So i’m trying to buy a car in Chile, and i’m running head on yet again into some of the basic cultural differences between the hyper efficient commercial society of the USA and China (in this regard, China is really on the same page as the USA), and the much more casual and laid back experience of commerce here in Chile. Here are some maddening and frustrating examples of where my expectations are not in alignment with the society:
- Closed on Sundays. Sure, that might be a day when car buyers might flock to showrooms in the USA, but apparently here neither buyers nor sellers want to be bothered on the day God told everyone to relax. Too bad for me and my family, who drove into town in hopes of taking a look at some cars.
- Closed at lunch! Yep, you heard right, at lunch time, the sales guys are all “out to lunch” so to speak, so my phone call to the Audi, Volkswagon, Subaru, and Mini dealers were all in vain. At least the VW guys answered the phone and told me “sorry, we’re at lunch”, where as the other dealers the phone just rang, and rang, and rang… amazing! They don’t even have their crap together enough to put a answering machine on the line so they can capture the lead! When are car buyers supposed to go shopping if not at lunch during the work week, or Sunday on the weekend! lol
- Not really interested in negotiating! So i get a quote for $19m pesos for a Subaru Impreza WRX (about 35% more than the USA), which is fine, so i think “well, i’ll do some comparison shopping and see what the other dealers in town say?” So i call another dealer, and he tells me he doesn’t have the car in stock, and that he can offer me the same price. I say, hey, the other dealer has the car, i test drove, and that’s the price he’s giving me, to which he said “ok”. The guy had zero interest in talking to me about making a deal… this flies in the face of every single ounce of capitalist/commerce instincts that are born into us in the USA. He didn’t even try to tell me that he could (a) make a better price, (b) offer better service, (c) get me a color or features that I might want more, (d) offer to be friendlier or anything else he could make up. Nothing… he just said, “ok”. And that was it. There’s no real competition here, there is basically a monopoly in every industry, so the Subaru dealer brings X cars to the country each year, and all are sold at good margin, so there’s no incentive to compete with eachother… nasty stuff!