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  #1  
Old 04-29-2008, 11:00 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Why aren't car dealerships open on Sundays?

I mean, really. I could see them taking Mondays or even Wednesdays off, but why Sunday? Is this anything more or less than a hollow charade? Car salesmen attempting to respect The Lord by not staining the sabbath day with their shenannegans? Why would you be closed on one of the two days when most of your customers will have ample time to check out your wares?

Could I, If I wanted, open my own car dealership and keep it open on Sunday? What would happen to me if I did? Would I get a visit from the car yakuza or would I be in violation of some little-known blue law?
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2008, 11:02 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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It depends on where you live. Where I live they are open on Sundays. Some places have laws forbidding car dealerships from opening on Sunday. You most likely live in such a place.
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  #3  
Old 04-29-2008, 12:08 PM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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In Montreal, there is a Car Dealer's Association that bans not just Sunday, but Saturday openings as well.

Used Car salesmen don't belong to this group, so they've been open on weekends for a while -- and have really started to steal business from new vendors. As a result, a year ago a few lots told the Association to stuff it, and started opening on weekends -- which led to protests (from other car salesmen) outside their lots, and a few scuffles.

So if you want to buy a car in Montreal on the weekend, you're either buying used, or going to one of three dealerships that's open.
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazett...4b183f8&k=7322
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2008, 12:28 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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Where do you live?

They're open here.
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:06 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
I mean, really. I could see them taking Mondays or even Wednesdays off, but why Sunday? Is this anything more or less than a hollow charade? Car salesmen attempting to respect The Lord by not staining the sabbath day with their shenannegans? Why would you be closed on one of the two days when most of your customers will have ample time to check out your wares?
First, as others have said, car dealers do open on Sundays in many places.

But, in answer to your question, perhaps the dealers in your area figured out that they probably wouldn't lose much (perhaps any) business if they closed on Sundays. Perhaps they have research showing that people will make time for the purchase of a large, important item like a car, even if the dealers are closed on Sunday.

It seems to me that if they all close on Sundays, there are two possible results:

(1) people who were going to buy a car from them on Sunday will come back on some other day.

(2) people who were going to buy a car from them on Sunday will go somewhere that does open on Sundays.

If they conclude that (1) is much more likely than (2), why waste the money opening on Sunday? The thing is, a strategy like this really only works if ALL the dealers in a particular area close on the same days. That probably explains the Montreal situation, described by Barbarian. It involves a sort of collusion on the part of the dealers. And once two or three dealers decide to opt out, and to open on Sundays, the rest might be forced to follow suit, or they risk losing Sunday business.

In Australia, where i grew up, many suburbs and neighborhoods have a small local shop, which is usually a sort of small grocery store that sells bread, milk, newspapers, candy, and some essential household items. Some also sell hamburgers, chips, etc. These shops are family run, often by first or second generation immigrants (Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, etc.).

When i was a kid, the local shops in my suburb all closed on Sundays. It was the only day of the week that they got to relax. Then, when the big stores and supermarkets (K-Mart, Safeway, Woolworths, etc.) started opening on Sundays, the small stores all felt forced to open on Sundays as well. I remember, in the 1990s, asking the Indian guy who ran my local store why he didn't take a day off each week, and he said that if he did that, he would lose too much business to the big stores. Not only would he lose the Sunday trade, but would probably lose weekday trade as well, as people became more accustomed to going to the big stores.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:06 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
Is this anything more or less than a hollow charade? Car salesmen attempting to respect The Lord by not staining the sabbath day with their shenannegans?

It's not a charade and has nothing to do with church. Sunday is simply race day. Car guys are at the track.
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:13 PM
Omegaman Omegaman is offline
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In Vegas the N.A.D.A sets the days new car dealers are open. That's national automobile dealer association if you wan't to Google it. Used car dealers are open seven days a week. I suspect before long it will be seven days all the way around. It's a customer driven industry after all.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:20 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Around here the car dealers would love to sell you a car on Sunday, but they don't want to fix your car on Sunday -- the skilled mechanics either want the day off, or want overtime.

