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Carol Perkins: The search for the next truck

The search for the next truck, a workingman's Dodge Ram 1500 has been fraught with frustration. Carol wonders why the purchase always takes one through the salesman's circles? Why a simple up or down quote can't be gotten.
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: A Matter of Taste. Posted September 22, 2013

By Carol Perkins

For the past month, Guy and I have been searching for a truck. Not just any truck, but a Dodge Ram 1500. We don't want a new one, but one that is purely for hauling and loading and unloading things such as mums, bags of mulch, and dirt. We want to be able to move junk from the basement to the landfill and then bring home a new door to replace the one I have been trying to get for more than a few years. In other words, we want a workingman's truck. Not that we can't find it, but we can't find a reasonably priced one.

I plan to trade my Escalade for it, but was never offered a fair deal as a trade-in. Or at least I didn't like any offers. For example, this guy in Nicholasville wanted to take my 2005 Escalade with 110,000 miles and give me his 2003 Dodge Ram and I pay him $2,000. Really? Was he joking? He didn't think his offer was out the door, but I was.

I have done most of my looking online, so when I found a 2001 near Nashville I asked Guy to go by to look at it since he was going that way. He called later. "It is a great truck BUT you would need a stepladder to get in it." It had been jacked up.

Not being a wheeler-dealer, I don't speak the language of salespeople. Guy has been in a type of sales all his life, so I deferred to him as best as I could without chiming in periodically when I didn't think he got right to the point. We were in a dealership in Bowling Green and I was playing the little wife routine and letting him talk. I sat quietly and smiled. We had found a truck that didn't really excite me because it was silver, but it was acceptable enough to move ahead with a quote. Not one person in a dealership can make a decision without consulting someone else. That is why I like doing business locally because there doesn't have to be a committee meeting first.

"I have the wholesale man here today and he will take a look at your Escalade and give you a price." Fair enough, I thought. Maybe this man knows its worth. What a laugh. The guy came back with a print out of the price of the truck and the offer on mine. The big dog offered me $5,000. I nearly choked trying not to say a word. Guy said, "Well, I know how this game is played, so let's get some real numbers going." I have never been good at games. I don't get the reason for circling and circling to come to a bottom line. Just give me the bottom line.

The circle led back with an offer of $8,000 for my vehicle. At that point I couldn't hold back. "Does he think we're stupid?"

"It's a game," Guy said to me in order to get me to hush.

"Well, this game is over," I said and got up.

"Wait a minute," the salesman said, "let's see what HE can do, meaning the manager." As we walked by his desk on our way to the door, the manager made one last offer, which was still an insult. "But that's a really good truck you want." It was an "05.

"Well, that's a really good Escalade, too."

We left truckless. Guy declared that he was tired of looking and tired of haggling and that I might as well realize that nobody was going to give me what I thought my vehicle is worth.

"I know what the Blue Book value is and it isn't $8,500."

We drove down the road and I spotted a lovely truck on another lot. Guy growled but pulled in and it was calling to me. Out dashed yet another salesperson. I would be trading an '05 for an '07 so maybe the difference wouldn't be outlandish. Wrong. The price of that truck and what I was offered was a difference of $10,000. We left and went to eat.

I still don't have a truck, but Guy and I are growing accustomed to the search. It has become what we do for fun. Pretty sad, isn't it? - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2013-09-29 09:16:35
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