Someone’s an A-hole: You Make the Call

2011 February 7
by mockers

I am currently embroiled in a conflict with someone who I believe to be a douche of the highest order. However…It is entirely possible that I am being the asshole here – I am so involved in the fight I can’t tell anymore.  This I concede immediately.  You guys seem to be pretty astute judges of the asshole condition…can you help me out here?  I’ll tell you the story and then you can vote on “who’s the douche” question.  If I am the douche, I will apologize and never speak of it again.  If he’s the douche, I politely ask that no one ever buy a car from him again and he and his family be forced to dance for nickels at the bus station…or worse.  I’ve got the pistols here, so I get the pesos…I think that seems fair.

So anyway, the back story…I was standing in the parking lot of my restaurant and I saw a car that looked kind of cool.  I had been half-assedly looking at new cars ever since my 1999 Chevy Malibu with almost 200,000 miles on it tried to kill me.  I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on anything quite yet – but still, this one appealed to me.  It was a black Dodge Avenger.  Now, I am not a “car guy.”  I know little more than the basics of how the combustion engine works and I’ve never really gotten into the particulars of the industry. If it can get me to work and back then I am fine.  I don’t get excited at the sound of a high-powered engine and I have certainly never gotten laid because of my wheels. So when it comes to dickering with the salesdouche, I am incapable of putting up a fight on technical grounds.  So I resort to other methods…

I don’t really believe that the way that I buy cars is all that different from the way most people do it.  I don’t think I have ever really discussed it with anyone, but it seems fairly normal to me.  I go to autotrader or and I shop around for a little bit.  When I find what I want, I hit the “get three quotes button”.  While I am waiting for the emails I go to and try to figure out what the actual invoice price is.  When they get back to me, I immediately ask them if they can hit some lowball number.  I do this for two reasons: first, you never know when there is some sort of spectacular turn of events that makes an incredibly cheap car available.  Second, it sets the tone for the negotiation.  I know that nowadays the dealership’s sticker price is 2%-3% over their total invoice.  I don’t want to insult anyone, but starting on the low end removes any notion that I am a big commission.  Normal sales people say they can’t hit my price and we go up from there, rather than down from their number.  I have purchased more than one car in this manner without so much as a complaint…until last week, that is.

The price that the dealerships were quoting was around $18,500.  I asked, “Can anyone get this done for under $15,000?”  I knew full well that the answer was no and that if I really wanted the car the best I could hope to pay was somewhere around $18,000.  After the requisite series of automatically generated emails about how much they wanted my business, I expected questions about trade-ins or suggestions for different or used models that would hit my price.  I got the auto-emails from two dealerships and the following personalized email from a third dealership:

Thanks for the inquiry on the 2011 Dodge Avenger Express. Sorry, no incentives on the express. Can’t get near $15,000. You would be better off getting the Mainstreet package. Still can’t get to 15K. Here is a 2010 with some nice options for a great price. Let me know if you have any questions.

This is exactly the response that I was expecting.  I did like the 2010 and it was a great price.  I wasn’t ready to pull any triggers yet though, so I sent the following response:

“Thanks for your response…I’ll get back with you when I hear from everyone.


To which he replies:

“Good luck”

So far so good.  Things are pretty much going according to plan.  I like the 2010 and I am relatively sure that things are going to go that way.  I knew the other dealers wouldn’t be able to touch my price, but I have to admit I was a little surprised when their responses basically just said, “No” and used the exact same wording, I mean verbatim, to reject my request.  I began to feel that I might not be getting independent quotes…this is also the first moment when I started to wonder if maybe I hadn’t set the bar a little too low at $15,000.  With the other two dealers pretty much out of the picture, I sent the following:

“Dear Salesdouche,
I have pretty much heard from everyone and nobody wants to touch my request. In fact, I am getting identical emails from two different dealers, so I am getting a little sour on the process.  I like the 2010, and the price will work.  Can you help me with the rate at all?



