got a deal' or 'pulled one over' on the dealership. You don't walk off the lot with a car unless they're happy no matter the whining they do in the meantime.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimP

Funny and satisfying ... but I hope in real life, Scott stayed mute and let Missy answer all the SuperSalesMan's questions. Or not answer them. Or answer them via evocative hand gestures.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDreamLibrarian

This is why I don't work in retail anymore.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohnE9999

I loved this one so much. Not only was every panel hilarious on its own, but I love the implication that you were both actually treated this way at a dealership and this is your revenge.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLummox JR

This really happens. I went with my female cousin when she was buying a car, simply because I was going to be shopping for one in a few months and wanted to scope out prices.

Here she was, practically checkbook in hand, ready to drive a new car off the lot, and here I was with no more than a vague suspicion that something car shaped just might be on my shopping list at some undetermined point in the future.

So naturally the guy ignores her almost completely.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor_Who

Invisible woman, visible vehicle. Is your wife the anti-Wonder Woman?

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Great strip, Scott! Car sales guys are such jerks.

This is what you need to do before going to a car lot:
Have a friend say things like, "What will it take to get you to buy today?" and "Give me your keys so we can appraise your old car for trade in."
Then practice saying, "No." and "Give me my keys back or I'm calling the police."

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergreeble

Is it only me, but does the salesman look vaguely like Quentin Tarantino in the last two panels?

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMick from Vic

"The chosen one", the instructions are not really here to enrich us with helpful information, they are just to entertain us with their humour. I found this funny. Are you not entertained?

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpasserby

Scott (or should I be asking Missy?), is this based on a real-life experience?

Sadly, yes. ~Missy

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterhenry

I had a similar situation with looking at a house. I was looking at a house, and my guy friend just happened to show up. The realtor directed all questions and descriptions toward him, even though I was the one who called and was potentially buying. It was kind of hilarious, but sad.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersaintpink

My wife is an off road racer of many years experience and she often gets annoyed at garages and dealerships as men speak only to me or treat her like a child if she's alone. She usually puts them in their place by demonstrating that she knows more about the vehicle they're trying to sell her than they do...It can be very satisfying to watch their expression slide from a know-it-all smirk to embarrased panic!

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Henry, based on this post on Missy's blog, it seems like this is very based on a real experience. As someone who plans on buying a car soon, this makes me nervous.

To be fair, most of this strip is based on the Chevy dealership. With a little bit on the 2nd Fiat place. But I was spoken to as a fellow human being everywhere else. ~Missy

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I must say, I do agree with "The Chosen One". The specificity of this instruction is, perhaps, due to a recent and not overly positive experience...? Or maybe we're reading too much between the lines of this subtle and cryptic work of art.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermagicsox

OMG, it's like you were THERE when we last went car shopping. That first panel is practically a verbatim transcript!

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBiscus

This happens to me with computers a lot. I once brought my male cousin with me to help carry a whopping great desk top to the help-desk. He knew nothing about the thing, what was wrong or anything. The computer guy spoke only to my cousin while only getting information when I butted in.

The same thing happened when I brought my boyfriend with me to buy a laptop.

And waiters always assume my boyfriend is paying for meals even if I ask for the bill.

/rant

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFreya

I like the implied mushroom cloud of DOOM, complete with rumblings in the earth. A hoot!

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaveBro

Ha! Brilliant in every way. When I bought my car ten years ago the salesman tried desperately to get me to buy something else (that he'd make more money on), so I left and bought what I actually wanted at another dealership. I guess making 0 commission was better to him than making whatever commission he would have made from selling me what I wanted.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGus Snarp

Today's comic is timely and ironic - Mrs. R. Dan just bought a new Suburu Outback last week. Just about everything that happened in the comic happened in her own experience.

Mrs. R. Dan is a strong, confident woman (like Missy) with a great deal of experience dealing and dickering over cars. She perceives & treats car salespeeps like the scum-of-the-earth whores that they are and just loves to tangle with them. She has no compassion and/or mercy for these sub human wretches whatsoever. I relinquished my own car dealings to her 30 years ago when I realized just how good she is at wheeling and dealing and how much fun it was to watch her do her thing.

She knew EXACTLY what car she wanted to buy, right down to the color and she knew what she wanted to pay for it which was a fair price. She had done her homework and researched her chosen vehicle as she always does when she is looking for a new set of wheels. Despite all this, the two demonic sales personnel who tried to tag team her kept trying to sell her something completely different than what she was shopping for. She humiliated them with gusto.

