Mar 252009

Everything I have read and heard would lead you to believe that the RV industry is in awful shape. But it sure does not seem like the RV salespeople around the Mesa, Arizona area are going hungry, based upon their attitudes.

We were out kicking tires yesterday, checking out the used diesel pusher market. At one dealership, we walked into and out of one rig twice and poked our heads into a couple more. The only salesman we saw would not venture from his place under a shaded awning to talk to us, so I guess he had already sold his quota for the week.

We saw a 1998 Newmar Mountain Aire on another lot as we drove by, so pulled in for a closer look. The motorhome looked like it had been rode hard and put away wet. When we got close enough to see it, we knew we were not interested without even going in, just from the outside condition. Then the salesman told me that it was a steal at $69,995 firm, and we’d better put down a deposit fast, because the market is hot and RVs are flying off the lot. By then my BS tolerance level had been exceeded, so I climbed back in my van while he was in mid-sentence.

At a third place, Robert Crist RVs, we went into the office to ask about a diesel pusher, but the only two salesmen I saw were in an office swapping lies. They gave us a glance, and went back to their conversation without acknowledging us, so we left.

It put me in mind of back when we bought our first motorhome. We left our home in Show Low, Arizona one Friday afternoon and drove 180 miles to the big city to go RV shopping. At the first dealership, the salesman took one look at us in our jeans and sweatshirts and basically told us to go away. The next morning we bought a Class A motorhome from a nearby dealership, and back in my office Monday morning, I faxed a copy of the purchase agreement to the manager of the first place, and called to tell him why we bought from his competitor instead of his company. No doubt that salesman was hustling electric ranges or shoes the next day.

We did see one nice 2001 Holiday Rambler Endeavor on a small lot, and though the salesman was brand new and admitted he knew next to nothing about RVs, at least he was friendly and tried.

We’re not going to buy anything this week or next, but it’s always interesting to see what’s being offered, and also to see how different brands hold up after a few years on the road.

My friend Arline Chandler sent me a link to an interesting article on workamping on the CNN website. Check it out at for a look at how one working RV couple does it.

Arline is a former Life on Wheels instructor, and the author of Road Work II: The RVers Ultimate Income Resource Guide. She has a new book out titled Truly Zula, about her aunt, Zula Turney, who recently turned 90, and of her life, from growing up in rural Arkansas in the 1920s to teaching in a one room schoolhouse and the trials and tribulations of her times. You can read more about Arline’s new book at

Thought For The Day – I could be unstoppable if I could just get started.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Who Said RV Salesmen Are Hungry?”

  1. Their are a lot of great deals out in the world for MH’s. We just had a friend that bought a 2006 39 ft. DP, it is a Coachman with a Cummings motor and the Allison Transmission it had less than 6500 miles and when he went to inspect and buy it everything worked. Best part is he paid $65,00 for the unit so you have to shake the bushes to find a deal.

  2. Salesmen! Here’s a great story… It’s our story. We had been happily traveling the great USA in our 1996 Fleetwood Class C for 8 years. The RV show was in our town and we always went to “kick tires.” Never saw anything in our price range that we liked better than what we had. But it was fun looking at all the new stuff.

    Year nine we decided not to bother with the show. Our youngest son couldn’t believe we weren’t going. Now, he’s a kid in his late thirties. Grungy. Long curly hair (long, like down his back). Unshaven. Torn jeans. He says, “Come on. You gotta go. Skyler, age 8, wants to go, so come with us.” Okay. Why not. Fun to be with them.”

    As we walked through the show, no one really bothered with us. That’s okay. We weren’t buying. Suddenly our son emerged from a Tiffen Phaeton I had been ooing and awing over and says to us, “Merry Christmas. I just bought that for you!!!!!” Closest I ever came to collapsing in public!

    Later, our salesman (very low key and appropriatly attentive) said that word around the show was, “Don’t bother with them! They’re just tire-kickers!” I bet that frosted the socks of a few salesmen.

    Oh, by the way, our son is a self-made multi-millionaire who doesn’t like looking the part on the weekend! We’ve been traveling in style now for three years. We love our Phaeton. We love our son even more!

  3. Hey! I have an Aunt Zula too. I thought she was the only one:-) She was named for the wife of the doctor that delivered her, whose name was Zula. She was one of the sweetest women I knew and we miss her and have wonderful memories of her. Great name for a great lady.

  4. I also have been looking and kicking tires lately in the hope of finding the deal of a lifetime. I also have noted that the dealers (salesmen) have the attitude that things are doing so well that they do not have to do anything other than give you the same pricing that you would have gotten in previous years.
    I wonder if the manufacturers realize that a lot of their problems in moving product off the lots lies in who is selling their product? Wouldn’t it be interesting if the manufacturers went out as john q public and tried buying an rv from one of their dealers?

  5. And I thought it happened to me because I was a woman. One of the dealers who basically ignored me on my third trip–when I was ready to buy–was Tom Johnson’s in Marion, NC. This dealership won some kind of award in the industry last year, and I’m still trying to figure why. From Lakewood RV in Michigan, a man who identified himself as one of the family who owned the company, told me over the phone that I didn’t know what I was looking for, and until I knew what I was looking for he couldn’t help me. My real estate agent and I had quite a laugh over that. Imagine walking into a real estate office and being told you had to know what you wanted before they could help you. I also happened to be in California last September and walked into one of the dealerships here – salesmen were scurrying past me coming and going, talking to each other, but not one tried to make eye contact with me. I eventually bought an 5th wheel and truck from a private seller but that experience was also frustrating. I hope this one lasts me because I would hate to ever go through this again.


  6. About those salesmen. . . where’s BAD NICK when you need him? 🙂 I am acutally quite surprised he didn’t come out of hiding.


  8. All I can tell you is that when I finally found a salesman who wasn’t too lazy to get off his duff and greet us, I bought an upscale coach. So I guess he likef my “buyer’s attitude.”

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