Keeper of The Fruit Loops

A Chick Can Buy A Car Without A Dude. Really.

March 31, 2016

A few weeks ago, I got into a huge argument.

There was yelling. Loud yelling, in fact. There were wild gesticulations. Eyes were rolled, fingers were pointed and the argument culminated in my opponent yelling, “Kiddo, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? You were so much nicer yesterday!!!!”.

Now, one would think this argument happened between my husband and me. Or during a PTA meeting. Or on a playground between two five year olds.


That final, loudly yelled utterance came out of the mouth of a car salesman with whom I was negotiating. He completely and utterly lost his cool because I wouldn’t back down during intense negotiations. He was furious at me for sticking to my guns and demanding a fair deal for the car I was buying from his dealership. And yes, he called me Kiddo.

Let me tell you, it did NOT go well for him. Not well AT ALL.

When Hubby and I decided to purchase a new car, I didn’t bat an eyelash at the thought of negotiating the deal myself. I’ve purchased cars on my own in the past and, while it’s not on my list of favorite things to do, I felt perfectly capable at being able to close a deal without my husband with me. And, since my husband’s schedule is so nuts, if I wanted a new set of wheels anytime before 2017, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands.

As I researched our new family car, I spoke with my friends about the features of their mom style people movers. We’d talk about cup holders, seating capacity, power lift gates and heated seats. We’d salivate over third row seats that disappeared magically and fancy entertainment systems. And, inevitably, the conversations always turned to the actual car buying process. Friend after friend admitted to me that most times, they left the car negotiation process to their husbands or fathers because of the perceived notion that women are not taken seriously in car dealerships.

I am not one to buy into the fact that men can do things better but I will admit that as that car salesman stood towering over me, eyes blazing and angry, I waivered in my confidence. But, as he yelled that final sentence, demanding to know what was wrong with me, I steeled myself, pushed my chair back and stood up so that I was eye level with him. I looked him straight in the eye and told him that if I had been a man, he’d never have asked why I wasn’t nicer and he’d be more willing to negotiate. I told him it was Mrs. Burke, not Kiddo, and I gathered my things and left, much to his shock and dismay.

My experience with the car salesman from hell has made me realize that women really are at a disadvantage when they try to buy a car on their own.  After the way I was treated, I was shocked to realize that, in this day and age, men still think that intimidation tactics are okay and actually work. But, what I also realized is the reason he was so incensed was not because I was a woman per se, it’s because I went in to my negotiation prepared. Ready for battle. I had done my homework.

If you are a woman and thinking of buying a car, consider the following:

Do your research- Before you even set foot into the dealership, know what features you want and how much those features cost. Build the car you’d like to purchase on the carmaker’s website and play with the options to find the exact model and pricing that works for you.

Know what your trade in is worth– Car sites like Auto Trader, Kelley Blue Book and allow you to calculate what a fair price is for your trade in based on the features. You will get information on private sales versus what a car dealership will pay for your existing car. You can also use Auto Trader to get a real time, online quote for your trade in that lasts 48 hours.

Figure out what people REALLY pay for the car you want– Face it: no one pays full price for a car on a dealership lot. While it’s true a dealership wants to make money, there’s a national average paid for every car on the market. helps you build the car you want to purchase and shows you the sticker price AND the price people are actually paying across the country.

Understand the “Hard Words”- I suck at anything related to mortgages and loans. The minute someone says “APR” and “lease” and “amortization”, my eyes gloss over. Car dealers bank on the fact that people don’t understand the terms of a loan or the lingo on a lease. Before you go into the dealer, spend time brushing up on basic loan verbiage or ask your friends to explain topics that are fuzzy to you. Try discussing your deal with your husband or partner before you go so you feel confident.

Ultimately, after a long, angry letter to the dealership’s general manager, I was finally taken seriously. When I signed our new car papers, I had negotiated the APR, trade in amount and the price I wanted for our new car. And, for good measure (read: because the salesman was such a schmuck), I managed to negotiate free car washes, a gift certificate to the detail shop, a bag of car accessory goodies AND a sterling silver key chain.

As I pulled out of the parking space in my shiny new car, I winked at the car salesman and said, “Thanks, Kiddo”……

This post originally appeared on LifetimeMoms, May 2016



5 Responses

  1. Funny you should write about this topic. Years ago, before I met my husband I was shopping for a car. I went into the dealership and the salesman had the nerve to say, bring your husband or your boyfriend and we’ll talk. I told him, that I was the buyer and he just lost a sale and walked out. My husband usually has nothing to do with buying the car, I research and when we go into the dealership he makes it very clear to them to speak to me, he’s just there to sign the paperwork. The last time we purchased our van, the sales manager (the closer) was embarrassed when I called them out on the loan rate, because they were charging us more that originally quoted. I always tell my husband, if things go south be prepared to walk. There is always another dealer that will take our business and I make that very clear to the dealer as well. I used to date the sales manager of the dealership, as well as one of the mechanics and repair mangers (yes, I was a dealer groupie ugh, and no not all at once), so between the (3) of them I learned all the secrets.

  2. HaHa-I refuse to buy a car with my husband. It takes him hours, he jumps around and gets really animated. I take an hour or less to seal the deal. First, shop a car loan before you go in, with your mortage holder or local credit union. It will usually be a lower rate given the 0%-2% APR of dealerships is generally a teaser rate and will increase within months. Trade in-Print out the kelley blue book for your car. Be honest about your car’s condition. Have your car cleaned REALLY well before taking it in, why not pay someone $20 to buff out any scratches so you get the best amount. Research your car before you go. Then with every thing in hand walk in to the dealership and say, “I have ONE hour to buy a car, sign the paperwork and get the heck out of dodge. I have a loan for “X,” can you beat it?” Then say, “I have a trade in and think my car is worth “X””Finally, “I want that car, in this color with those features” Pointedley look at your watch and say, “oops, now I have 59 minutes” Be prepared to walk, they are making money off the deal, NOT DOING YOU A FAVOR. Continually remind them of the time, “it looks like we are down to 30 minutes, will this happen?” The second car I bought in under an hour resulted in me being handed the keys at minute 46 and told to go pick up my kids in NEW CAR and come back and everything would be ready to sign. I went and had a coffee and read the paper down the street as the little dears were not ready to be picked up. I waltzed in, signed the papers(5 minutes) and waltzed out. Not counting the coffee and paper, it was 51 minutes. My husband was crowing about his success. No trade in, new car. SEVEN FREAKING HOURS! Just, “NO!”

  3. I just learned more about buying a car with this post and the comments than throughout my 30 year existence.

    By the way I’m camping currently and hating life and I found your blog from the article about how much camping sucks on Scary Mommy haha. Glad I’m not alone. I feel like a horrible person. Pray for me. I have one more night.

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