Diary of a Used Car Salesman – Showhorses and Workhorses

Every day I see a wall. On the outside are tens of millions of consumers who lack the commitment, integrity and responsibility to keep their word. Debt, crime, and fraud are their elixirs and it’s literally destroying this country. It fills the lots and keeps the auctions busy for hours. Then I see the other side of that wall. Hundreds of millions trying to get ahead and do the right thing in their lives. They are my buyers, the lane clerks, the ringmen, the consigners, and all the people outside the auction who choose a better path. Everyone thinks that the auctions are a cut-throat place where only the knowledgeable and careful survive . . . and they’re right.

If you don’t know about cars, stay the hell away. Don’t ask me to buy something unless you’re willing to put money up front and wait for months. It took me six months to find an AWD Volvo wagon for my mom that passed every measure of my standards. I PAID for it. In the end, the only way to really get ahead for those of you who want “showhorses” is to bid high and realize that the quality factor is more important than “value” if you want perfection.

The “workhorse” I can deal with. An airline may need a several pickups, a few sedans, and a small fleet of minivans. They will take any color as long as it’s white and they already have mechanics at their beck and call. They want the workhorse and they make my job a lot easier. But not really easy. It’s gotta be white. It’s gotta be a Ford. It’s gotta have no more than 70,000 miles which is hard when you consider that their budget is slightly larger than two months of a young teacher’s salary.

But once they get it, it works. Dents? Can be popped out. Right quarter panel replaced? Who cares. So long as the vehicle wasn’t caved in. To me, the perfect sign of an American renaissance will come when people become more concerned about their country’s fiscal health than they are about their cars.

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