Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

My work on this project benefited from the contributions numerous friends, colleagues, and students who both supported and challenged me. More than one thought it odd that I should be exploring the ways in which culture constrained economics when so much of my previous work had focused on ...

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Introduction: The Cowboy and the Flapper

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pp. 1-3

In 1923 American magazines ran an advertisement for the Jordan “Playboy” that featured a woman driving an open two-seat automobile style known as a roadster. A few years later the indomitable Nancy Drew and her chums would scoot about their detective business in a roadster that followed in the tire tracks ...

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1. Horse Trading: Duping the Buyer

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pp. 4-24

It may be useful to think of the cultural history of the buying and selling of personal transportation as a meander in the river of retail history. At some time in the distant past, for reasons that are not altogether clear, men developed a pattern of playful hard bargaining when they dealt in horses. ...

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2. Retailing: Satisfying the Buyer

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pp. 25-40

As the retail marketplace became dominated by women buying manufactured goods, haggling in horse trading hung on because men bought horses—and horses were made by horses, not factory workers. The variability of individual horses made it difficult for them to be sold like mass-produced goods, ...

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3. Cars: Joining the New Marketplace

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pp. 41-62

Early bicycle boosters predicted that the new machines would seriously reduce dependence on horses. There is some evidence that they did have a slight impact, but it was much less than forecast.1 Motorcars, not bicycles, replaced horses as the primary means of individual transportation. ...

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4. Used Cars: Undermining the New Marketplace

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pp. 63-87

People referred to early automobiles as horseless carriages because that is what they resembled physically, but culturally and economically they functioned more like horses than carriages. The ongoing rhetorical trope that compares used-car dealers to horse traders, which is employed by everybody from Nobel laureates to folklorists, ...

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5. The Triumph of the Price Pack: Selling the Deal

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pp. 88-114

World War II is often cited as the beginning of the deterioration in automobile retailing methods, but little of the retail intemperance of the postwar world was new. The situation appeared to change after 1945 because of the pent-up demand created by wartime savings and wartime shortages. “Never was there a time,” ...

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6. Bad Guys

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pp. 115-137

Historically, the buying public used the terms “salesman” and “dealer” as though they were synonymous. The conflation makes sense because in smaller dealerships the owners commonly worked the sales floor. In larger firms, however, and especially in franchises that operated out of multiple locations, ...

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7. Bargaining and Gender

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pp. 138-163

For customers, buying a car evokes strong feelings, not only because they are spending a lot of money but also because they have to engage in the process variously known as trading, dealing, negotiating, bargaining, haggling, and dickering. The practice is both unfamiliar and fraught with symbolic meaning, ...

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Epilogue: Still Horse Trading in the Internet Age

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pp. 164-174

In a bargaining situation, knowledge is power. If one side knows that the other is “highly motivated,” then the price can be adjusted accordingly. Knowing the other party’s desires, concerns, and financial resources provides the bargainer an edge in deciding whether to accept a given offer or hold out for a better one. ...

Illustrations follow page 114

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Notes

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pp. 175-218

Index

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pp. 219-224