Posts tagged “multiculturalism”

Hispanic Car Salesman

WaPost on a stellar Hispanic car salesman

On the outside, a Hispanic car salesman may not appear radically different from the domestic model. But on the inside, he is thinking about how to bridge more complicated cultural currents. To succeed, he must also sell well to non-Hispanics, while in dealing with his own community, he must decide if he will be their champion — or use their trust to take advantage.

‘I have not received one call saying anything bad about German. That speaks highly of him,’ says Alejandro Carrasco, operator of Radio America, 1540 AM, a dominant figure in local Hispanic broadcasting who crusades against businesses preying on Latinos.

The Hispanic car salesman must also be savvy to differences. Hispanics are much more likely to take the advice of friends and relatives about what to buy and who to buy it from. They seek a guide in a land of dizzying choices and information overload.

If a car has a problem, a non-Hispanic buyer will report to the service department. Not Hispanics.

‘They come and see the salesperson, even if the service person speaks Spanish,’ says Gus Casabe, used-car manager at Alexandria Toyota, one of a handful of Hispanic salesmen in the area as long-established as Vidal. ‘It’s some kind of different relationship between the salesperson and the customer than American people have. . . . Once you get into a relationship with a Spanish customer, unless you do something crazy, it’s almost forever.’

Vidal says this customer loyalty is simply a cultural instinct of Latinos — a triumph of the relational over the transactional. ‘That’s what we are,’ is how Vidal explains it. ‘It’s our culture back home.’

Although the press is mad to talk about cultural and economic changes brought on by India and China, I think as interesting/complex/challenging a story is the globalization of the US through increasing immigration. This here is just one example of many, of course.


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