Faced with either a) opening for sales but not service, b) having to pay overtime to get the service department to show up or c) closing down entirely, they've chosen to close down. When you get to the point when you're ready to buy, they figure you'll get there either on Saturday or one of the evenings they're open.
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:24 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto
It's not a charade and has nothing to do with church. Sunday is simply race day. Car guys are at the track.
Sorry. Nothing to do with the track, and everything to do with church and "blue laws."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, car dealerships continue to operate under blue-law prohibitions in which an automobile may not be purchased or traded on a Sunday.
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2008, 01:41 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou
Faced with either a) opening for sales but not service, b) having to pay overtime to get the service department to show up or c) closing down entirely, they've chosen to close down. When you get to the point when you're ready to buy, they figure you'll get there either on Saturday or one of the evenings they're open.
I sold new cars for a year in 1990-91. Our sales department opened on the weekends, but the service center was closed.

As a salesperson, i would have LOVED it if we were closed on the weekends. This was the pre-internet era, and if all the dealers in the area had closed, i don't think we would have lost a single sale. Businesses only bought cars on weekdays anyway, and the majority of private buyers who came out on weekends were tire-kickers (salesperson slang for non-buyers).

Sure, we made a few sales on the weekends, but if we were closed all those people would have found a way to buy a car during the week anyway. I mean, can you really imagine the following converstion:

Man: Honey, the car is 8 years old now, and it's falling apart. I think we need to get rid of it and get a new one.

Woman: But how can we? The dealerships are all closed on Sunday.

Man: You're right! I guess we'll have to drive the old beater for a few more years.
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2008, 02:00 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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Around here (Oklahoma) it's because of blue laws. It's almost the last of the blue laws left, except for ones applying to liquor sales.

I'm sure the dealers would love to be open on Sunday (and I'll admit that I've wished they were when I was looking for a car). I think there's one dealer that opens lots on Sunday for looking at cars, but you supposedly can't make any deals, test drive, etc.

The salespeople I know are all opposed to dropping the blue laws, for fear that they'd never get a day off again.
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  #12  
Old 04-29-2008, 02:02 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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My state once had a big web of blue laws. The lawmakers were finally persuaded that we could get more convention and tourist business if there were something to do on Sunday. Now, the only things left are car sales and some limitations on alcohol sales. The official story is that the car dealers were asked, and they preferred the day off to Sunday sales.

The lots are open to lookers, though, and many people like to browse without a salesman hovering around.
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2008, 03:11 PM
spinky spinky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo
Sure, we made a few sales on the weekends, but if we were closed all those people would have found a way to buy a car during the week anyway.
Sure, but I don't completely buy this: isn't the "impulse buy" a big part of car sales? The reason "no money down / super low payments" sales (which are a bad deal in the long run) work is that people aren't planning ahead and just decide they want a car. Why would you create an obstacle to such an impulse buy? Car salesmen aren't exactly known for their "eh, they'll be back" attitudes. There's usually some super hard-sell telling you they can't guarantee this deal if you come back tomorrow, because they know if you walk out the door, you're not likely to come back.
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2008, 03:30 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntucker
Sure, but I don't completely buy this: isn't the "impulse buy" a big part of car sales? The reason "no money down / super low payments" sales (which are a bad deal in the long run) work is that people aren't planning ahead and just decide they want a car. Why would you create an obstacle to such an impulse buy? Car salesmen aren't exactly known for their "eh, they'll be back" attitudes. There's usually some super hard-sell telling you they can't guarantee this deal if you come back tomorrow, because they know if you walk out the door, you're not likely to come back.
Right, but the precise reason they use such high-pressure tactics is because they know that, once you walk off the lot, you will probably go straight to another dealer looking for a better deal.

That's why i suggested, earlier in the thread, that this whole "close on Sundays" gambit probably only works if it involves ALL the dealers in a given area agreeing to remain closed on Sundays, or some sort of law disallowing Sunday opening. In short, it requires either legal enforcement or some sort of collusion between the dealers.

If all the dealers in the OP's area are closed on Sundays, they can still have their "no money down/super low payments" sales; they just have to have them on the other six days of the week.

I'm not arguing that the "close on Sundays" thing is good or bad; i'm just pointing out that, if everyone in a given city or state does it, then it probably doesn't have a hugely detrimental effect on how many cars get sold. I could be wrong about that, though, and am happy to be corrected by anyone with relevant data.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2008, 03:37 PM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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My sister in SC says she's seen the extremity of blue laws. From Wikipedia:

A blue law is a type of law in the United States and Canada designed to enforce moral standards, particularly the observance of Sunday as a day of worship or rest.