I was expecting him to say something like, “Sure, this month we’re offering 0% financing if you waive rebates.”  Or maybe, “You can get one point off if you served in the military” or something like that.  Instead I get the the following.  And from here is where the fight starts folks, so I will refrain from providing commentary as I do not want to influence your decision.  It is all verbatim, copied and posted from my email:

It’s not that nobody wants to sell you a brand new 2011 for $15,000, it’s we cant lose money to sell a car. The only way I can help with interest rate is if you fill out a credit application to see what the banks will do. When can you come in and see the Avenger and fill out the credit application? Let me know. Click on this listing to see all the details.
Thanks” – (emphasis mine)

My reply:

“No, I won’t be coming in. I did not arrive at the 15000 figure arbitrarily. I am sick and tired of the car salesman bullcrap like you just gave me. I will be going elsewhere.”


“Wow!!! You seem angry. Why do you think nobody will sell you one for $15,000?……………. Huh? Take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Good luck in your search.”


“Yes.  I am angry.  In particular, I am angry at the way you have chosen to write to me.  All of the sticker prices I have gotten on this car are in the $18,500 range.  I asked if anyone could get it done for under $15,000.  In my opinion – based on prices for similar vehicles, based on what I am told Chrysler employees are paying for this car and based on the fact that we’ve got to start somewhere – $3501 under sticker price is a reasonable starting point. I did not demand a car at an unreasonable price.  I did not say that I wouldn’t entertain other numbers.  I have a car that works fine, but if I could get to a number I could live with I would pull the trigger.  Instead you returned my email with the insinuation that I was acting like some sort of prima donna…“It’s not that nobody wants to sell you a brand new 2011 for $15,000, it’s we cant lose money to sell a car.”

Now, I haven’t risen to the distinguished position in life of “Internet Sales Manager” like you have and I don’t want to tell you your business – but maybe asking me if I had a trade-in would have been a better approach than condescending to me about how the art of “selling things” works and suggesting that I am being unreasonable.

Good luck with your internet sales management gig.  I hope you are able to help a lot of people manage their anger after working with you.  Also, thanks for the new material.”


Maybe this will help. You wanted a 2011 Express that has a sticker around $19,500 including destination. The Express has no rebates, none, nada, ziltch. The markup on the vehicle is around 3% give or take a little. I’m sure you’re smarter than your average Automotive Internet Sales Manager so the math should not be difficult. The only way to get the big discounts is with rebates (the Express has none).

You never mentioned a trade. Being a lowly Internet Manager doesn’t give me the capacity to read minds. What I wrote earlier is TRUE. We can’t lose money to sell a vehicle. Chrysler employees can’t buy at that number either. I  didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers, I just believe in straight talk. Everything I’ve written is true. After 20 plus years doing this “gig”, I’ve made a good living just being honest with no “Bullcrap” (I think that’s how you put it). Suggestion? Try not to be condescending to your local Automobile Sales Professional. I’ll bet if you lose the attitude and do some research you’ll be a little more successful finding a vehicle that will fit your budget, save time and might even enjoy buying a car. Remember, we’re just “Car Salesman”, we have not yet evolved to your level.

Again, good luck in your search.”


“At no point did I suggest that I was better or smarter than you…or anyone else for that matter…I do not believe that I am.  Further, I don’t need to be counseled on my attitude.  You get what you give.  You had a sale this morning.  It was your own rudeness and condescension that canceled the sale and started this exchange.

I am honestly glad that you’ve enjoyed such a long and happy career as such a straight shooting “Automobile Sales Professional.”  I do have to admit that I find it surprising that you’ve been able to do so, given the way you’ve chosen to interact with me today and despite the fact that you believe clairvoyance is necessary to determine whether or not a customer might have an old car that they’d like to trade in.  Again, I am not an internet sales manager, so I don’t know for sure – but I have purchased a handful of cars in my short time on this planet.  Each and every time, I have to decide what to do with the car that I am replacing.  The only explanation that I can think of is that, for the last 20 years, your customers must have been so taken aback by your honesty and “straight-shootereynous” that they are unable to bring it up and just leave their old cars in the driveway as a perpetual monument to your straight-shooterdom.

I will repeat again, the $15,000 was not arbitrarily chosen.  I had a very good idea what the invoice price was (probably somewhere around $17,600) and I know what the profit margin was 3%-5%. I knew $15,000 was low, but it is not an insulting lowball figure either.  Even if it was, your reply was still unacceptable. All you had to say was that you couldn’t do it. That’s what the other two dealers said, because that was the answer.  I believe it is possible to shoot straight without being a jerk, (guy’s name).

