Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

"Confessions of a Car Salesman".

Investigative journalism at its finest. While it was a close call versus Geraldo's opening of Capone's vault, I'll (controversially) rate this investigation superior on its discoveries.

Edmunds sent a writer into the bowels of car dealerships to generate an expose of their practices. In one sense, they got the expected--the shady tactics, the oily sales staff, the ethical lapses. In another, they got surprises--for example, humanization of some salespeople, sympathization with people caught in a dehumanizing grinder, and recognition of the honorable among the dishonorable.

This lengthy piece introduces the reader to the hiring process--including psychological tests. Questions about applicants' predilection towards booze and guns abounded. At one dealership, the mind games weren't limited to the printed page of the psych exam; they continued with varied (and creative) tests of one's assertiveness. For example, would you think 20+ phone calls would be intentionally ignored only for the 21st to result in a job offer? It did.

In addition, one interview involved a challenge to the applicant (the writer) to sell the interviewer on the merits of a .69 plastic pen. Deftly, the interviewee highlighted the handy storage capability for the cap, and the ability to see the status of the ink reservoir, among other things.

The writer actually worked undercover at two dealerships--one hard sell and the other "no haggle". The investigator illuminated how even the "no haggle" place maximizes its profits to the detriment of its customers.

You'll learn the lingo, the tricks, and strategies for avoiding being fleeced--along the way you'll be amazed and amused.

Read it for education, edification and entertainment. You will find all three there.