Visit a Honda dealership in Phoenix…
“My fiancé and I are not ready to buy and won’t be for a few weeks – I don’t want to waste your time with financial matters, we haven’t even halfway compared different CUVs in our price range All we want is to see and test the new CRV and then we’ll be out of your hair We’d like to see the EX-L or the Touring (top of the line) and we don’t care color or anything like that.
Them: “Of course! Sit down, we’ll draw one”
FORTY MINUTES pass. There is a vendor in a booth but he looks busy and when we arrived all the other vendors were chatting outside so I walk outside but no one is there. I’m trying not to be pushy because I already insisted on not buying today so I know I’m not their top priority but I feel like I should at least be on the list. I look around for a second and walk in – I find this salesman busy with a pile of paperwork sitting with my fiancé and she looks very uncomfortable. I come back and say “that’s a lot of paperwork for a test drive!” and my fiance goes “oh no, he walked me through all the finance options. He wants to do a credit check” and then throws that stinky “where did you go” eye at me.
At this point, I sit down and push the paperwork back to him – “we can do the payment calculations just fine.” We’re here for a test drive as we haven’t seen the new model in person – can you go check that out? They were shooting one about half an hour ago.
“Well, what good is a test drive if you don’t know what the payouts are like!” We’re in the process of negotiating a deal right now-“
“We are not buying today, we would just like to see the car.”
He’s pissed – gets up and goes back to his desk for a walkie-talkie and asks if they have the CRV ready and gets a gruff response I couldn’t hear. He regains his salesman’s smile and asks us to leave. “Fuck finally” said my fiancé. In effect.
We walk out and all the sales people who sprayed are now surrounding the car smiling like one of those creepy “Welcome to the Sorority” videos. One dutifully opens the door to reveal cloth seats and the most embarrassing infotainment screen to adorn a supposed 2020 vehicle. “It’s an LX…we wanted to see a Touring…” says my fiancé . She doubles down on the window sticker, “…and it’s a 2018.”
Me, trying to get it over with quickly – “Well, let’s sit down anyway while they drive around a 2020 Touring”, I say it loudly, giving the nearest salespeople a hard look, don’t receiving only robotic smiles. None of the vendors move. This is the point where I completely give up, but I’ve now socially forced us to sit in this fucking thing, so we do.
So after all that – almost an hour of completely wasted time – we are greeted by the least impressive modern vehicle we have sat in all our time looking for cars. There was obvious water damage to the soft fabric trim under the windows. My fiancé commented that it was the exact same gear and features as the 2014 Civic we were replacing. A random salesman hops in the back and starts trying to tell us about all the great features and my fiancé turns out to be 100% correct – not a single feature listed was something his 6 year old Civic didn’t had not. He asks if we want to take a test drive – through the open window the papers salesman says “they haven’t filled out the papers yet” and the guy in the back says “oh alright let’s go to the interior and we can take care of it!”
“No thanks, everything is fine.” We start to go out. The papers salesman cuts to the chase for my fiancée, she ain’t even half out of the car – “So we can get you into this one today for just $225 a month with 0% d I know you were looking for the Touring, but we sell a lot more – there’s not really a big difference between the models, and you save a ton of money!
“We are NOT buying today” says my fiancé.
“Thanks for your time” I frantically press the unlock key on my Acura as if it will help us get out of here quicker.
“Fucking waste of time” said one of the salesmen under his breath – “Of course!” I snap, as my beep-beep car springs to life just in time.
In the safety of my car, we agreed that even if we were both raised by hardcore Honda/Acura families and continued to drive Honda/Acuras as adults, we wouldn’t even consider it. never one again. I have never seen my whole world view change so dramatically in one hour.
Interestingly, Toyota was probably second worst for also trying to shove paperwork, quotes and credit checks down our throats when we really wanted to drive a goddamn Rav4. Hyundai and Mazda stood out as FANTASTIC experiences – knowledgeable and enthusiastic salespeople who understood why we were there and each got us behind the wheel of multiple cars in the time it took Honda to pull the wrong one.
A bad experience at the dealership can be enough to keep you away from a brand forever, especially when salespeople get too pushy. You cringe at the thought of owning this car, simply because you were forced to – and you may never go back to this brand again.