(underlining mine)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law

She went to a Wal Mart which was open on Sunday, but they would only sell certain things and had entire aisles roped off. E.g. a necktie would be fine because you might need it to wear to church. But a Nintendo, no, you can wait for that till church services are over.
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2008, 04:12 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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When I was a kid thirty years ago New Jersey had a bunch of blue laws. Now they are all gone as far as I know. But car dealers are still closed on Sunday. New Jersey is not in the bible belt, there are no blue laws and they are still closed. In fact I was thinking this very question on Saturday when I was looking at cars.
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  #17  
Old 04-29-2008, 06:05 PM
Doug Bowe Doug Bowe is offline
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Texas has a modified blue law for new car dealers. Take one weekend day off...your choice. If you close on Saturday you can open on Sunday.
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2008, 06:09 PM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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IIRC there are a few Texas dealers (here in DFW) who are open on Sunday...but they can't *sell* a car on Sunday.
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  #19  
Old 04-29-2008, 06:28 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Carmax in the Dallas area was open on Sundays for a while and just paid the fine for breaking the blue law.

You will sometimes see ads "Open Sunday!!! closed saturday.." in car ads.

I'm sure the car dealers like it since if everyone is closed, your dealership isn't losing sales on Sunday. Makes it easier to staff since you can offer your salespeople one weekend day off.

I'm also thinking that Sunday brings out the tire kickers as people from small towns flock to the major city for church, brunch and then meeting family/friends. I can believe this group would have a lot of "thinking about thinking about buying a car.." types.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2008, 06:30 PM
Darth Sensitive Darth Sensitive is offline
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I came in to mention that Texas laws let you sell on one weekend day. The dealers choose for it to be Saturday, and there isn't much pressure to change it. Car salesmen like time with their families too, apparently.
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  #21  
Old 04-29-2008, 09:31 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hajario
Where do you live?

They're open here.
This is the problem with cutesy answers like "On the level, if inclined". In a few States they still have Blue laws. I have no idea if "On the level, if inclined" is one of them. Or it could just be that the OP lives in a small town were the two dealers just don't open on Sunday.
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  #22  
Old 04-29-2008, 09:51 PM
Hockey Monkey Hockey Monkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Sensitive
I came in to mention that Texas laws let you sell on one weekend day. The dealers choose for it to be Saturday, and there isn't much pressure to change it. Car salesmen like time with their families too, apparently.
Yes, we do like to spend time with our families. My dealership is closed on Sunday, but I don't think it's because of blue laws in my area. Other dealers are open on Sundays here. Most salespeople are 100% commission, so if they aren't at the store when it's open, they aren't making money. I know a lot who work open to close every day and would work 7 days a week if they could. I like that my store is closed on Sunday, because if it wasn't I'd have to be there.
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  #23  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:06 PM
jacquilynne jacquilynne is offline
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I wonder if part of the problem is that the government and insurance offices necessary to do title and insurance transfers are also closed Sundays? It seems like the government offices would also be closed Saturdays, though.
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  #24  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:12 PM
Darth Sensitive Darth Sensitive is offline
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Well, you play mafia, so we already know you have no soul/life.

It's the others I'm talking about.
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  #25  
Old 04-29-2008, 10:32 PM
IAmNotSpartacus IAmNotSpartacus is offline
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#1 How are car dealers colluding to determine which days they'll be open operating legally?

#2 How dp laws that dictate what a store can or can't sell on a Sunday pass 1st amendment muster?


I am sure there are obvious answers to these questions since both have been going on for so long but it's boggling that either of these practices are legal
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  #26  
Old 04-29-2008, 11:34 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou
Around here the car dealers would love to sell you a car on Sunday, but they don't want to fix your car on Sunday -- the skilled mechanics either want the day off, or want overtime.

Faced with either a) opening for sales but not service, b) having to pay overtime to get the service department to show up or c) closing down entirely, they've chosen to close down. When you get to the point when you're ready to buy, they figure you'll get there either on Saturday or one of the evenings they're open.

I've had the same question as the OP. I always thought that the basis dated back to
Blue Laws but it's amazed me that this hasn't seemed to change over time. After all, all kinds of businesses that used to be closed on Sundays now operate because people, especially dual income families, can only conveniently shop on weekends.

As for the operation of the service department, that contention doesn't seem to hold water. The chain drug stores, including places like Wal-Mart will close down their pharmacies even though the rest of the store is open. Presumably they do that because it would be too expensive to keep higher paid employees there at "off" hours. There is no reason why a car dealership can't do the same thing.

