Roll up to a Honda dealer in Phoenix…
“My fiancé and I aren’t ready to buy and wont be for a few weeks- I don’t want to waste your time on the financial stuff, we’re not even halfway done comparing different CUVs in our price range. All we want is to see and test-drive the new CRV and then we’ll be out of your hair. We’d like to see the EX-L or Touring (top trims) and we don’t care about color or anything like that.”
Them: “Of course! Take a seat we’ll pull one around”
FOURTY MINUTES go by. There’s a sales guy in a cubicle but he looks busy and when we arrived all the other sales guys were standing out front chatting, so I head outside, but nobody is around. I’m trying not to be pushy because I’ve already been loud about not buying today so I know I’m not their highest priority, but I feel like I should at least be on the list. I look around for a second and head back in- I find that busy sales guy with a stack of paperwork sitting with my fiancé and she looks very uncomfortable. I walk back over and say “thats a lot of paperwork for a test drive!” and my fiancé goes “oh no, he was running me through all of the finance options. He wants to run a credit check” and then gives me that “where did you go” stink eye.
At this point, I sit down and push the paperwork back towards him- “we can do the math on payments just fine. We’re here for a test drive because we havent seen the new model in person- can you go check on that? They were pulling one around a half hour ago.”
“Well but what good is a test drive if you don’t know what the payments look like! We’re running a deal right now-“
“We’re not buying today, we’d just like to see the car.”
He’s pissy- gets up and heads back to his desk for a walkie talkie and asks if they have the CRV ready and gets a gruff crackly response I couldn’t hear. He puts his salesman smile back on and asks us to come outside. “Fucking finally” says my fiancé. Indeed.
We get outside and all the salesmen who vaporized are now surrounding the car smiling like one of those creepy “Welcome to the Sorority” videos. One of them dutifully opens the door to reveal cloth seats and the most embarrassingly shitty infotainment screen to grace a supposed 2020 vehicle. “This is an LX… we wanted to see a Touring…” says my fiancé. She double takes the window sticker, “…and this is a 2018.”
Me, trying to get this over with quickly- “well lets just sit in it anyways while they pull around a 2020 Touring” I say this loudly, giving the nearest salespeople a strong look, getting nothing but robotic smiles back. None of the salespeople move. Thats the moment I give up completely, but I’ve now socially obligated us to sit in the damn thing so we do.
So after all that- almost an hour of completely wasted time- we’re greeted by truly the least impressive modern vehicle we sat in our entire time looking for cars. There was obvious water damage on the soft cloth trim under the windows. My fiancé commented that it was all the exact same switchgear and features as the 2014 Civic we were replacing. A random salesperson hops in the back and starts trying to tell us about all the great features and my fiancé is found to be 100% correct- not a single listed feature was something her 6-year-old Civic didn’t have. He asks if we want to test drive- through the open window the paperwork salesman says “they havent filled out the paperwork yet” and the guy in the back says “oh okay well lets run inside and we can get that taken care of!”
“No thanks, we’re good.” We start to climb out. Paperwork salesman goes straight for my fiancé, she’s not even halfway out of the car- “So we can get you guys in this one today for only $225 a month with 0% interest. I know you were looking for the Touring but we sell waaay more of these- theres not really that big of a difference between the models, and you save a ton of money!”
“We’re NOT buying today” snaps my fiancé.
“Thanks for your time” I’m pushing unlock on my Acura’s key frantically as if it’ll help get us out of here faster.
“Fucking waste of time” one of the salespeople says under his breath- “Sure was!” I snap, as my car beep-beeps to life just in time.
In the safety of my car we agreed that even though we were both raised by die-hard Honda/Acura families and had continued to drive Honda/Acuras as adults, we’d never again even consider one. I’ve never had my entire worldview shifted so dramatically in an hour.
Interestingly, Toyota was probably second worst for also trying to shove paperwork and quotes and credit checks down our throat when we really just wanted to drive a fucking Rav4. Hyundai and Mazda stood out as FANTASTIC experiences- knowledgeable, excited 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 around.
A bad dealer experience can be all it takes to turn you off of a brand forever, especially when the sales folks get too pushy. You recoil at the thought of owning that car, just because you were forced into it — and you may never return to that brand again.