I missed the early stages of her journey through the battle but ended up getting to see the final stages of her quest when it was time to do paperwork. It was magnificent. At times I thought the sales manager was going to break down in tears, and I am sure that is the angle he was shooting for, but one can only hope that there was some sincerity in his despair. No matter; she bought the car she wanted with the stuff she wanted on it, and she didn't overpay. I am confident that the car dealer made money too, because they didn't give the car away either. All in all, an entertaining experience, with a positive outcome. I am certain however that this particular dealer will not want to see my dear wife walk through the door again anytime soon.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterR. Dan

My wife is very good at negotiating with car salesmen so I let her take the lead. My job is to act reluctant about parting with our trade-in while constantly suggesting that we walk out like we did at the last dealership.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermister pold

Yes, a common experience. You have to think that a successful car salesman would have thought about the impression that he's making, and learned to modify his behavior accordingly. Maybe some do, but since buying a car, or going with someone else when they're buying a car, is something that I do about once every 7 to 10 years, I haven't run into them yet.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarco

I was incredibly lucky when I bought my car. I went with my husband and 1 yo son. The sales guy had an 18 mo daughter. He asked whom the car was for, then proceeded to sell ME the car. We bought the one off the showroom floor with all the extra bits and he got a glowing review. AMAZING, isn't it?

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeelabrown

We also had a similar experience.

We told the guy several times what we wanted. He kept ignoring us and trying to sell us on other cars.

Then we researched what we wanted, bought it from a different place, and drove to that salesman just to say "THAT car is what we told you. We just bought it from someone else."

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThestas

Nice one Scott. My friend Rob Gruhl's video is hilarious and very useful if you're buying a car:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPor5b7JLLE

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEric Lippert

There have been a few times when I'm with my girlfriend, and whomever she's dealing with tends to talk to me and not her. I admit that I haven't considered before now just how truly discriminating this can be, especially from her own POV.

So now, when this happens in the future, I plan to simply sit on the ground (literal ass-to-floor) and completely ignore her "helpful" salesman/clerk/whatever, and see if she gets the attention she should.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHead_In_The_Sand

Wicked funny, and depressingly true to life.....

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I have never bought a car from a dealership, but similar expiriences in nearly every dealing with "guy stuff" make me believe you've edited out a lot of behavior in the interest of a streamlined story. (well done)
Chosen One and Magicsox, if you've read the responses, probably by now you've realised that just because a comic isn't drawn from your expirience doesn't mean the rest of us haven't been there.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I am reminded of what happened to my room mate a few months ago at a mechanics. For weeks the thermostat in her car would jump straight from the second notch of 3, all the way into the red. It would usually sit right before the red section after about 15 minutes of driving too, and then sporatically drop and rise. I am not a car person, but I know that isn't what should happen. She took it in to the mechanic, who "fixed" it. Awesome, great, wonderful. Except it kept doing it. Looking at her work order, we found that nowhere on there did they even -look- at the damn thermostat. She was literally in tears as we drove back, and tried to explain herself to the salesman who kept saying "We did this" or "We checked that" and generally ignoring her. When it became clear that he wasn't even going to take a second look at her car, I stepped in. I'm a salesman. I'm good at my job. And unfortunatly the key to sales is pretending you know everything about a subject so well that even people who actually know about the subject can't tell. Ten minutes later they're driving the car back in, and rechecking everything, while we went to get lunch...

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZach

I am reminded of what happened to my room mate a few months ago at a mechanics. For weeks the thermostat in her car would jump straight from the second notch of 3, all the way into the red. It would usually sit right before the red section after about 15 minutes of driving too, and then sporatically drop and rise. I am not a car person, but I know that isn't what should happen. She took it in to the mechanic, who "fixed" it. Awesome, great, wonderful. Except it kept doing it. Looking at her work order, we found that nowhere on there did they even -look- at the damn thermostat. She was literally in tears as we drove back, and tried to explain herself to the salesman who kept saying "We did this" or "We checked that" and generally ignoring her. When it became clear that he wasn't even going to take a second look at her car, I stepped in. I'm a salesman. I'm good at my job. And unfortunatly the key to sales is pretending you know everything about a subject so well that even people who actually know about the subject can't tell. Ten minutes later they're driving the car back in, and rechecking everything, while we went to get lunch...

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZach

Missy and Scott.
First - I'm guessing (as do we all) that this is based on a real life experience.
Now the question: Did you actually come out with those responses at the time? or did you think them up later on, when it was too late?
I do so hope that it's the former. Sadly, if you're anything like me, it was more likely to be the latter.
I keep my fingers crossed.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStevie Hair

Ah yes. Even having the guy with me say, repeatedly "Talk to her, it's gonna be her truck" never worked as well as me either popping the hood or getting down and crawling under the truck and saying things like "Why are there clean new parts here? This was in an accident, wasn't it? or "Why was the carburator replaced?". Except for the salesmen who kept wanting to sell the "little lady" something "cute".

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

As Oscar Wilde once told us, all bad art derives from sincere emotion, deeply felt.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

I once went to buy an acetylene b tank. My boyfriend at the time was along for other errands. I did all the talking, through much of this sort of difficulty. At the end, I handed the guy my cash. And he handed my boyfriend the change.

July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecause

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