If you had simply said that you would do what you could with the rate if I came down and filled out a credit app, I would be there right now – giving you my social security number. We’re at the point now that I am going to do whatever I can to publicize this exchange and let people make their own decision about who was the good guy and who was the bad guy.

Have a great weekend,”


Wow!! I don’t know what to say. It’s amazing how you can tell a persons intent via e-mail……… Amazing!!!!! Well, I’m done playing today, time to get back to work and help some folks buy a vehicle. You have yourself a fantastic day. By the way, going viral works both ways. We can publicize too. Name, E-mail address, etc.  Thought for the day….. Prozac, it not just for breakfast anymore.

Bye Bye now”


“Are you suggesting that I suffer from depression?  And that if I took Prozac I would be better able to endure your special brand of straight shooting without complaint? So are you also “shooting straight” with people that have mental health problems?  Just curious. When you “go viral” and post my name and email address, are you going to post this exchange verbatim on the dealership’s website?”

So there you have it…the entire exchange presented unedited and in its entirety…except for salesdouche’s identity.  I won’t publish his name or the name of the dealership until it has been decided that he’s the dickhead in this situation.  So, what do you think?  Is he a bigoted condescending jackass or am I an oversensitive wuss who deserved what I got because I tried to lowball the guy?  You make the call…

22 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 February 7

    I hate saying this because there is nothing I hate more than a salesdouche. His response about no one wanting to sell you a car for 15k was definitely douchey, but I don’t think it crossed the line into asshole land. I think it was actually your statement, “Now, I haven’t risen to the distinguished position in life of “Internet Sales Manager” like you have… ” that sent the whole exchange into the giant fight. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you might be the asshole here.

  2. 2011 February 7
    metten permalink

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Paul. I agree it was a dick thing to say. I won’t disagree with you, but in my defense, the blast wasn’t unleashed until I called him on his douchey comment and he responded with the even douchier, “Why do you think nobody will sell you one for $15,000?……………. Huh?”

    I interpreted that as a double dog dare…

  3. 2011 February 7
    WendyD permalink

    Yeah, I’m going to have to agree with Paul. The sales guy’s comment was a bit rude, but you then pushed the matter into asshole territory.

    You probably have a letter of apology laying around from college 😉

  4. 2011 February 7
    Vicki permalink

    I think you’d better try a Chevy. Or a dealership in a different town. This one’s leaving you a smear of something somewhere. Mostly deserved.

  5. 2011 February 7
    WBinOH permalink

    I think you should send him a link to mockables, I believe he could write a decent guest mockable about unreasonable customers.
    Sorry I couldn’t resist taking a shot. I voted on the salesman being the asshole here if for no other reason than a professional should not have let himself get dragged into a war of words with a potential customer. You didn’t ask for his commentary and he shouldn’t have provided it. You told him you were interested in the 2010 and he should have stayed on that point.

  6. 2011 February 7
    Dave permalink

    When I do the math, 3% of 18,500 is only 550 dollars. 15,000 is closer to a 20% discount. Unless you mistakenly said 2% or 3% instead of 20% to 30%, you were wrong and the dealer would be correct in saying that nobody could sell at that price. Sorry but I think you owe the guy an apology.

  7. 2011 February 7
    Nathan permalink

    While I do think you both were jerks, i agree with Jason. No offense or anything, it does fall on the “professional”to defuse the situation instead of escalating it. I think you were in the right Jason.

  8. 2011 February 7
    SeeKar permalink

    Probably a bit oversensitive, but courteous and professional exchanges usually don’t make for good Mockable material!

