So, here I am writing my first article that is not a news article. It is something which is actually related to what I underwent when I recently bought my Volkswagen Beetle. Now, you might think that I am a filthy rich person, but that’s not the case and donations from my dad as also cousin helped me in finally getting my dream car. Earlier on, I had heard stories about females going out to buy cars on their own and the sales person not taking them seriously. Been there, done that, and I have experienced this first hand now. I can be an ordinary customer or even a know-it-all customer, but how the sales person treats me is what should be considered. The minute you enter a show room, there is an underlying that this is a solitary woman who has come in. By the way, it is said that women and machines don’t mix. There are some potshots about females driving and also that ladies don’t understand machines. To some extent, it may be true but then there are men who also can’t drive properly. To lay rest to a controversial topic, I will be back to the task at hand. I went to three VW showrooms and behaved as if I am a different personality each time. This gave me a wide idea of how sales people treat a lady customer. Here is a recount of me in different avatars.
Going by my slender build, I am almost always mistaken for being a teenage girl when I am more than ** years of age. First rule, women don’t disclose their age and that too in public. To match with the teenage looks, I wore a Capri and a tee. Out in the VW show room, I went alone and the sales person over there happened to be a male. Well, no female attendants in sight. He was initially looking over my shoulder, expecting my dad or even some other male chaperone to follow. After some time I told him that I live alone and want to buy the VW Beetle. I behaved like a naïve person who doesn’t know anything and asked him to explain each and everything. I told him that from childhood, I had a dream of buying the Beetle and that’s what I am out to achieve now. He understood me perfectly or so I think. I told him that I want automatic everything and that includes the transmission. I gave a sort of squeal when he told me that this one comes with an auto transmission. I also wanted a seat height adjuster so that my 5’4’’ frame would look a bit more when I am driving. He said that the car has everything going for it; however there is a month waiting period since he has to order the car now and only then it would be dispatched from overseas. Moreover, he explained me in depth about the ride quality and the German build and reliability. Also, the benefits of having a 24×7 towing service was also there. I was so sold out on his professionalism that I would have given a go ahead then and there, but I did want to check out on the general attitude at different show rooms and hence, I once again set out for the new showroom, informing the sales person that I will get back to him within 2 days.
The Mother of two:
Now, this role was a bit difficult for me since I don’t look the part. For the very same reason, I happened to take Madhurima ma’am with me. She works in my office and is aged 45 (she has no qualms disclosing her age). I explained to her the part and stuff. She was to harp more on safety since her kids are relatively small, aged between 6-10 years. This time around, we found a saleslady strolling towards us casually. She seemed the least interested and was more into having a dekkho at her freshly done nail paints. She asked us which car we would like to purchase and when we said in unison that it would be the Beetle, she gave us a casual look and told us that it was supposed to be worth Rs 25 lakhs on-road. As if, we didn’t do our research well before getting into the show room. Madhurima started out by saying that she wants the company to offer her pickup drop facilities and stuff plus she wanted space. Well, that’s asking for too much considering that the Beetle is a 2 seater at the best with space for just Madhu’s 6 year old daughter at the rear. But Madhu went on her own song and was also interested in the mileage. Well, can’t say anything coz “it’s the average Indian mentality”. She also asked an interesting question – if the spares for the car are manufactured locally or are imported. The blooper of all or rather unexpected question was “How do the ABS work?” The sales girl gave her some sort of stare and then went about answering that question but with a coy (coy?) look at her nails all the time. While explaining ABS, she even paused once to take a deeper look at her nails and this was what pushed me off. Within half an hour, we left the show room giving some excuse.
Rear seat passenger:
Well, for this type of customer, it would be wrong to shop for the Beetle, so I changed my preference to the Vento. For this, I took along my friend, posing as my fiancé. Initially he was a bit reluctant, but then since it involved my first article, he agreed. The idea was to pose as a would be married couple wherein the husband would be doing all the driving and the wife would seated in the back seat. Now, I am sure that all of you know very well that the back seat lady can be a deal breaker many times. My mum is a deal breaker at my place, so you can say that I have a first hand experience. This task proved quite amusing to me at the cost of my friend, who I got to boss over for a considerable amount of time. For this adventure, I had to dress up as conservatively as possible and this time went in for a pair of jeans and kurti. This time also, it was a male who came up to do salesman duties. He gave a courtesy nod towards me and moved on to the nitty gritties with my male friend. You wouldn’t even believe it that he royally ignored me in the whole process. The whole time he was sir-ring my friend, also quite purring upto him. In the end, I could see my friend was convinced on buying the car. Here, I was upset about the fact that he didn’t even pay a second glance at me (not the types that a male usually gives a female). With the deal almost finished, he turned to me sweetly and asked “Madam, aapko kaunsa color pasand hain?” For the uninitiated or for those who aren’t well versed in Hindi, it means “Ma’am, which color do you like?” This literally made me make up my mind that I wouldn’t be going to this show room for my Beetle. A person who thinks that the female of the house doesn’t have any inkling about machines should also know well enough that women are the ones who actually operate the mixer, washing machines, grinders and other electrical appliances.
These were some of the experiences that I underwent and it was a no-brainer as to which show room I would visit to bring my Beetle home. Lesson learnt – there are two types of men; one who don’t care and the others who don’t bother.
Editor’s note to car sales people:
When a woman accompanies a man or even comes alone to a car showroom, then, she should be treated with utmost respect and also her lookout should be kept in consideration while making the deal. Most of the times, if the lady of the house is impressed, then the rest of the family falls in line and it is just that simple to hit the sale.