My perception is that at some level it comes down to collusion, state laws or just the fact that management wants a day off. What else could it be?
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  #27  
Old 04-29-2008, 11:44 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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A few years ago, I served on a Minnesota Legislative Commission to review & rewrite Minnesota non-felony laws.

One of the laws we considered was the old blue law which forbid car dealers from being open on Sundays. We on the Commission had decided to recommend repealing this law. But then we heard from the Auto Dealers association, and the union (sort of) for car salespersons. They were all strongly opposed to repealing this law.

None of them mentioned anything religious in their opposition. Their comments were all on the order of they wanted to be able to close at least one day a week, to give their salespeople a day off. And they needed a law to require this, so that all car dealers would follow it, and all be closed the same day. Otherwise competitive pressure would lead to some dealers opening on Sunday, and soon they all would have to be open. And the pressure of sales commissions would force salespeople to work on that day, even if they might have seniority enough to choose to take the day off.

So though it had originated as a blue law, it now worked to protect working conditions for employees.

And they made it clear that they would use all their lobbying strength at the Legislature to oppose repeal of this law, if the Commission recommended that in their report.


By the way, that law is still on the books here in Minnesota.

Last edited by t-bonham@scc.net; 04-29-2008 at 11:45 PM..
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  #28  
Old 04-30-2008, 12:34 AM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobotomyboy63
My sister in SC...went to a Wal Mart which was open on Sunday, but they would only sell certain things and had entire aisles roped off. E.g. a necktie would be fine because you might need it to wear to church. But a Nintendo, no, you can wait for that till church services are over.
Back when I was a wee lad NZ had blue laws and my parents owned a "Four Square" dairy (something like a 7-11). Although allowed to be open all week certain parts of the shop had to be curtained off on Sundays, and some goods were not allowed to be sold. One oddity that I can recall years later was that newspapers and magazines were OK, but books were verboten... which led to the odd consequence that one could not buy a bible on Sunday, but could get a Playboy.
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  #29  
Old 04-30-2008, 07:50 AM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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Originally Posted by Loach
When I was a kid thirty years ago New Jersey had a bunch of blue laws. Now they are all gone as far as I know.
Actually Bergen County still has the same blue laws as ever. Interesting because they effect some of the biggest malls in the state.
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  #30  
Old 04-30-2008, 08:38 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmNotSpartacus
#2 How dp laws that dictate what a store can or can't sell on a Sunday pass 1st amendment muster?

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/proj.../theocracy.htm
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...=366&invol=420
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  #31  
Old 04-30-2008, 08:46 AM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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In some places without blue laws, dealers still close on Sundays based on informal agreements.

http://www.azstarnet.com/business/148029.php

Formal agreements got challenged: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...5/ai_n18319342

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...260&sec=&spon=

http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/...2.89-3388.html
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  #32  
Old 04-30-2008, 09:17 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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Originally Posted by SmackFu
Actually Bergen County still has the same blue laws as ever. Interesting because they effect some of the biggest malls in the state.
I knew there was a reason we should get rid of Bergen County.
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  #33  
Old 04-30-2008, 10:02 AM
Man With a Cat Man With a Cat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net
None of them mentioned anything religious in their opposition. Their comments were all on the order of they wanted to be able to close at least one day a week, to give their salespeople a day off. And they needed a law to require this, so that all car dealers would follow it, and all be closed the same day. Otherwise competitive pressure would lead to some dealers opening on Sunday, and soon they all would have to be open. And the pressure of sales commissions would force salespeople to work on that day, even if they might have seniority enough to choose to take the day off.

If I recall correctly, this was pretty much the same rationale the dealers in Illinois used years back to get Sunday sales banned.
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  #34  
Old 04-30-2008, 10:16 AM
flex727 flex727 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey
Yes, we do like to spend time with our families. My dealership is closed on Sunday, but I don't think it's because of blue laws in my area. Other dealers are open on Sundays here. Most salespeople are 100% commission, so if they aren't at the store when it's open, they aren't making money. I know a lot who work open to close every day and would work 7 days a week if they could. I like that my store is closed on Sunday, because if it wasn't I'd have to be there.
I really don't understand this reasoning. Almost every retail business operates 7 days a week. Are there no other businesses with 100% commission salespeople? Sure, everyone would like to spend more time with their families, but what makes car salesmen so special that we need laws to require their time off?