  9. 2011 February 7
    Nurse Ratched permalink

    I think from the jump that you made sure that your expectations would be met….Now go stand in the corner

  10. 2011 February 7
    squawvalleyskip permalink

    I’ve had my share of exchanges that went pretty much like this. The “Internet Sales Manager” position in life comment pushed the whole thing past the point of no return.But he was wrong to try an even mildly smartass comment with a customer. I’d look elswhere. But salesboy should have kept it a little more professional, in my opinion. When I bought my pickup and my wife’s car (at the same time) I called every dealer in 300 miles, told them what I was looking for, and asked them what they could do for me. Most of them asked what everyone else said. I told them it was none of their business, just give me a quote. Then I called everyone again and told them they were close, could they do any better. One place almost had my business, then raised the price 400 at the last minute. They got cut out, and a place a couple hundred higher than that offer got my business. I was still happy enough to write a check for a ’06 Tacoma and a ’06 Corolla. The one easy payment plan. And almost 3 grand cheaper than a couple of the competitive offers. I’d suggest more than three dealers. A couple hundred miles for a couple grand pencils out pretty good.

  11. 2011 February 7
    Kevindust permalink

    I understand that you are not a car guy but the 2010 Dodge Avenger is a really, really poor example of the breed. “Dodge’s interpretation of the Chrysler Sebring sedan represents good value and has added safety features for 2010, yet it is dynamically and stylistically deficient, to be kind. We’re just hoping Chrysler’s new Italian Fiat overlords can engineer a decent replacement in a hurry. Highs: Lots of available gadgets, cool-sounding name. Lows: Coarse engines, subpar performance, poor materials, noncohesive styling.”

    (I know you didn’t ask and I should just keep my mouth shut but I love cars and for the same money there are far better choices that will benefit even a non-car guy.)

  12. 2011 February 7
    SeaninVA permalink

    All carsalesmen are asshats by default, I’ve only found one that proved me wrong. This guy is definitely at the top of his game, and his willingness to play verbal judo with an accomplished mocker cements his asshat status. That being said, I think you are to blame for starting the exchange down the wrong road. Of course with the guys attitude, it would have gone there anyway at some point!

  13. 2011 February 7
    Tommajean permalink

    You were a superb mocking asshole. He was a jerk for falling into your play and not being professional enough to deal with an asshole properly. You raised his blood pressure, yanked his chain, caused him to lose his “professional” cool by answering you in his smartass manner. Good job in my opinion.

    Glad you’re back on the job.

  14. 2011 February 7
    SaucyDeb permalink

    Oh how I hate car salesjerks. I loathe the entire process. I’m going to be buying a new car in the very near future and my sphincter puckers at the very thought. In this particular case, Metten, I think you were poking the bear. He said something sort of jerky and you took offense to it. Salesjackoff, of course, took the bait and ran with it. If he had any sense (or sales savvy), he would have just let it lie. The salesdouche is the bigger asshole if for no other reason than he’s the guy who’s got something to lose. Metten doesn’t have a horse in this race. There are a ton of other dealerships out there that are more than willing to take your business and I’d wager that one of those will have an “Internet Sales Manager” that knows how to hold his tongue when baited into an argument.

  15. 2011 February 7
    William Rainey permalink

    I’m a lover of your site and perspective, but in this case YOU were the douche that started the fight and were the primarily guilty party in this unpleasant exchange.

  16. 2011 February 8
    The Crotch Kid permalink

    I don’t know, but I sure wish I could write like you.

  17. 2011 February 9
    Strangeart permalink

    Sorry Metten, you win the asshole title. But I still love you.

  18. 2011 February 14

    All car salesmen suck.

  19. 2011 February 15
    t-storm permalink

    Salesdouche is the salesdouche here. He’s the one who brought up the 2011 again when the customer said he was fine with the 2010 but now wanted help on financing.
    Also while the customer might have escalated it, the sales manager should have just let it go and not emailed back. And not emailed back like a teenager would. The personal attack at the end can be looked at as defamation. I can’t think of any job where I would tell a customer in writing that they need prozac.

    And what is up with this line?
    Remember, we’re just “Car Salesman”

    We car salesman we make big money of cadillac car. Lots of cadillac car come our way and we car salesman make many big sale.

    Fuck that guy and his 3% mark up.

  20. 2011 February 16
    Jdelyon permalink

    I don’t think the salesman was out of line. It kind of felt like he was set up by you. Cars are ridicuously expensive- haggling or not.

  21. 2011 February 22
    Cheryl permalink

    I’m late getting here, but I must comfirm that you are, in fact, a douche.

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