Tuesday, September 18

If A Car Dealership In Jax Treats You Like Family...

I just saw a car dealership commercial wherein the the people say the dealership treats them like family. During the same newscast, there was a story of child neglect, a story about a family member murdering another, a story about domestic violence, and a story about a wife trying to hire a hitman to kill her husband. I'm not sure I want a car dealership to treat me like family.


Parents in the area have been accused of leaving kids home alone, letting little ones get onto busy streets or into ponds, and playing with guns in the house. I know we shouldn't all be total helicopter parents, and I'm not saying my own kids didn't do some stupid stuff that could have resulted in major injury, but I am hoping that parents are at least trying. I'm not always too sure of that. If a car dealership treated customers like family, it might neglect us when we need something. And that's normally been the case with car dealerships in my life. Unless I'm willing to pay something or go all the way to the top manager, you kind of get ignored once the sale is made. You're treated like a loved member of the family right up until the point you take ownership of the car, and then all you get is marketing emails sent by an automated service.


Luckily, car dealerships are not violent, but the cars can be dangerous. The dangerous airbags in one of our cars just sat there, waiting to go off like a gun in a purse. For two years, we had to wonder what might happen if we were in an accident. Our dealership and automaker family seemed more concerned with continuing to make money. Cars were generally sent to the top of the recall list once someone was actually injured by the offending airbags, and many manufacturers sold (and continue to sell) cars with the same dangerous airbags installed. Not to mention all the other safety recalls that manufacturers fight to avoid issuing until after enough people are injured or killed. While the dealerships themselves aren't at fault in these cases, they do represent the manufacturers.

I keep going back to the sleazy used car dealerships when I need a car, even though I know what's going to happen. I've driven off the lot three times with major problems that I was assured didn't exist. It was probably my fault, I was told. And I always thought it would be better next time, but maybe I deserved it when I kept coming back for more. So I feel bad about myself for the purchases, and I blame my own lack of knowledge, even if all the little check marks said everything was working just fine when the car was "inspected."

I think I'd rather have a car dealership treat me like a valued customer than family. Family expects you to come back for more abuse, even if you're better off without them. A valued customer will come back just because the business operated as expected. I don't want to feel emotionally obligated to buy from my auto family, like the fact that my grandpa owned nothing but Chevys so my parents bought nothing but Chevys so my first two cars were all Chevys. Mostly from the same dealership in the Milwaukee area, with the owners and top execs becoming millionaires from brand loyalty that left my whole family owning Chevys. My family took care of their family, and then did it again in 5-8 years when the previous Chevy would die.

I think next time I need a car, I'll ask my actual family or my church family. Those people probably have real incentive to sell me a car that won't die as soon as I drive away.