How a condescending Honda guy cost the company a sale

Published May 5, 2016

Karen and I are looking at buying a new car, and we’ve (sort of) narrowed it down to two options: A Honda Fit or a Kia Soul. Yesterday we took a drive to West Broad Honda (@WestBroadHonda) to look at the Fit. The sales guy we met was a little pushy, but I don’t begrudge him that — it’s his job. No problems there. After looking at a few cars, we decided to take the Fit for a test drive. Karen took the conn as she’s gonna be using it most.

It was parked in a sort of tight spot, but nothing too crazy — she had to make a sharp turn around a parked car to get out, which meant turn, back up a little, turn again. No big deal, right, especially with me in the passenger seat to tell her she had room to maneuver. But things went south.

First, as she’s straightening out, one guy came out and started trying to direct her. We couldn’t understand what he was saying. We thought something was wrong because it wasn’t like we were having a problem. (I.e., she had been doing this all of about 15 seconds. It wasn’t as if she was struggling at all.)

So she rolls down the window and asks, “What do you want me to do?” The guy gestures that she should cut the wheel to the left. (Which, to be honest, wasn’t necessary. I was in the passenger seat and she was fine as she was.) Karen hesitates. Then another guy, standing next to the driver’s side, repeats, “Cut the wheel to the left.”

And he reaches in the window and turns the wheel for her. Oh boy.

The first guy continues to gesture, unnecessarily, from in front. And I say aloud, “You are making a very big mistake.”

Because, see, Karen has been driving for 30 years. Including a gadzillion tight spots. This spot was no issue at all. It wasn’t like she had been trying over and over to get out; she was taking it slowly because it wasn’t her car. In fact, she spent more time trying to understand what the gesticulating man was saying than she would have just driving out of the spot. Treating her like that was a Very Bad Idea.

She gets out of the spot, stops the car, puts it in Park, and says, “We are not buying a car here.” And we left.

As she pointed out on the way to the Kia dealer, there is no way they would ever have done that — reached into the car and turned the steering wheel — for a man.

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