Dead cats, Punto backseats and a car named Scat. My guide to car buying etiquette.

Car salesmen are one of those cliched professions, like estate agents, where we are led to believe that every single one of them would sell their own granny if it made them a couple of quid.

Unfortunately in the case of car salesman, it is true. Not only would they sell their granny but they would insist on you also buying her soiled underwear and dead cat as optional extras.

As my blogs are etiquette guides rather than ‘how to’ guides, I’m not going to spend too long discussing haggling techniques. Do your research. You have the whole of the internet available to you and I hear that the web is now world wide. You have no excuses for not knowing what you should be paying, what you should be receiving for the shopping trolley you have wheeled into the car park and what sort of finance deal you want.

If you are distracted by something shiny that you spot on the forecourt or allow yourself to be talked into paying full whack for mud flaps or a branded umbrella then you deserve all you get.

Remember, the salesman is not your friend, never will be. Any chit chat he enters into is to get more knowledge on you so that he can use against you when it comes to negotiations. The best policy is total silence. Pretend you are mute.

They will be on the back foot from the start.

You may be wondering how you can ask for a test drive whilst being mute. Easy.

Point at car you wish to drive. Make the universal two handed gesture for steering wheel. Give a thumbs up. Works almost every time although there have been reports of a pair of salesmen in Clitheroe misunderstanding the gestures to mean sexual favours in the back seat of a Punto. On the plus side, the elderly lady involved did get a ten percent discount.

Once you have the car, the need for etiquette begins.

First things first. You are excited, this is understandable. You may feel the need to post about your purchase on social media. You may be surprised to hear that I think that this is acceptable.

But make your post a good one because it will be the last one you will make about your pride and joy unless you have a mishap in it.

We don’t need to know about your car’s first trip to the seafront, it’s first visit to Sainsbury’s, or the first time you spot a speck of dust on the door and think it is is a scratch.

It is perfectly acceptable to report if somebody has scrawled obscenities on it.

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Or if you have driven it into a wall whilst on a lads’ weekend away.

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If the neighbourhood toerag steals it during a burglary you may wish to circulate its picture and registration in an attempt to find it before he drives it on two wheels through a fence.

I know these things are acceptable because I’ve done them all myself. The joys of car ownership.

I’m going to end today’s short blog by discussing names. You car does not have one other than ‘The car’. You may wish to describe it by what type of car it is to differentiate it from any other cars you may own but keep it functional. We don’t need to hear about Beamers or Vee Dubs but if you are the proud owner of a Daihatsu Scat you may call it what you like.

If you take it a step further and give it a name like you are naming a child, Tommy the Toyota, Boris the Beamer, Lola, Doris or Daisy, you are going on a register.

My colleagues did nickname my car ‘The Partridgemobile’ but I don’t think it was complimentary.

And don’t get me started on people who think it acceptable to put eyelashes on cars …


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