Over the years I’ve bought many cars and they all have one thing in common…I made the decision on my own of what/where I was going to purchase. My First car was a 1988 Honda Civic Hatchback that I found in a newspaper article that I searched out and went to purchase on my own (I actually bought my first car before I turned 16)! My Dad, of course went with me and made sure that I wasn’t getting a Lemon. That car got totaled and I went on to buy two more cars in high school one of which was also in an accident…my nickname became crash, lol! I have purchased 3 used cars as an adult woman and 3 new cars, I won’t claim to be an expert but I have learned a thing or two.
I will never forget the time I went to a certain dealer here in Columbus (Im not going to call them out by name) to purchase a minivan and had a horrible experience. I had a Used Mercedes R350 that I had purchased from the Toy Barn in Dublin which I LOVED and was the perfect car for 2 kiddos. The kicker was when I got pregnant with Jaden I knew with the size of a large stroller, 3 car seats, and whatever else needed to be in my car I had to move to a MiniVan. I will stress that the absolute only reason I was changing was due to size. I had Identified that I really wanted to get a minivan for at least the years when Jaden and Cameron were in a carseat because I didn’t want to climb in and out of a big SUV to buckle everyone in. Toy Barn didn’t have any so I just decided to go with a new one to get all the bells and whistles that they had in 2013. Well I go into this dealership to see what would compare to my Mercedes, and If you know me at all I am a jokester usually. I tell the salesman, I need something as pretty as my Mercedes so in other words, I want most souped up van that you have. Now Greg, my husband was with me but he knows that I’m an independant woman and that I have always done the car buying on my own so he went more just to be with me then anything else. The salesman takes us to their “most souped up” version of a van that they had. I looked at him and said, “This is nice but I was really wanting something that had a luxurious feel to it like my R350. Are there any other available options?” Let me remind you this is the 3rd time now that I have told him what I need, this time more descriptively. He looks at me then turns to Greg and says “Why does it need to be pretty, this is the best van on the market mechanically.” Greg tried to help the guy, bless his heart and said, “Don’t talk to me, my wife is buying this car, its her money, her car, her decision.” So at this point I’m annoyed because this guy obviously doesn’t respect me but I really wanted this car I just needed to know if it could upgraded. I asked him one more question and honestly its blurry as to what it was because I got so mad with his response I essentially told him that he had made a mistake because I was going to buy from them but now I Im going to go to their competitor. You remember Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman? Vivian: “You people work on commission, right?” Shop assistant: “Yeah.” Vivian: “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”
I recently asked the question on Instagram, Whats your worst Car buying experience? and got a ton of responses. I heard all kinds of things from women like: “I went in to buy a particular car for a price and when I went back it was so different.” “Very misleading!!!!!!!” “I hate when they assume I know nothing because Im a girl!” “I got harassed by the manager and left crying” “I haven’t felt confident to buy a car alone because of a situation that happened…” “The guy would only talk to my husband.” and the list goes on and on. My Photographer/Friend, Chad Diblasio shared the question and got an overwhelming response as well. WHY IS THIS!?!? The car buying experience needs to change or we all need to go where what we are asking for gets shown and we are not treated as if we can’t make the decision on our own.
I mentioned that I have purchased one car from the Toy Barn (My husband Greg has purchased two sports cars from them). Our experience has always been an amazing one. When I decided to write about the car buying experience as a woman I knew that I wanted to highlight The Toy Barn. This is not a sponsored post, although it would be cool if I got a car out of it, lol!!! I spoke with Marc Snyder, The Operations Manager and he said that The Toy Barn really wants customers to have an experience with their car.
They don’t just have expensive toys either, they just added a lot dedicated to cars that are priced under $30,000.
They search out specific cars with low miles and have a lot of referral business and repeat customers. In my mind that is the key to their continued success! I can personally attest to the experience with my R350 purchase and my husbands Jaguar and Corvette Purchase. Another thing that he said that was very interesting is that they want the cars that they sell to have an emotional draw. I remember the sales manager Greg calling us when he got in a Bumble Bee Camaro back when Christian was 4 so that he could come over and check it out. He knew that he was into Transformers and would love to see it and sit in it. Every time I come across those pictures i remember how excited he was and how Greg almost wanted to buy it just because Christian thought it was the coolest thing ever!
3 4 Tips for Buying a Car
- Understand your goal. Sometimes shiny objects get the better of us. Know in advance what you need. Do you have kids and need space? Is this a fun car? Can you get away with One large car and one sedan? You don’t want to get a car and then realize it doesn’t meet all of your needs.
- Count the Cost. If you are going to by a foreign vehicle sometimes sticker shock can set in on the maintenance. Is the dealership full service and stand by their vehicles. Is it a large SUV that is going to take premium gas and/or fuel efficiency.
- Do your research. Know what you should pay for the car, stand your ground and don’t be afraid to walk away. I spoke with a single client at my practice once who said the deal went bad quickly when the price was more then she was given on the phone, the color was wrong but he pressured her so bad that she bought the car anyway.
- Bonus- Sleep on it. I really believe if a car is meant to be then, it will be there the next day.