There is no limit to how naive we can be when we want to avoid an unpleasant experience, such as purchasing a vehicle. Bob has been doing homework to replace his 1990 Accord with 160K miles and permanent stale coffee smell for some time and this kicked up a notch last weekend when he saw an ad for Hertz used sales (where I purchased my Camry and we had a no hassle experience). He had his eye on a Mazda 6 but was disappointed with the test drive. When he went to the credit union to get financing the gal there mentioned the credit union’s special auto sale this weekend with supposedly special pricing and pre-priced cars so you don’t have get into that demoralizing haggling thing.

This morning we were up bright and early and driving off at 9am to go to a car event and serious about coming home with a new car.

I kid you not: it was worse than a regular car lot. There were freshly showered, smiling dockers/oxford shirt guys, standing at the edge of the lot, ready to talk the minute you set foot on that gravel walkway. The ratio of sales people to shoppers was about 5 to 1. I wandered two cars away from Bob a couple of times and within moments faux-cheery salespeople were making a beeline to meet me. We could hardly browse and check out the inventory because every three steps there was someone bugging us. Our first guy, Yuri, was very nice and about as non-greasy as a car saleman could be. We later found out that he used to be a computer programmer and Bob said every other car saleman he meets was formerly in technology.

Yuri walked with us to the other side of the sale to look at some other cars and apparently crossed over the magic line into another dealer’s territory. He was new, his company probably should have prepped him better but there was no excuse for this total THUG to dash over and kick him off with rude words and a hostile sneer, looking as though he could barely keep himself from punching the guy. Yeah: like I’m in the mood to buy a car from Vancouver Mazda now. At this point, (we’d been on the lot less than an hour) we’d already had enough and that little skirmish put a permanent bad taste in our mouths. We checked a couple more models and scooted out of there as fast as we could. (Also the no-haggle thing was partly a myth.)

We went to the new Costco to get a new DVD player (Angel-hooray!) and as we pulled into the parking lot we were still checking out cars: “Oh, there’s a Honda … that Subaru looks nice.” And then as we were inside, we were about 6 feet from the Verizon booth and we both physically cringed and dodged the salesguys, a knee jerk reaction after our experience at the car lot.

We may be returning to Hertz.

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