• I’m glad you can see the humor in the situation. Hang in there, honey, and hopefully we’ll find the right vehicle soon!

  • Michael

    I like how you [criticized the salesman for dishonesty] when in fact it was your dishonesty in conducting this psychological game that wasted the car salesman’s time.

  • Jared Tanner

    If the salesman had offered a good enough deal, I honestly would have purchased the car; its shortcomings could be rectified by repairs. In order to see if I could talk him down to a great deal, it required me to spend time listening to him. At the same time I conducted my unofficial experiment. I tried a number of times to leave earlier but the salesman kept resorting to typical, “but wait” tactics. There’s nothing dishonest in me listening to him make his pitch. That’s what salespeople do. That’s the purpose of marketing. Is it dishonest to “waste” someone’s time with advertisements? You might argue that ads are a waste of time but again, it depends on the situation and the person and the perspective. With my car dealership experience, it was late, just before the dealership was closing. I was the only customer there. Maybe we count this experience as sales training for the salesperson. Of course, there are a number of people who argue that all (or most) social psychology experiments are dishonest by nature. I guess it just depends on your perspective. I’m certainly not calling for moral relativism but calling what I did dishonest again, is like calling all marketing dishonest or doing research with placebos dishonest. There’s nothing inherently dishonest about it.

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  • Melissa

    Hi there, this article is interesting and is definatly similar to a lot of my experiences when looking for a car recently.
    However one garage actually wanted me to put a deposit down on a car before I drove it, why do you think this is? I asked to test drive it and he said that it needs a service so is unsafe to drive, he then said the battery’s flat, when challenging this he said I could drive it in the car park?! Then finally I could test drive it but I wouldnt be insured! They were a terrible garage (dyl motor group, Halifax, Yorkshire, England) and I really liked the car, went back twice but there was no way I was purchasing a car off them!

  • Jared Tanner

    Asking for a deposit before a test drive is a way for them to cover their losses should anything happen to the car (I’m not sure how business insurance works in England but in the U.S. a car dealership would have insurance to cover accidents). From a psychological perspective, it’s a way for you to “invest” in the vehicle so you feel a greater connection to it and as a result will have a stronger desire to purchase it.

    It’s generally not recommended to purchase any car you cannot test drive first. If a car needs mechanical work first, do not purchase it until the work has all been done to your level of satisfaction (that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a car needing work, just don’t ever purchase anything you are not comfortable purchasing).

  • Andrew Haynes

    Thanks for reminding me of how horrible it is to buy a car! Lol! I’m about to have to go look at used cars for my gf’s son. I can’t stand salesman trying to use psychology on me… I really hate being manipulated, as I’m sure anyone does. I think it gets to me more, because I understand they are trying to use specific techniques I learned about in psychology on me, like I’m a fool! My gf actually works for a dealership and they lie and manipulate if they have too, to get a sale! Snakes!

    Great write-up!