How Costco Ruined Buying a New Car

And it’s not just Costco. There’s plenty of blame to share. Consumer Reports, Sam’s Club, BJ’s and every other organization that promises to guarantee participants the lowest price possible on a new car are all co–conspirators.

This may seem hard to believe but until the ‘90s it was almost impossible for consumers to find accurate car price information. A sheep, excuse me, customer entering a car dealership was presented with a situation where the dealer had all the cars and all the price information.

Even worse, dealers would not discuss price over the phone. Buyers had to go to each individual dealership and be waterboarded by a different ‘sales team.’

The sales process was akin to the procedure the KGB used to force the condemned to sign confessions. The customer sat in an uncomfortable chair while a team of ‘good salesman’ and ‘bad salesman’ badgered you with false promises and assurances that if you’d just sign the sales agreement they’d let you go to the bathroom.

Asking to see the invoice on a car was greeted with laughter or outright hostility, much like the response one gets today after asking a hospital administrator what a hernia operation will cost.

If a customer had a couple of weeks to visit every dealer within a reasonable radius of home and a high tolerance for psychological pressure, there was a chance he could negotiate an excellent price.

Consumer Reports ended that agonizing process by first providing accurate cost information and second, by urging customers to negotiate over the phone instead of submitting to the time–consuming process of in–person visits for every dealer.

That put customers and dealers on a level playing field. Even with information, many car buyers still hated the negotiation process. Edmunds found 33 percent of the car–buying population would rather do taxes, go to the DMV, sit in the middle seat of an airplane or watch Beto live–stream a root canal than negotiate car prices.

Costco, CR and other like–minded marketers responded with a car–buying service for their customers. Some charge for the service and others just direct you to a dealership where the price has already been negotiated. All of the services promise to eliminate negotiation.

Which is the problem. Today’s consumer can’t seem to figure out the “No Haggle — No Hassel” pricing has a flip side, which is “Take It or Leave It.”

As dealer Brent Emon commented on the Three Thrifty Guys site, “I can say that there is ALWAYS someone who will buy our car at our price. It’s not like that poor Corolla is going to rot away on the lot because you walked away, it just means we sell it tomorrow instead of today.”

So Costco et al did eliminate negotiation, most because the dealers stopped.

I have yet to buy or lease a car from a Costco dealer, even after getting the Costco price, because they won’t budge from that number. And many other CR or TrueCar dealers are doing the same.

I blame the buying and price quote services. Consumers are so sheep–like they would rather take a price set by a third party — secure in the knowledge if the price is high they aren’t the only people paying it — than use that price as a starting point to negotiate their own deal.

Dealers like Emon conclude if cars are going off the lot at the “No Haggle – No Hassel” then why waste time trying to seal the deal with a penny–pincher like me? There’s always some relieved Millennial to take my place.

The last two times I’ve leased a car only one dealer of the five or six I contacted had a salesman ready to negotiate a deal, instead of order–takers who wait for a customer to buy at the set price.

I once had a Mercedes finance manager tell me that on some days a customer would come into the dealership, see the list price of a car on the window sticker and write him a check for the full amount. And he didn’t feel the least bit guilty for making a premium on that car, because on other days people like me would come into the dealership.

Don’t passively put dealers that won’t negotiate in the driver’s seat again. Make them talk or take a walk.

George Soros Continues to Collect District Attorneys

Last week’s Democrat primary in Virginia’s Fairfax and Arlington Counties was great news for companies whose business model includes cleaning human poop off the sidewalk. The sanctimonious leftists in both counties just nominated new prosecutors who plan on increasing justice by ignoring crime.

Thanks to almost $1 million contributed by George Soros, Parisa Dehghani–Tafti defeated the incumbent DA in Arlington and Steve Descano defeated the incumbent in Fairfax. Those two victories bring the total number of campaigns that Soros has tried to buy to at least 23.

The $583,000 that Soros gave Tafti represented 78 percent of her total campaign budget. The $392,000 George sent Descano was marginally less at 71 percent of his budget. In those two true blue counties winning the Democrat primary means winning in November, too.

So, what did Soros buy? Two more DAs who won’t be prosecuting “quality of life” crimes. This means that in Northern Virginia, just like in San Francisco, pooping in public, being drunk in public, camping in public, sleeping in public, shooting up in public and waving your pubes in public will no longer be illegal.

These “reform” DAs also won’t ask for the death penalty, won’t prosecute for “minor property crimes” and will be working as hard as they can to end “mass incarceration.” I can’t think of another elected office where the winner got there by promising he will take a laid–back approach to performing the duties of office.

Maybe you’re skeptical and wondering just how bad could it really be living under a Soro’s DA? Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — the woman who broomed the charges pending against racial incident hoaxer Jussie Smollett — was a $408,000 addition to the Soros CollectionTM.

