My husband and I bought a car this week (an ’06 Kia Sedona minivan for those who like to have all the details).
We did a lot of internet research before going out to the car dealerships because we wanted to save time, and, frankly, we were doing all we could to postpone having to deal with the salesmen.
When we bought our last car six years ago we were slowly cruising through a car lot we had just been passing by and impulsively pulled into when the salesman literally jumped in front of our vehicle and pretended we had hit him in order to get us to stop. Three hours later, after being worked on by the salesman, the junior manager, the senior manager, and a fellow I’ll refer to as “the closer”, we actually bought a car from the dude.
This time around I cringed as we entered the first dealership. I figured in the current economy and with the state of the motor vehicle industry we were going to get hammered. I waited for the onslaught of eager car salesmen of the polyester pants and slicked back hair variety to converge on us. No one came.
We parked next to the vehicle we were interested in, got out, got the kids out, and began looking in the windows of said vehicle. We inspected that thing every which way we could from the exterior. Still no one came. Finally, my husband headed for the office to find someone with a key.
A salesman came out, opened up the car, and let us check it out. Before we could even worry about haggling he told us the price was as low as they could go, as they were into the vehicle for only $200 less than the asking price. He was very pleasant - the epitome of low pressure. It seems the times in the car dealing business are a-changin’.
This experience was a good reminder for me of how refreshing it is when characters surprise you. Nothing is more boring as a reader than when you’re introduced to a character and you feel like you already know them inside and out and you proceed to predict their actions throughout the course of the whole story. There are obvious stereotypes which we all try to avoid in our writing, but what about the more subtle pre-conceived notions we have about certain types of people, occupations, places, etc.? Are they creeping in?