You’re Broke? Well, Congratulations!!

After you’ve purchased a car, why is it that nearly everyone in the dealership has to shake your hand and tell you, “Congratulations!!”? Isn’t it strange that you just gave them thirty-grand and you’re the one responding, “Thank you.”?

Something’s just not quite right.

You’ve worked hard for your money. It used to be secure in a bank, but now you’ve drained your savings and have forked it over to us. Congratulations!

You get to pay us interest till it makes you sick. Congratulations!

Your brand new car will lose $2,000-$4,000 the moment it’s driven off the lot. Congratulations!

You get to pay for a vehicle registration fee, title fee, license fee, documentation fee, compliance fee, emissions testing fee, and advertising fee (though it wouldn’t be surprising if a complimentary coffee fee, handshake greeting fee, test drive fee, and bathroom usage fee were tagged on as well). Regardless, congratulations!

Don’t forget that extended warranty. Pay up! And congratulations!!

 Best of all: From the moment you arrived, our commissioned sales vultures did everything in their power to corner you into an uncomfortable pressured situation so grossly laden with industry-wide deceptions, that if you didn’t commit to buying on the spot, then your car’s Limited-One-Time-Only-Like-This-Is-It offer would forever haunt your poor decision to pass up on the deal of a lifetime. Ah yes, the unenjoyable car buying experience that ate up half your day. Well, guess what? We got your money! Congratulations!

Why is it the high-dollar purchases hold the honors to a congratulations? Car, airplane, and boat dealers are all, well, in the same boat. And, unfortunately, the word congratulations sounds right. We’ve grown accustomed to it. Those industries have wielded their magical psychological tactics to figure out a way to make the incorrect usage of the word, correct. With other businesses, using congratulations after a purchase just sounds weird: Congratulations on buying a brand new hammer! Congratulations on your haircut! You just paid us a $60.00 co-pay for your medical exam…congratulations!

We should be thankful that businesses, from which less costly purchases are made, don’t suck us into a backwards congratulations. Imagine your local grocery store…

Whoa! You purchased a box of cereal! Congratulations! And is that a pack of cotton balls? A sincere double congratulations!!

So that people feel good about their purchases, the grocery industry could apply similar “You’ve got to be kidding me!” car industry costs to their customers. All to ensure an even more spirited congratulations…

Aisle 7 Sales Professional: “Ma’am–that box of cereal–if times are tough, we can make it very affordable. Instead of paying $3.37 full price today, we can finance it at a low 2.5% interest rate for 12 monthly payments of only $0.29. All you need to do to apply is fill out the 53-page application form with any of our more-than-friendly cashiers.

More-Than-Friendly Cashier: “Here are a couple of pens ma’am, in case you run out of ink filling out the 53-page Agony Application. When you’re finished, I’ll be happy to process you after the man who’s on page 28, applying to finance his apple. Oh, and remember, we can’t guarantee total money-back of product coverage. While you do have a top-to-bottom of cereal box warranty, it doesn’t cover Acts of Evil. Such as, if upon exiting the store, you were robbed at gun-point for your Raisin Bran. Our Extended Warranty Against Evil will guarantee a 100% money-back refund. Evil is all around us. Pit bulls, scud missiles, utility bills, and, of course–you knew this one was coming–cereal killers plague our streets.

Grocery Store Manager (extending hand): “Ma’am, I would like to be the first to congratulate you for being the proud owner of a financed box of cereal. Looks like you got quite a beauty there–fully loaded interior of sun-ripened raisins, all packed inside one classy Frost Pearl and Glossy Purple exterior. I see you purchased the warranty against Evil. Smart choice. There’s a heavily tattooed man outside our store holding a carton of milk, a spoon, and an empty bowl. Chances are you’re on his radar. But no worries…you are fully covered! That’s not just a box of breakfast in your hands. That’s an investment!And now that we have your money, well…CONGRATULATIONS!!”

Yes, the hearty congratulations from the car dealers needs to stop. It’s time they showed their appreciation for your money. It’s time they acknowledge that you practically had to rob a bank to be able to make the purchase.

And the day they can tell their buyers, “Thank you!” will be the day their buyers can offer them a firm handshake and say, “Congratulations!”

Copyright Ros Hill 2016

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