The politically naïve will contend the two new Virginia DAs — who between themselves have never tried a criminal case in state court —told the Washington Post both campaign’s issues were “use[ing] their discretion to no longer prosecute marijuana possession, ask for cash bail or pursue the death penalty. They said they would expand efforts to keep nonviolent offenders out of jail and charge in ways that lead to lower sentences across the board.”

Nothing about sidewalk BMs and discarded syringes there. That is true. And that is irrelevant.

Soros knows exactly how Tafti and Descano will operate in office because his PAC interviewed them in person. If both of these worthies weren’t chapter and verse on the Soros Soft on Crime program, George never would’ve cut a check. What they said in private to Soros’ operatives and what they fed the public only bear a slight resemblance.

In addition, Descano explained to Inside Nova that he “would not charge theft of property under $1,500 at the felony level.” And Tafti quoted, in Bacon’s Rebellion, is appalled that “Arlington produces felony convictions at two to three times the rate of neighboring counties despite having less crime.”

Watching where they step on the sidewalk will be the least of Arlington and Fairfax county residents problems in the near future. Wait until someone breaks into Buffy’s Prius and steals her airbag and stash of granola bars. Buffy’s not going to be happy when she learns fighting “mass incarceration” doesn’t involve fighting street crime.

Speaking of “mass incarceration” Michele Hanisee, President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, corrected another Soros’ candidate on that topic, “…as of 2016, 91 percent of state prison inmates are serving time for a violent, serious or sexual offense.”

Those aren’t black teenagers caught taking a toke or shoplifting Juul cartridges. Those are hardened criminals and if they’re back on the street in California or Virginia you will be reading about them sooner or later.

Another characteristic of Soros’ DAs is mass firings when they do take office. If I were a prosecutor in either county I would not be taking on any long–term financial commitments.

As the LA Times reported, “In Philadelphia, Soros financed DA Larry Krasner fired 31 DDA’s in his first week of office; nearly one-third were in the homicide unit and included a prosecutor set to begin a murder trial the following Monday …In Houston, the Soros financed DA Kim Ogg …fired 37 veteran prosecutors in pursuit of her “culture change.”

The Post assures voters neither Laurel nor Hardy, excuse me, Tafti or Descano “has plans to fire career prosecutors.” But Descano muses, “the question is, can these individuals can get on the program with reform?”

I’m guessing the answer will be no.

Both Tafti and Descano want to re–write the law without bothering to go to Richmond. If a conservative did this, it would be called ‘tyranny.’ When leftists do it, the term is ‘reform.’

It’s Time for Trump to Take On Mitch McConnell

This week we have one of those rare occasions when government priorities and government funding match exactly. Fox News reports, “Loose change left at airports may be used to help fund border operations.”

RJ Matson; CQ Roll Call

If you need additional proof Washington, Inc. doesn’t give a damn about stopping and reversing illegal immigration this should do it.

Maybe Trump will order the Pentagon to go through the seats looking for nickels after Nancy Pelosi commandeers a military jet to take her home on weekends.

Pelosi, though isn’t the problem. She’s doing what she promised her voters. The House isn’t the problem. Even under the ‘leadership’ of Paul RINO immigration bills were passed and forwarded to the Senate.

The problem is the Senate. Even when Republicans controlled the presidency and both houses nothing was done. People are tired of an immigration policy that only works against citizens and the Chamber of Commerce conservatives who refuse to change it.

Already Sen. Thom Tillis (R–Carolina del Norte) has a primary opponent named Garland Tucker III who is running TV commercials. Sen. Susan Collins (R–Intermittantly) has a primary opponent, as does Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–Weathervane). All fit Tucker Carlson’s description of our ruling class, “decadent and narcissistic.”

These primary opponents are a start, because without a change in the Senate, retaking the House and re–electing Trump will be as meaningless for border enforcement as it was in 2016.

The only way for Trump to send a message that he demands cooperation from the Senate is if he personally defeats his main roadblock: Curator of the Senate Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has treated Trump and his agenda with thinly disguised disdain since the election. McConnell’s claim to fame is mere longevity in office as if he were a turtle only to be valued by how long he has been in existence.

McConnell is completely undisturbed by the single most important issue facing the nation, the approximately 30 million illegal aliens already living inside our borders.

Instead of bucking the cheap labor lobby that supports the world’s first taxpayer–subsidized invasion, McConnell proudly introduces trivial legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.

“Youth vaping is a public health crisis,” McConnell announces while the real crisis is bussing the table in the restaurant where he eats.

As long as McConnell is ‘leading’ the Senate, Trump’s immigration agenda and reducing the size of government is dead. (Although Mitch and Jared – that negotiating fool – might be able to work something out on keeping Mitch’s wife as part of the cabinet during the second term, too.)

The Curator is gearing up for his 2020 re–election by trumpeting his two biggest accomplishments: Acting as the Judicial Human Resources Dept. for the White House and increasing the national debt.

