Friday, February 20, 2009

Car Shopping - Do It Angry

I discovered something about myself the other day. The best time for me to go shopping for a new car is when I'm angry at the universe. And given my past few days at work, (see last two entries) I've been very angry at the universe lately. Our car, a Pontiac Aztec, had about 110,000 miles on it and a lot of little things wrong with it, though it's been a very good car. It was Presidents' Day. Lots of sales, so we figured, let's go looking.

There were only two makes of car I was interested in. We needed to get a very specific price and payment for whichever we chose, and we were asking for an outrageously good deal, so we doubted highly that we would be buying anything anyway. And we could probably get another good year out of the Aztec if necessary.

The first kind of car I liked was a Toyota F. J. Cruiser. Blue. Ok, up front, you need to know that every car I've owned has been blue, with one exception - a Sebring convertible which was deep purple which is awfully close to blue. Well, there were no blue F. J. Cruisers to be had anywhere within a two-hour driving radius, apparently. We called and called. None.

Which moved us to our only other interest, the Pontiac Torrent, again in blue. I like Pontiacs. This will be our third. I've had virtually no problems with the Pontiacs I've owned and they last a long time. We first went to the dealer who sold us the Aztec. They had treated us well and fairly five years ago.

Their lot was empty. They had almost nothing to sell. And of course, in my current mood, the first words out of my mouth were, "How do you expect to sell me a car if you don't have any?" Of course the dealer scrambled to drag us inside so he could locate the closest Torrent for us. We wanted to leave and head on to the next dealership, but he took off so fast to "look up information" that we didn't have a chance to get away, and I wasn't riled up enough to just walk out yet. When he returned, he apologized for his lack of stock, said the closest Torrent in any color was thirty miles away, and he could have it in by the next day, in blue. We told him to bring one in if he wanted, but we were going to keep looking.

On to the next dealership. We called ahead first. It was nine miles away. They had Torrents, so the first guy lied (big surprise), and they said they had a blue one. But it was rush hour, so it took us a half hour to go those nine miles. And when we arrived, complete with arguing ten-year-olds in our back seat, the dealer cheerfully led us to a Torrent. A red Torrent.

Me: "That's not blue."
Him: "No ma'am, it's not. But we have a blue one around here somewhere. We're looking for it."
Me: "Did you lose it?"
Him: "Why don't you take a look at this one while I figure out what happened to the blue one? The computer says we have it, but I don't see it on the lot."
(Husband takes several steps away.)
Me: "Are you telling me you just brought us out here in rush hour traffic with two kids to see a car you can't find?"
Him: "Now, what I actually said, was I 'think' we have a blue one, ma'am."
Husband: "You said you HAD a blue one. If it's not blue, we're not interested."
Him: "Now hold on. We're still looking." He begins to open all the doors on the red one, including the trunk, so we can look inside.
I follow him around the red Torrent and shut the trunk.
Me: "Find me a blue one and I'll look at it. Otherwise, we're leaving."
Husband: "She wants a blue one."
Him: "You need to understand, ma'am, the computer says it's here. Just give me time to figure out what happened, and we can always get one in for you."
Me: "YOU need to understand, I don't want you to GET one. If you HAVE one, we can talk. Otherwise, we're leaving."
The dealer hurries off.
The dealer eventually comes back. He tells us his manager is looking into the problem and invites us inside to have a seat while this gets sorted out. I need to use the restroom. When I return, my husband and daughters are sitting in front of a tv, and the dealer is talking to them.
Dealer: "I've just explained to your husband what happened. The blue Torrent was sold this afternoon while I was at lunch, and they didn't update the computer."
Me to Husband: "Why are we still here?"
Dealer: "Look, you want to do business with us. We're one of the best dealerships in the county."
Me: "You lied to us and lost a car. That doesn't sound too good to me."
He was still arguing to our backs as we left.
Back in our old car, I started laughing hysterically. Given the week I'd had, that was a wonderful release of frustration. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

On to dealership number three. Hubby calls ahead first. "Now, you have a blue Torrent, correct? I mean really? Are you absolutely sure?" He outlines what has already happened today for dealership number three. The dealer takes the phone and goes out into the lot and locates the blue Torrent and starts its engine to check the mileage and holds the phone up to the engine so my husband can hear it running. (Of course he could have done that to any car, but the gesture was nice.)

We arrive. They have a blue Torrent. It's a 2008 which makes it cheaper. It's a demo which makes it even cheaper. It's only got 3000 miles on it. It's on sale for Presidents' Day. It's exactly what we want. Now my husband takes over. After a couple of hours of negotiating and threatening to walk out the door twice, we get exactly the deal we ask for. My husband is a fantastic negotiator. I do blue. He does money.

We have a new car!

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