All my life, from the first car I ever bought, I have settled for one car over others, more times than I can recall. I would get the idea that I wanted to buy a car, I would have one particular brand or model in mind, but then, when I got to the car sales places (lots, dealers, private individuals; made no difference), I would too often end up buying something different because of many factors. The most common reason, however, had to do with the fact that I would go to a sales place after looking at what that place advertised, and find out that the car I was coming to see had already been sold.
In mid-1965, when I bought my very first car - and, don't get me wrong! I loved that car! - that beautiful 1954 Ford Crestline Skyliner, was not actually my first choice. I was referred to a private party who had two cars for sale. One of the two cars was a 1952 Cadillac Club Coupe Deville, two door hardtop, and it was very nice. That was the one I wanted, but it cost $150.00, and I could only afford $125.00, which was conveniently the cost of my Ford. I settled, that time because I couldn't afford $25.00.
And, over the years, I have settled for other, second or third, or even later, choices because of (usually) fast talking salesmen, and other reasons.
I'm car shopping again, and I have some observations about the process, and about the business of selling used cars.
First of all, remember that I am old, and the way we used to shop for a car was different than today. I used to get the Sunday paper, and go through all the large ads placed by the various car dealers. I also remember going through the daily papers' want ads, because that was a thing.
I don't know about you, but I no longer subscribe to or even purchase any newspaper, and I don't even know if they still run ads for either personal or business sales of cars.
So, what I do today is visit the many sites online, and look at Craigslist and even Facebook Marketplace (which is pretty shitty, actually). One thing I have noticed that has not changed about the old days as compared to today is this: Dealerships still have a tendency to advertise specific automobiles for sale when in fact they do not have said automobile on their lot. Now, I don't know if this is because they really do sell them that quickly, or if it is because they still believe that they can sell anything to anybody, so they put ads to pique your interest, and try to entice you to go to their location just because they are sure they can get you to buy something else.
Personally, I don't have time for this sort of thing. Currently there is one listing that has been consistently running on Cars.com, Cargurus.com, autotrader.com, Carfax.com, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace for at least two weeks. I went to the dealership in question (Mission Chevrolet, on Zaragoza, in El Paso) last week, and was told that the car had already been sold. Yet their ad is still up on all of these locations! As of this morning, 11/5/2019:
Worse, on the web sites that are specific to car sales, even though they usually offer ways to inquire about specific listings, I find that few dealerships ever respond to those inquiries. They only way to find out if the car listed is actually there and for sale is to call and waste my time with a sales person, who too often claims that they do not have any information at hand, and who then tries to entice me into going to their lot.
I don't want to waste my time with cars that do not match what I want. I settled for 'something else' too many times in my car buying life. Now, I want what I want, and if you don't have it, don't advertise it!