What I Learned About Young People While Trying to Buy a Car

What I Learned About Young People While Trying to Buy a Car, by Denis Prager.

This past week, I went to five car dealers in an upper-middle-class suburb of Los Angeles to see what SUV I’d like to lease. …

In each case, I experienced the following: I was greeted pleasantly upon entering the dealership. A young salesperson asked if he or she could help me. I told the salesperson the model I was interested in. He or she made a copy of my driver’s license and returned with a key to the car, and off we went.

In every instance, the salesperson was sweet, unenthusiastic and largely ignorant of the car in which I was interested.

All of them answered most of my questions — such as “Is this SUV available in all-wheel-drive?” — with some version of “l’ll look it up.” …

In every instance this past week, I felt I knew more about the car, from doing some research on the internet, than the salesperson did.

It seemed to both my wife and me that these car dealerships hired any decent young person who applied for a job, and that these young people regarded selling cars as no different from selling shoes: It’s a job….

My wife saw in the answer “I’ll look it up” one possible key to the problem: If the young people we interacted with this past week are representative of their generation, many do not feel the need to know much, because all the information they need in life can be found via Google. …

In my time, young guys — I can speak with greater knowledge about men — had hobbies/passions. And ambition.

If I were 25 years old and had a job selling cars, even if I had other aspirations for my life, I would still aim to be the best car salesman in America. That’s what we refer to as ambition.

I would learn everything I could about the cars I sold. I would learn how to advocate for the cars without being pushy. During the test drives, I would say a lot more than where the customer should next turn. In addition to talking about the car, I would ask customers about themselves.

I detected little ambition in the sex previously known for professional ambition — men. But no one should be surprised. Many young men have been coddled by parents and by society. If you receive a trophy just for playing, why try to win? If self-esteem is given to you without having to earn it, why try to earn it? If the government will take care of you, why work hard? Anyway, ambition in men is probably now considered a form of “toxic masculinity.”
Perhaps most importantly, young men have been given the message that women have no need for the support of a man. Women, they have been told all their lives, are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and any children they might have.