I walked into the room, looked around, and tried to hide my growing sense of intimidation. The room was full of men (the only woman I saw was the receptionist), fake plants and cubicles abounded, and ESPNs 1 through whatever-number-we’re-up-to were on every TV hung in the room, offering a brief respite to those lured by fate or necessity into this room.
I knew who I came to see. I entered this car dealership to research trading in my car, and while I remembered this room from the last time I bought a car, I forgot the atmosphere that tries to pretend it isn’t about to crush your soul.
After a quick test drive and a quote on my trade-in, the negotiations began. They went far longer than I intended for them to go. I wanted to give up several times over the four or so hours I sat in the dealership. A friend was my car advisor—I texted and called him several times to ask, “Is this really a good deal? Should I leave?”
The process of buying a car is painful. I didn’t want the salesman’s approval, but I also didn’t want to appear unkind. I tried to be direct and firm but with a Christian gentleness. I tried not to play the car sales game, but somehow that made the game much harder to stop.