Man scrapes automobile dealership bumper sticker from car, ruins paint: 'Why advertise the dealership when I paid cash?'

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

My uncle bought a brand-new car when I was a teen. I can remember watching him painstakingly removing the bumper sticker the dealership had applied to the back of his car after he brought it home.

Using a razor blade, my uncle scraped and peeled the offending bumper sticker off the paint, taking some of the paint with it. He didn't care as long as the bumper sticker was gone.

"I paid cash for this car," he told me. "Why advertise the dealership when I paid cash?"

I wasn't sure the mess the bumper sticker left behind looked any better than leaving the sticker in place, but I didn't say so.

Years later when I bought my first new car, I gave no thought to the automotive dealership bumper sticker on the back of the car. Likewise the first time I bought a new truck.

It wasn't until I bought my new Volkswagen Beetle that I remembered the incident with my uncle and the bumper sticker. I was paying cash; I didn't plan to advertise the dealership for the life of my car.

Fortunately, they hadn't applied a sticker to the car I wanted. Yet.

When the salesperson and I went outside so I could examine the car from every angle, I said, "Do you see how there's no bumper sticker on the back of this car? Well, that's the same way I want it when I come back to pick it up."

The woman agreed. She assured me she'd make sure the detailers didn't apply the bumper sticker before I picked up the car. Then she told me something that would have been of great interest to my uncle years earlier.

"A lot of people ask us to remove the sticker, especially people who buy the Beetle," she said. "And we do. They have a special solvent in the garage that makes it easy."

I decided to check into it recently, just out of curiosity, and this is what I found on MotorBiscuit:

Yes, there is no reason not to ask a dealer to remove all of its branding items. I've witnessed many customers clearly dislike the ads placed on their vehicles, but they felt too awkward to ask for their removal. Rest assured, the salesperson you're working with does not care.

I'm surprised I had the confidence to insist I didn't want a sticker on my car, but I really didn't want to remove it myself. One thing I might suggest for anyone in the same situation is to ask about removing the sticker before agreeing to buy the car. You might want to ask for a plain license plate holder as well.

What do you think? Have you ever asked a dealership to remove their branding from your car before you bought it? Or does advertising for the dealership not bother you like it bothers me and my uncle? Comments are welcome.

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Ordained Minister, Universal Life Church

Massachusetts State

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