My wife and I have accomplished a remarkable feat: we both still have our first cars. Well, sort of.
Mine is a 1998 Kia that I bought right out of college. It’s got 120,000 miles on it and is starting to show its age. Plus, it got a tad dinged up last week… I’m still crossing my fingers that the door can be fixed so I can get another year out of it.
Hers is an 89 Mustang that she got about ten years ago. It’s now got 125,000 miles on it, but the transmission is dying, so we finally replaced it.
Not bad, considering we’re both 30 (or nearly 30). Neither of us are the “buy a new car every year” type and I learned my habits from my dad, who owned a yellow 1979 Toyota Corolla that my friends used to call the “l’il lemon.” The thing is, that “lemon” ran for 210,000 miles, at which point he drove it to a junkyard on fumes and got enough money for it to buy mudflaps for his new used car.
So, anyway, this past weekend we went car shopping. We had already decided on a Prius in a nice blue color with a specific option package. The purchase was somewhat urgent since Huyen’s car had indeterminate life left in it and my car wasn’t terribly usable in its post-accident state. As you may know, though, there is often a several week (or month) waiting list for Priuses, even now, so we jumped on the opportunity to buy one from our local Toyota dealer when we saw that of the two sole Prius’ on their lot, one of them was the exact color and package we were looking for.
Now, I went in knowing I’d hate the whole process of buying a car. Dealers give me the creeps and even though I knew wouldn’t be able to haggle the price, I figured I had to at least try (I got a token $250 off). Fortunately, after I sent in an inquiry through their web site, I got a call back from a nice woman at the dealership who answered my questions. We said we’d see her later in the afternoon for a test drive.
When we walked in the door of the dealership, as soon as we looked the least bit like we didn’t know which way to go, I saw the salesmen start to swarm. I avoided eye contact and quickly spotted a woman who I figured was the sales rep I had talked to on the phone. I was right, and she showed us the car.
I have to say that she made the experience very pleasant. Sure, she used phrases like “more nicer” and repeatedly referred to an awning as a “yawning,” but we could sense she wasn’t out to screw us.
We told her we were interested in the car, but that our credit union was down for the weekend as they changed systems, so we couldn’t get the loan until Monday. She told us we could put $500 down to hold the car until then. A few minutes later, her supervisor came over and informed us that, actually, no, they couldn’t do that. “These are in such high demand, we can’t promise we can keep it for you until Monday.” This really pissed us off — he was essentially telling us that our sale didn’t matter because somebody else would come along. Ass. If our purchasing was a bit more casual, I would have walked out right there and not come back. Unfortunately, he had us by the cashews and we had to go through with the purchase that day, using their financing and a “hold contract” that we could buy out with a check from our credit union later in the week.
The process, including the test drive, took about three hours. By the end of it, we were grumpy, hungry, and feeling broke. But we had a new car, which was a new feeling for us. And after the initial annoyance with the sales manager wore of, we actually started to enjoy it.
I still hope I don’t have to go through it again within the next month.
Posted in Miscellaneous