Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Math Challenged Car Dealers

If you work in an industry that regularly deals with financing and interest rates, don’t you think you should have a basic understanding of the concepts? During the course of negotiations while car shopping this weekend, I had a clueless salesman tell me that with 0.0% financing it wasn’t as simple as just dividing the amount financed by the number of months. My wife later told me that she could barely contain her laughter when she saw the look on my face after he said this. I’m sure he detected the condescension in my voice as I explained to him that yes, it actually was that simple. He refused to back down until his manager came over and said the payment he wrote down was at 2.9% interest.

One of the things that angered me was he kept saying “This is what the computer said.” Being a software developer, it makes me mad when people blindly accept what the computer says and they don’t actually think about it for themselves. I’ve spent about half my career writing financial software; include commercial mortgage software, so I’m pretty familiar with calculating payments and interest. This guy just took what the computer told him without thinking. Even when confronted with facts, he wouldn’t listen. Because his manager made a mistake entering the data, he looked like a fool. Well, he was a fool anyway; he just looked like a bigger one. I wouldn’t have bought a glass of water from this guy if my hair was on fire. I am happy to say that I went to one of their competitors and bought a GMC Envoy XL