Last edited by flex727; 04-30-2008 at 10:18 AM..
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  #35  
Old 04-30-2008, 10:19 AM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flex727
I really don't understand this reasoning. Are there no other businesses with 100% commission salespeople? Sure, everyone would like to spend more time with their families, but what makes car salesmen so special that we need laws to require their time off?
Car dealerships generate a lot of sales tax revenue. Sales taxes give state governments money to spend. State legislatures like to spend money.
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  #36  
Old 04-30-2008, 10:56 AM
flex727 flex727 is offline
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Originally Posted by dalej42
Car dealerships generate a lot of sales tax revenue. Sales taxes give state governments money to spend. State legislatures like to spend money.
Maybe I'm just dense, but I don't understand how this answers my question in any meaningful way. Are you saying that legislators bow to the requests of car dealerships because they provide lots of sales tax revenue? If so, don't other large retailers do the same? Also, what is the alternative for the dealership if the legislature refuses to acquiesce, quit selling cars so as to not give the state any more sales tax revenue? Does that make any sense?
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  #37  
Old 04-30-2008, 12:00 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Originally Posted by flex727
Maybe I'm just dense, but I don't understand how this answers my question in any meaningful way. Are you saying that legislators bow to the requests of car dealerships because they provide lots of sales tax revenue? If so, don't other large retailers do the same? Also, what is the alternative for the dealership if the legislature refuses to acquiesce, quit selling cars so as to not give the state any more sales tax revenue? Does that make any sense?
I'm suggesting that you have a relatively small group of people (owners of dealerships) who are well organized. They're able to influence the legislature to a greater degree to get a law they like since it isn't a law that will cause the general public to scream and yell. People might be ticked off if Best Buy, Circuit City, and Wal Mart all closed on Sunday. But, Big Al's Chevrolet?

Car dealerships do generate a large amount of sales tax revenue. Not only from vehicle sales but from $1000 repair bills as well.
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  #38  
Old 04-30-2008, 12:36 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalej42
Car dealerships do generate a large amount of sales tax revenue. Not only from vehicle sales but from $1000 repair bills as well.
I'm fairly certain that in most places (and 100% certain for here in Michigan) that sales tax is only generated for the retail price of the parts that are in that $1000 repair bill. With some exceptions, that majority of most repair bills should be in labor, which is generally not taxed.

On a side note, now I'm kind of curious about how many states/localities really do tax labor and other services.
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  #39  
Old 04-30-2008, 12:46 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flex727
I really don't understand this reasoning. Almost every retail business operates 7 days a week. Are there no other businesses with 100% commission salespeople? Sure, everyone would like to spend more time with their families, but what makes car salesmen so special that we need laws to require their time off?
It's the nature of automobile sales. It's a huge durable good that people buy once every few years, and that they absolutely have to have.

For most retail goods, if you make it more difficult to shop, people will buy a little less of the item. Clothing, for example--if every clothing store closed on Sunday, they'd lose a lot of impulse shopping and buying. They don't want to do it.

But there isn't much impulse buying of cars. Close the dealership on Sunday, and people will shop on Saturday instead. Therefore dealers support such bans, which make their lives easier and their customers' lives more difficult.
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  #40  
Old 04-30-2008, 12:48 PM
Gfactor Gfactor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthisar
I'm fairly certain that in most places (and 100% certain for here in Michigan) that sales tax is only generated for the retail price of the parts that are in that $1000 repair bill. With some exceptions, that majority of most repair bills should be in labor, which is generally not taxed.

On a side note, now I'm kind of curious about how many states/localities really do tax labor and other services.
Washington does: http://dor.wa.gov/content/DoingBusin...o_Repairs.aspx

Quote:
Michigan isn't the only state looking at a service tax. California, Utah, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio have looked into the possibility or tried the tax. When Florida implemented it, the state collected only 65 percent of the revenue it thought it would, and repealed the tax a few years later.
http://cns.jrn.msu.edu/articles/2003...ERVICETAX.html

Hawaii has a General Excise Tax that covers services, but technically the tax is imposed on the business and not the consumer (if that matters). The business is permitted to pass the GET on to customers. http://www.state.hi.us/tax/brochures/ge_bro.pdf
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  #41  
Old 04-30-2008, 01:58 PM
jacquilynne jacquilynne is offline
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthisar
On a side note, now I'm kind of curious about how many states/localities really do tax labor and other services.
Well, there's all of Canada, to start...
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