My experience visiting the Tesla Store

My experience visiting the Tesla Store

I decided to visit the Tesla Store at the mall since I was curious to see what the Model S looks like up close. When I walked in the store, there was nobody there except two young male employees talking to each other. One was sitting inside the demo Model S playing with his phone while the other was standing outside the car door. They both noticed me walk in but never bother to greet me. When I continued to browse all the trims and colors, they just kept on with their own business. Eventually I went up to the demo Model S to take a closer look and that is when they got out of the car and walked away. I left the store soon after.

If the point of the Tesla Store is to encourage customers to buy their cars, you would think the employees working there would interact with their customers better. Anyway, I left the store with the impression that it is only for elitists. And if you don't fit the look that you can afford one, they won't even bother talking to you.

kilimats | 25. Juni 2013

please name the store, my experience is far from that, Tesla will most likely read this thread and take action

olanmills | 25. Juni 2013

That sucks! What city and mall was this in?

David70 | 25. Juni 2013

Maybe you were dressed too well.

I've gotten good response wearing jeans and T-shirt.

danielccc | 25. Juni 2013

Lack of specifics, use of the word "elitist". Hmm... taking this one with major grain of salt.

Nick Kordich | 26. Juni 2013

Snap, your experience is completely contrary to mine. Tesla store employees have always been enthusiastic, pleasant and sociable on the half-dozen times I've visited.

Right now, Tesla Motors is currently being targeted for its policy of no-commission, corporate owned stores by dealer associations in New York, North Carolina, and across the country, which may be a factor in danielccc's grain of salt. Setting aside skepticism, if you provide more detailed feedback (the time of visit, location of store, etc.), Tesla'd have a much better chance of improving their service, which I imagine is the reason for posting your experience here.

In any case, given that Elon Musk's idea of dressing up for a major press event is a suit jacket over a tee shirt and jeans, I doubt an insufficiently elite look is to blame.

tmclach | 26. Juni 2013

Hi there,
Unfortunately I had a similar experience yesterday in the Tesla store. My comments:

It was mid afternoon, there were several people in the store.
A few adults and about 4 teenagers sitting in one of the cars (13-16 year old)
The store looked tidy.

1. A lady did come up and said 'Welcome to Tesla'
2. The second car was locked and the first car had the teenagers in it. I asked can one see inside the second car. Female Response. "It is locked and we don't have a key." Can anyone think of a better response?
3. I did sit in the first car a few minutes later. First impressions: Seats are smaller than I expected; I asked the male in the store, "Is one able to record memory seat positions? His response, "yes, it is configured in the driver profile." Better answer would have been, "I know there was some Internet feedback on this, but the person was misinformed (or, the latest update fixed this) late me show you how this works."

4. My wife asked about trade ins? Female response, " we use Autonation for trade in values but if you sell it privately, you would get more money". Can anyone think of a better response here?

5. I asked about the length of the charging cable, the response was, 'about 20 feet, there is one hanging on the wall back there if you want to see it. how about, " It is xx feet, it is surprisingly light, let me show you?"

6. I mentioned that in my car, I can inflate the side and back bolsters to make the seat fit me. The response, "we can do that to"? I said, "Really, raising my eyebrows in doubt." The response, "we have lots of options too some wont be the same"

7. We asked about a test drive, the response, "the car is out now, here is a card, give us a call and we will set up a time."

Other comments: Tesla is trying to sell cars at a premium price, why wouldn't you staff with better dressed professionals the are truly trained in customer interactions and first level selling. I won't be going back into that store.

What is this on the bottom of this feedback page ' allowed HTML tags. I am an executive in a very large IT company, how many people know how to use HTML tags.

How many people are going to drop between 50 and 100 thousand on a car and get this type of response from what appeared to be mildly interested staff. Maybe they were having a bad day.

About me, > 55 and < 65. Drive a Mercedes S class and a SLK.


2-Star | 26. Juni 2013

To both critical posters -- unless the location of the Store and the date/time are included, I will ignore these posts.

SamO | 26. Juni 2013


Too encrusted in your expectations of boot lickery and sniveling groveling obsequiousness.

I've walked into stores and know *much* more about the car than the employee. Many on this forum probably do and could be hired today.

