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JJabb
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03 Jul 2015, 7:05 pm

The other night I went to the grocery store and I saw a nice BMW parked in front of a store a little down the side walk. It was probably four store fronts down. I have seen this car plenty of times but have never seen the owner. I also have to mention I really like BMW's and this was a tuned car at that. Well, that night I saw that it was a man about the same age as I. So I parked my car in front of the grocery store and walked over and flat out asked if I could look at his car. He didn't know how to respond at first and slowly got out of the car. After talking with him about BMW's for a minute or two he loosened up and I said thanks for his time and was on my way.

I told my friend about this and she was amazed. She was impressed that I actually spoke to a stranger but also told me I was lucky I didn't get shot and no one would ever walk up to a person sitting in their car and ask to look at it. I didn't see anything wrong with this since I figured he had a BMW and would share the same general interest as I. But she insisted that it was not a normal thing to do ESPECIALLY since it was 9:30 at night in a parking lot.

So I ask, is what I did a socially normal thing to do?



Marky9
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03 Jul 2015, 7:29 pm

Somewhat out of the ordinary (hence the guy's reaction), but I would stop short of calling it socially unacceptable. Talking about cars is a bit of a guy-thing anyway.

In future daylight might be a more comfortable choice. I know that I, and likely others, can get a bit edgy when approached by strangers in a nighttime parking lot. But in the end it all seemed to go well enough, so I would say no harm done.



eleventhirtytwo
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03 Jul 2015, 8:09 pm

JJabb wrote:
The other night I went to the grocery store and I saw a nice BMW parked in front of a store a little down the side walk. It was probably four store fronts down. I have seen this car plenty of times but have never seen the owner. I also have to mention I really like BMW's and this was a tuned car at that. Well, that night I saw that it was a man about the same age as I. So I parked my car in front of the grocery store and walked over and flat out asked if I could look at his car. He didn't know how to respond at first and slowly got out of the car. After talking with him about BMW's for a minute or two he loosened up and I said thanks for his time and was on my way.

I told my friend about this and she was amazed. She was impressed that I actually spoke to a stranger but also told me I was lucky I didn't get shot and no one would ever walk up to a person sitting in their car and ask to look at it. I didn't see anything wrong with this since I figured he had a BMW and would share the same general interest as I. But she insisted that it was not a normal thing to do ESPECIALLY since it was 9:30 at night in a parking lot.

So I ask, is what I did a socially normal thing to do?


Maybe my view is more indicative of being brought up in Northern Ireland, but if someone walked up at night and asked to "look" at my car, I would assume it was a carjacking and floor the accelerator!



tinyteddy
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03 Jul 2015, 9:07 pm

i think it's probably fine.



starfox
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04 Jul 2015, 2:05 am

Yeah you can do that but it'd more how you say it. When you asked if you could look at his car he might not know why and seem suprised, but if you said can you look at his car because you think it looks cool he would know and it would be okay.

I learnt it helps to smile when asking strangers things because then they assume your not going to do anything bad. :)


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cberg
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04 Jul 2015, 2:14 am

I'm a born gearhead, so I do this all the time. I know my bimmers pretty well no less, all I've driven is an e30 & e46 though I hope to expand the list eventually. My last 3 cars have been Svenska; Bayerische Motoren Werke is something of a muse for Saab design...


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waltwilliam12
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04 Jul 2015, 3:36 am

This is one of the few cases, in my opinion, where it's more acceptable to act without asking rather than asking first.

Most people will just look at the cars they're interested in. If they're asked what they're doing, they say that they're just looking at the car, maybe saying something about what interests them about it.

I'd be willing to bet that it wasn't your interest that freaked him out, but, rather, your asking to do something that most people will just do.



OliveOilMom
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04 Jul 2015, 4:32 am

It's normal. I've complimented strangers cars before and back when I had the pro-stock Mustang I had compliments on mine.


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waltwilliam12
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04 Jul 2015, 4:38 am

OliveOilMom wrote:
It's normal. I've complimented strangers cars before and back when I had the pro-stock Mustang I had compliments on mine.


But were the interactions started by asking to look?

Looking isn't weird.

I would argue that asking first is.



OliveOilMom
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04 Jul 2015, 5:17 am

waltwilliam12 wrote:
OliveOilMom wrote:
It's normal. I've complimented strangers cars before and back when I had the pro-stock Mustang I had compliments on mine.


But were the interactions started by asking to look?

Looking isn't weird.

I would argue that asking first is.


Asking to look doesn't mean asking to stand there and look, it means a closer look. Usually this means looking at the motor. "Nice car, can I take a look?" is pretty normal.


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Joe90
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04 Jul 2015, 6:29 am

I wouldn't do it myself, but I don't think it's that socially unacceptable for a man. I can imagine my NT dad taking a liking to a car in a car park and going up to it's owner (if the owner is another man) and perhaps asking him where he got the car from and if he can have a look. But in the UK men use the word ''mate'' a lot, which is usually considered friendly.

Same as women with clothes. I remember I was with my NT friend (she's quite a bit older than me) and she really liked a woman's dress, when we were walking in the town. She went up to the woman and said, ''I really like your dress, it looks really nice.'' And the woman looked rather chuffed at having a stranger say that.


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JJabb
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04 Jul 2015, 7:04 am

waltwilliam12 wrote:

But were the interactions started by asking to look?

Looking isn't weird.

I would argue that asking first is.


See, in my mind, not asking is weird. I always ask permission for things like that. I always think if the tables were turned I would be more at ease if someone asked first. I guess that way I would have a better grasp of their intentions.



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04 Jul 2015, 7:28 am

I think it's more of the way someone starts the conversation? I know I've gone up to people to talk about their car or motorcycle, but I always start with something like "That's a nice ride." If you start with just "Can I look at your car?" I think it makes them question motives more because they're not entirely sure you like it or want to take it.
That's my guess anyway. It might just be that my area is more random stranger friendly?? Or I'm just so unimposing they're not threatened by me...


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AtlasOwl
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04 Jul 2015, 9:28 am

I definitely wouldn't go so far as to say that it was socially unacceptable, but maybe just a little awkward for the guy. Like Marky9 said, I am definitely one of those people who would be a bit freaked out if a stranger approached me in a parking lot at night.

Personally, I'm the kind of person who would try and look at something without the owner knowing that I was looking at it, but that's just me.



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04 Jul 2015, 9:35 am

Lead off with a compliment ("Nice car!"), and follow-up with an introduction ("I'm David.") and the request ("May I look at your car?"). Then explain that you have an interest in "classic cars." You will make a friend in about three seconds.


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