Apparently I live in the land of the brutally honest inside of my head. Some auto dealers, on the other hand, well, let’s just say maybe not so much.
I admit I’ve been spoiled. I had a great truck dealer back in my former town. He was a man I knew for years, a former cop, and a straight-shooter. I bought a few vehicles from him over the years and could always count on him to just give me the straight story. Good or bad. And he always did. We got along just fine.
It’s been six years since we seriously engaged in any truck shopping. And a couple years since I interviewed a suspect in my former life (remember, I’m a recovering cop.) These two may not sound related, but today I realized that they are, for me anyway.
Finding a new truck dealer is sort of like interviewing criminal suspects. You have to know if the guy across the table is telling you the truth, and you have to develop a rapport with him.
This is how it went today.
Dealer #1 called to say he had located a truck for me but didn’t say where it was.
“So… where is this truck you have found for me?” I asked innocently. “Uhm, oh, in Dallas… I think,” he says while looking around and vaguely smiling in a sickly, Alzheimer’s suffer type of way. Or like little boys do when they know they did let the dog eat Mom’s best couch cushion but don’t want to admit it when she asks.
In spite of myself, the old cop instinct kicks right in. Not that I needed it for this guy, he plainly is not a good fibber.
So I just smile and nod. Of course, I already had a pretty good idea where the truck in question was, as I’ve been working overtime doing my own legwork via the internet while said dealer took the day off yesterday.
A note here for the suspicious at heart... Use this old cop trick and ask a question that you already know the answer to as a gauge of a person’s <cough> credibility.
A note for the evasive at heart…Never try to keep a secret from a person with a highly suspicious nature. It ‘s probably already too late by the time they ask you about it.
Dealer #2 who was actually in possession of the actual said truck that dealer #1 fibbed over… (yes, we drove straight to it from Dealer #1 and it was not in Dallas…)
“So this is the model set up for the maximum 33 K GCWR?” I asked innocently.
Him…”Yes maam, it sure is,” he said, staring deeply into the engine compartment and not looking at me.
The truck he was staring into was not set up for the heavier weight. We asked other questions and got polite and chatty, but vague answers.
Now, I didn’t get the intentional fibbing vibe from this guy. I did get the vibe that he just flat didn’t know, and was trying not to let us know he didn’t really know. In other words, he was a nice enough old guy who didn’t want us to think he didn’t know his products.
But this all gave me a shocking realization… My gosh! People lie to people who aren’t cops! Who woulda thunk it?
Ok, I just lied. I wasn’t shocked, and, yes I was being sarcastic.
Of course people lie. It is in our DNA. That’s why we have religion; we need something to help us relieve our guilty consciences when we do lie. Ok, I just made that up but it looked good when I typed it in so I think I’ll leave it….
Anyway… back to my story…
Dealer #3 was like a breath of fresh air. Yes, we visited 3 dealers today…
We ran all of our questions past this gent and when he didn’t know, or wasn’t sure of an answer, he just plain said so. And then said that he would find out the answers to the questions. No BS, no guessing, no double-talk. Just a straightforward, plain spoken man.
My kind of truck guy!
The ultimate result of our day out playing seek and test? Kind of mildly dismal, but not horrible.
It seems the F550 is in short supply, and the ones that are available out there are not set up like we need ours to be, so it looks like we’ll bite the bullet and just order the darned thing to our specs. Sadly, we’ll have to wait 6 to 8 weeks before I can even outfit it, then probably another week to get it ready to roll.
Still, we have a plan of action which is a great starting place, and I suppose I can find enough to do in the meanwhile to keep me out of trouble until I can get back to work.
Oh, oh, and guess which dealer is getting our business…