That being said, I have NEVER been to had an experience buying or looking for a car that would have resulted in what you described should have happened. The Tesla experience isn't perfect, but it's FAR better than anything else it is competing with.

snap | 26. Juni 2013

To give more details, I was at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, NJ. It was on a tuesday evening so the mall wasn't that busy. I noticed several Tesla cars parked in the parking garage valet section when I drove in so I figured I check out the store while I was there. I thought it was pretty neat Tesla had their own section in the parking garage. Anyway, I was wearing a regular polo shirt and jeans.

At first I didn't think they were Tesla employees because they look like college students. But they were both wearing white polo shirts with the Tesla logo.

Roamer@AZ USA | 26. Juni 2013

I long ago stopped expecting anything from any sales person. The under 30 crowd are clueless about the products they sell.

Better to buy online. Online you have all the info and specs on every aspect of the product.

I bought my Tesla from beginning to end without ever talking to anyone. Loved the convenience of doing the entire transaction when it was convenient for me.

Every car I have ever bought I knew more about the car and its features than the salesman. Do your homework and read the specs before you look at any car. If you listen to the sales guys you won't learn much.

I absolutely loved the fact that I never had to leave the house and the car was delivered to my driveway.

All that said I do agree that if you are going to have a public store the employees need proper training, supervision and customer service skills.

carlgo | 26. Juni 2013

How in the heck did you find the right spelling for olsqueshiness. I was going to post using that very word but my spell check thing sucks, probably due to incompetent IT executives.

Well, then, and I swear that this is true, really is, that I was going to post almost exactly what you did, but my connection quit on me (again due to IT executives) and it didn't go through. If it had, my post would have looked like copy of yours.

randyy | 26. Juni 2013

I took my wife into the Houston gallery for her to check out the car. The sales staff were similar to what has been earlier described, although later on the manager showed up and he did a much better job answering my wife's questions.

tmclach | 26. Juni 2013

To Fred Towers

Seems to me that you have more than an individual store issue.

Please feel free to ignore my post.

petochok | 26. Juni 2013

Is it possible the store staff has been instructed to avoid coming across as pushy? It really sounds like tmclach walked into the store expecting a sales pitch. All of the examples quoted were described as missed opportunities to engage a potential buyer. I'm not at all trying to defend the store staff's actions (or lack thereof), but perhaps our expectations as car buyers are to be slammed with an unavoidable sales pitch the minute we enter the dealership. Look, I even tried to use HTML tags just now.
Seriously though, my local MB dealer does pay attention to what you drive, and how you are dressed when you show up. Attitudes are adjusted accordingly. I too, would find it unacceptable to be treated by my MB dealer the way tmclach was treated by the Tesla store staff. There I go with my attempt to use HTML tags again...

olanmills | 26. Juni 2013

@tmclach, while I think snap's experience was bad, I honestly don't think your experience was that bad.

The first thing that struck me is that you think they should be better dressed. I think they are dressed just fine. I have way less trust for people in a business or service/customer scenario if they wear a suit. Outside of certain social traditions (e.g. a wedding or something), wearing a suit is what you do if you want to project an image of success, stability, professionalism or even express an unequal standing between two parties. So for me, at best, suits and the like mean nothing, and they can actually have a negative connotation, like, "I need to keep my guard up because these people think they can win respect just by superficial measures."

As for your other points, of course, I would hope that the Tesla staff are all knowledgeable and have an attitude of helpfulness and education. I think it's great to not have a sales-y approach.

The truth is the best. The car is locked and you can't see it. It's just for display. That's the truth. The cable is about 20 feet; it's not really that light. That's the truth. Now certainly, again, I do think it would have been good if the rep did invite you to check it out with their assistance. So hopefully, Tesla can train their folks to be more inviting and helpful in matters like that.

I dunno what was up with those comments about the seat. Again, I am not excusing misinformation or ignorance. The answer should have definitely been either the exact truth, or if the rep wasn't sure, something like, "Well in a few minutes we can sit in the car and try it out together," and/or, "Let me call and find out for you."

The truth is, that they don't really need to sell right now. I definitely agree that in the future, they will need to do more selling, but I hope that comes in the form of commercials and staff that is simply knowledgeable and helpful, not "salesy".

