5 Secrets Car Dealerships Don’t Want You to Know

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A salesman is making a silence gesture while a couple is shaking hands with a salesman in the background at a car dealer.

Friends, as one of my loyal readers, you no doubt have come to trust me and rely on me to tell it to you straight. As such, let me start by saying this: car dealers want your money. They want to sell you a vehicle and get as much money out of you for it as they possibly can. If you think they’re on your side or trying to get you the best deal possible, then I’ve got a bridge or two that I think you’ll be interested in.

But, be that as it may, you have a friend and ally when it comes to dealing with dealerships: me. So I’m going to clue you in on a few things that car dealers in your area don’t want you to know. With this knowledge and a little gumption, you’ll be ready to walk in there, tell ‘em what you want, what you’ll pay, and drive out of there with a smile on your face and a trout in your pocket (as the old saying goes).

You Can Always Haggle

Two sets of hands are folded on a table above text that says haggle.

I’ve seen a lot of dealerships lately wheeling out this new thing: “haggle-free pricing.” Well, let me tell you this: it’s [censored], complete and total [censored]! There’s no such thing. That’s just their way of trying to convince you that you shouldn’t haggle. But trust me on this: you can always haggle for a better price.

I don’t care if the salesperson has thrown his watch, wedding ring, and wife into the deal – keep arguing and get more. Always MORE!

The Coffee Isn’t Free

Car dealers are going to schmooze you to make you feel comfortable; they want you to let your guard down so they can hit you up for the big squeeze. One of the main ways they do this is with “complimentary” coffee. Well, let me tell you, brothers and sisters, the coffee is never free!
Look closely at the sticker on each vehicle: you’ll see the MSRP, taxes, documentation fees, etc. But down there, hidden amongst the small print and litany of extra fees, is something called a “kava tax.” That’s where they get you! It’s the extra charge for the coffee – don’t pay it, you damned fool.

They Have More in the Back

You know how you go to the store, and something you want isn’t on the shelf, so you find an employee who is busy doing something else and ask them to check for more in the back? You and I both know they have more in the back. Car dealers are exactly the same. Don’t see the model you want out in the lot? Just ask them to go into the back and look for it – they have huge shelves in a subterranean warehouse loaded up with lots more models. They’ll find it for you.

You Can Get it in Any Color

One of the tricks a lot of car dealers like to play is making you think you can only buy the vehicles in the colors you see on their lot or that you’ll have to special order it. That’s nonsense! All cars show up at dealerships unpainted – the ones they put out are just the ones they’ve painted. They have tons more in the back ready to go; just request the color you want, and they’ll paint it for you right then and there. It takes about 20 minutes, and you’re on the road in a cool half-hour flat!

Money is Just a Social Construct

The real trick, when it comes to haggling, is recognizing that money is only a social construct. These pieces of paper with old, dead men’s faces on them have no real value beyond whatever we assign to them. Use that in your bargaining strategy. It’s the key to getting a vehicle for what it’s really worth.

They say a car costs $25,000? Counter with an offer of 17 bananas and a sat-on loaf of fresh-baked sourdough bread. There’s a damn-good chance they’ll jump at the offer! Money doesn’t really mean anything, so it’s all an agreed-upon exchange. Switch up the rules and let them scramble to keep up. I once bought a Chevy Chevelle for a handful of fingernail clippings, two buttons off the coat that Thomas Edison was buried in, and the peel of half an orange stuffed full of barley. Trust me, it works!

Editor’s Note: Our usual fact-checker is out of the office this week on paternity leave, so we’ve allowed an unpaid intern to look over this article. We’ve been informed that it’s good and factually accurate throughout. Any errors you may find are entirely your own fault. Thank you.

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