Instead of tweeting about whatever has penetrated his thin skin this morning, President Trump should be lining up and funding a primary challenger for McConnell. Mitch’s approval rating among Kentucky voters is what pollsters term “underwater.” Fifty–six percent disapprove of job his performance while only 33 percent approve.

But wait until they find out about his get tough policy on Juul!

Trump on the other hand is vastly more popular. His approval rating is 61 percent compared to a disapproval of 35 percent. Even in 2016 Trump was more popular. He carried Kentucky by 30 points, while McConnell two years before won by only 16.

Challenging McConnell in the primary isn’t exactly a suicide mission. His last challenger, Matt Bevin, is now the state’s governor.

If Trump recruited a primary challenger and then put his charisma and his cash behind the challenger I believe the Mitch the Turtle would be soup. More important, it would send a message to the rest of the housebroken conservatives in the Senate that there are real costs to opposing the president’s agenda.

And so what if the challenger loses? Could McConnell pass any less of Trump’s immigration and border security legislation? How much more passive aggression does the Curator contain?

Either Trump changes the composition of the Senate or his administration will have accomplished less than the Bush Interregnum. The only difference being Trump’s was noisier.

Virginia’s Shinola Democrats Still Holding Out

I’ve often wondered what would happen if a politician simply ignored heated demands that he resign in shame over some leftist grievance. Naturally, I assumed it would be a Republican holding out in Assad–like resistance to tires burning in the street and Twitter mobs lobbing 280–character barrages.

Adam Zyglis; The Buffalo News, NY

Mistaken assumption. We now have three Democrat politicians in Richmond holding on to office in spite of demands from their own party that they resign.

When I last wrote about The Three ¡Carambas! in February, Democrats were watching in horror as the political dominoes fell. As each one toppled, the left’s demands for racial and sexual purity became less and less strident.

The Richmond crisis involved the top three statewide officials in the Commonwealth.

It began as a rock–and–a–hard–place college photo of Gov. Ralph Northam (D–Shinola) where the governor was either sporting blackface or was dressed in Klan formal wear.

Northam began a frantic performance of the Responsibility Hokey–Pokey (I’m desperately hoping neither Amos nor Andy ever made a reference to this dance). First, he was in the picture. Then he was out. Then Northam shook it all about and admitted he had worn blackface when he entered a Michael Jackson contest.

How portraying a child–molester was an improvement over insulting black people in general was never explained.

Northam looked like he was toast, which doesn’t require the application shoe polish.

With Moonwalk out, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would take over. Fairfax was young and black it would be perfect symmetry justice.

That lasted until two women accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting them. Both were credible. Both were black. And both were Democrats.

Northam and Fairfax would be embarrassing, but the job would fall to Attorney General Mark Herring, who had already called for Northam’s resignation. Sure, Herring was as white as Col. Sanders, but he had already proven himself a reliable ideological rubberstamp for the left.

Then the other can of shoe polish dropped. Herring said he had also participated in a pigment party, although he didn’t offer any photographic proof.

After Herring was the abyss.

Next in the line of succession was Speaker Kirk Cox and he was a Republican. Suddenly institutional racial outrages were youthful dalliances and innocent until proven guilty was once again applied to charges of sexual assault.

Almost four months later The Three ¡Carambas! are still in office. Northam has been laying low, looking for the real killers. For some strange reason the medical school that published the yearbook hired an expensive Richmond law firm to find out who was pictured on Ralph Northam’s yearbook page.

This was a little like hiring a law firm to find out who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb.

There are four photos on the yearbook page titled “Ralph Shearer Northam.” The non–mystery photos are a portrait shot, a cowboy hat with beer shot and a leaning against a sports car photo. The fourth is the two–shot of the blackface and the Klansman that mysteriously appeared on Northam’s page. Both are holding a beer and it’s the same brand Northam holds with his cowboy hat.

The law firm disagreed that nothing propinqs like propinquity and found that even though the photo is on Northam’s page, who’s pictured is unknown.

Justin Fairfax has been busy, too. He hired a polygraph expert — the same one whose results were used to attack Judge Brett Kavanaugh — and the expert concludes Fairfax believes he didn’t assault either woman. And that’s good enough for Fairfax.

Finally, there’s Mark Herring. He’s on a racial reconciliation tour according to the Washington Post. And in that lies the explanation for Northam and Herring’s survival. Virginia’s black leaders have realized these two politicians — desperate to keep their tarnished jobs — are now what amounts to personal Reparations ATMs.

There is no chance Northam or Herring will oppose black Democrat demands for anything. When Northam is in public he always has at least one black person near for protective cover and Herring is doing the same.

Fighting ‘systemic racism’ and keeping every black Democrat happy means keeping their job. Consequently, until their terms end no ask is too big.