I'm not sure if you were implying that they should have kicked out the teens so you could see the car. Of course, after some amount of time, it would have been reasonable to ask them to leave so others could also have the opportunity to check it out, but again, I do not like businesses and people who don't treat others equally before there is any non-superficial reason to do otherwise.

"How many people are going to drop between 50 and 100 thousand on a car and get this type of response from what appeared to be mildly interested staff."

So far? Well, I think it's about 12,000 - 15,000 people.

Colasec | 26. Juni 2013

fwiw, I had two very different experiences in the two Tesla stores in my area. I'm 25-35 years old and was wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans both days. The employees in the Newport Beach store (officially "Costa Mesa") in Fashion Island glanced at me and looked away. When I approached one to ask about scheduling a test drive, he asked me three times if I was serious about ordering and then said the soonest available time was the following week. He didn't have anything else to say to me, much less did he offer to show me the car on the floor, walk me through the touchscreen display on the wall, or anything like that. This is the most I've ever considered spending on a car and I was definitely expecting a little more attention, if not the "red carpet" treatment.

The employees in the Brea store in the Brea Mall were open, attentive, and engaging. I was treated with respect and tremendous consideration. They were excited to show off the car and answer all my questions.

I left the Newport Beach store feeling skeptical and less excited about the car than when I entered; I placed an order for a Model S before leaving the Brea store.

Brian H | 26. Juni 2013

Sounds like Costa Mesa could use some staff turnover.

negarholger | 26. Juni 2013

In general it depends on the customer expectations... if you expect the usual dealer "attention" ( I call it hassle ) you will not get it at a Tesla store...
I tell my co-workers that are interested to get a test drive at the Santana Row store - however they all think that once taking a test drive they will be locked in to buy a car... I tell them no - there will be no sales pressure, but no one believes me.
That's how screwed up our mind is by the car dealers.

gselsidi | 26. Juni 2013

I had a feeling it was the Store at the Garden State Mall lmao. Even though I haven't been there, I could already picture it in my mind.

J.T. | 27. Juni 2013

@carlgo Some people know how to spell, others know how to use a dictionary, some know how to use Google.

@tmlach It seems that unless the person said exactly what you think should have been said he/she was incompetent.

SamoSam is right, as he usually is, when he said that anyone who has read this forum knows more than Tesla store staff do, even more than some Delivery Specialists do.

I've been to my local showroom twice. I taught the staff there something they didn't know each time. I didn't think any less of them for it.

rmp123 | 27. Juni 2013

I had a pretty good experience at the mall store.

I spoke to one of the regional sales managers on the opening day, Will. He seem tired, but knowledgeable. Yes most of the staff is young and they wear polos, but that is the design. They want you to be comfortable coming inside.

If you want to buy the car and tell them upfront, I guarantee a senior person will come or make an appointment with you (perhaps?). They want to sell cars too, not just show them off in a relaxing environment.

Brandon, the recruiter, should be listening. Passion and knowledge for EVs trumps.

2-Star | 27. Juni 2013

I had a most pleasant and informative experience last month at the Dania Beach store in Florida. The manager, Graham Carroll, spent a lot of time with my wife and me, including letting both of us drive a Model S P85. He was able to answer all our questions, showed us the highlights of the car and assisted us in every way, including helping us pick exterior and interior colors, accessories, etc. The result was an immediate sale. Most professional and friendly.

Jacques Fidelia, my Dania Beach Delivery Specialist, has also spent a great deal of time with me, both on the phone and by email, even though we will be taking delivery in Maine next month.

Altogether we were most impressed.

ian | 27. Juni 2013

It might be helpful to realize that these folks are not being hired as salesmen (and women). Their official title is "Product Specialist".

Here is the info from one of the postings for these positions:

"The Role

The primary goal of the Product Specialist is to provide a fun educational experience for customers who come into the Tesla retail store. The Product Specialist will accomplish this by handling all walk in store guests, answering questions, educating the public about the electric drive experience. An implicit responsibility of the Product Specialist is to conduct educational conversations and business dealings in a way that creates a superior customer experience that represents the Tesla brand values.


▪ Welcome walk in guests, answer questions and generally manage the customer’s Tesla experience in a positive way.
▪ Educate the public about the electric car industry through enthusiastic conversations.
▪ Assist customers with purchases of apparel and keep inventory full and neat.
▪ Provide high quality customer service to the existing Tesla owner community.
▪ Keep up with industry trends and best practices.
▪ Help to develop a new way to market and sell cars to the community.


▪ Strong communication and customer service experience required.
▪ Positive, enthusiastic and passionate about the changes in the personal transportation industry.
▪ Ability to understand and convey business issues and technical concepts.
▪ Strong sense of team mentality and reliability.
▪ Ability to work evenings and weekends in a retail environment, retail experience a plus.
▪ Legal right to work in the United States.
▪ Must have and maintain a valid driver’s license and an acceptable and safe driving record.
▪ Must have two years of driving experience"

I don't see a lot of "sales" mentioned here do you?

This is what I love about Tesla's store model. It's not about sales, it's about education. The sales will come when everyone realizes just how amazing the Model S experience is.

As for the behavior of the two staff in the original post, to simply ignore someone that came into the store is just inexcusable.

As for your experience tmclach, I'm sure the feedback on how they interacted with you would be much appreciated, perhaps you should forward that to someone at Tesla Motors. Could they have answered your questions in a more engaging and positive manner? Probably.

I agree that many people are probably expecting the usual "sales" heavy experience of a usual car dealership. I'm glad that's not what you'll find.

Then again, my wife and I went shopping for an Audi one time and it was horrible. We couldn't get anyone to come talk to us. It was literally like pulling teeth to get some attention.


Emmetpeppers | 27. Juni 2013

I've been n multiple stores and never had a bad experience...sometimes they have been too crowded for me to get the attention of one of the Tesla employees or I've had to wait for others to get out of the car for me to test it out. The complaints above strike me as nothing more than spoiled brats looking to be brown nosed like they're use to when they walk into a Mercedes or Lexus dealer and pay full price with the dealer mark ups.

I'd take even the worst experience described above any day over walking into a dealership knowing the other guy gets paid the more he can deceive me on the lowest cost they can give me, etc.

ppape | 27. Juni 2013

My comment would be........get over it. If you let a trivial unpleasant or negative experience in a store keep you from owning the Model me....YOU are the only one losing out! They have more demand than cars right now. Growing pains will occur with new staff. Do your homework. Visit at another time if needed.

As many other owners on this forum will confirm. This car is like NONE other! Even hiccups with service are minor compared to the joys of driving this car. The part that bothers me with service is that I won't be driving during that period of time. Crazy!

If you don't buy the car, that just means the guy/gal in line behind you gets the Tesla Grin sooner!


TFMethane | 28. Juni 2013

I went to the Costa Mesa store a couple of times. You have to recognize that this store is in Fashion Island in Newport Beach... one of the most superficial and money-obsessed places in the US. Just walking around (not even in the Tesla store), you can feel eyes judging you and estimating your gross annual income.

I walked in wearing Jeans and a t-shirt once, and wearing a really expensive leather jacket I had just bought a second time. To my surprise I got little different treatment.

When I engaged them on the second try, I asked if I could try unplugging and the plugging in the charge cable... This had to go up to the manager, and was ultimately approved. I actually found this more comical than annoying. You have to protect your floor models - they can age 10 years in 10 months with all the handling they get.

I had already reserved the car, and was only there to look at color samples. They kept trying to get me to wait 30-60 min for the test-drive car to get back so I could go on a test drive. I declined (already knew I was going to buy the car.)

They took me to their computer to put in my final configuration and order. They actually tried to downsell me on the twin chargers (something I also declined, but respected)

They didn't seem to know a lot about the post-delivery issues that people have. I would have liked them to be surfing the forums in their spare time.

It was different from any other car buying experience, but in a VERY VERY good way. @tmclach, you really shouldn't buy a car based on how much they kiss your behind when you're there. If a little suboptimal showroom experience is enough to turn you off, then you shouldn't buy the first generation of a car, anyway... you won't be able to handle the inevitable hiccups, and all you'll be doing is posting annoying nitpicky comparisons to your old cars on this forum.

f14bdriver | 28. Juni 2013

Looking to purchase a MS in the next few weeks. Can anyone recommend a Tesla store in the southern California area based on their customer experience? The comments on this posting lead me to believe there are some stores worth avoiding.

Any recommendations from satisfied MS owners regarding their "store experience" would be highly appreciated.

Sub | 28. Juni 2013

I think some people need to get over themselves. Do you really think it's possible to have a new, growing company and have everything go perfectly? That's not possible at any company/business, you will never have 100% of the employees doing their job correctly with enthusiasm, probably lucky to get 50% in our current entitled society.

I setup a test drive about 6 weeks ago at the Santana row store, employee who called me was very pleasant and yes, I sensed he was feeling me out as far as how serious I was. I can understand that because they only have so many cars and time to allow test drives. Once I proved I was obsessed with Tesla he laughed and made the appt.

Employees didn't come running at me when I walked in the store, but I don't take offense to that. I never wear anything more than shorts and a t-shirt. I also know that I'm the type of person that will research products before I intend to purchase, I rarely meet a salesperson in any store that knows more about the product than I do, doesn't bother me.

Test drive was a blast, wife completely sold afterwards. Employee asked us if we were ready to make a reservation and we quickly said no. Employee applied no pressure, simply said thanks and have a good trip home.

I've since become a shareholder in TSLA. I could use the money to buy the model S now but I would rather hold off for 6 months and let the stock pay for a big portion of it!

Brian H | 28. Juni 2013

I wonder what the ratio of test/demo drives given by owners to friends and co-workers to those that happen at stores is. I'm guessing about 10:1, and rising fast.

tes-s | 28. Juni 2013

I was very nicely greeted in the tesla store in Westchester Mall today. I sauntered in with my 18-year-old son. I was unshaven wearing shorts and sneakers; my son had on a t-shirt and flip-flops.

We talked for a bit, and then I said I was there to for my test drive appointment. He answered some more questions, then Gillian came out and took me on an awesome test drive. I don't know who else does test drives in Westchester (or anywhere), but I can't imagine them being any more knowdgable than Gillian - and just plain nice.

Order has been placed!

ppape | 28. Juni 2013


So. Calif feedback. Store is in UTC mall in San Diego. Some staff are more knowledgable than others. Test drives were great. Peter is the manager and finalized our order. Very nice and knows his stuff. Service center in San Diego is awesome! Erich is very good and knows Tesla. They are moving to a much larger facility close to the current location in the fall. Service center is a great place to go see colors & wheel options.

As we were waiting for delivery (May 2013) it was fun to pass by service center and see 5-10 Model S lined up in the parking lot!

Hope that helps.

Colasec | 28. Juni 2013


I highly recommend the Brea store if it's convenient for you. Call ahead and schedule a test drive. I worked closely with Blake (the assistant manager), but also found Ryan (the manager) to be very informative and helpful.

vmish | 29. Juni 2013

The experience while taking the delivery at Costa Mesa was quite anti-climactic too. Almost untrained appearing people who are unhelpful. They would rather have you figure out the car online. The more research you did by yourself, the less they had to work. However, no thank you or even attempt to encourage you to contact them afterwards. The car you drove in to take the delivery? Park it on the street and pick it up later! Tesla management should really pay attention and insist that pure 'nerdiness' is not acceptable and they have to insist on some professionalism.

Bubba2000 | 30. Juni 2013

The Tesla website has all the info one could possibly need and there are all kinds of evaluations starting with Consumer Reports. I test drove a SigP that my friend bought last year. Reserved online. When I finalized, I talked to a rep and I was not impressed. Talked to the supervisor to get it sent directly to the manufacturing. Overall, it was good experience doing it online. Unlike going to a regular dealer.

Tesla is just getting started. I am sure most of the people they have working with them have passion for electric cars, are talented and hard working. Store personnel is another story... difficult to hire and control, with far flung locations. They have to have well designed stores that are spotless. The people who work for them must have a passion for BEVs. The stores are public face of Tesla beyond early adopters.

Can Tesla get it right? Yes.

Brian H | 30. Juni 2013

Costa Mesa seems to be the black sheep, the exception that proves the rule. I anticipate staff turnover.