Thursday, February 28, 2008

Car Shopping And Numbers: The Culmination Of the Things I Hate Most

Here are some things I dislike:

*being pushed into something
*numbers of any kind
*being treated like I'm stupid or helpless because I'm female
*not being taken seriously because I'm female
*not having people deal with me when I'm the person to whom they should be speaking
*being told one thing when I'm fairly certain another is true
*when my saying "no" is taken as a challenge

Last night at Ford Lincoln Mercury sale (which I attended because I got a thingy in the mail and won three prizes... which turned into one prize), was the epitome of several things I detest the most.

First off, Mike was with me (he'd called up wanting to take me to dinner, so I told him if he wanted to come along with me to the car thing, that was cool), and so every time any of the sales people addressed "me" they talked to him. How the heck does he know what my budget for the car is? You'd think that when I expressly stated, "No, we're not married. He's my boyfriend" they would get the idea that it was for me, that I would be making payments and no one else. Not so. Again today, I had to clarify using those exact words.

Then, to really get me riled up, before I left last night, after scheduling an appointment for this morning (I wanted an accurate assessment on my car so that when I do get a new one, I have an idea of how much mine is worth), Leon, the car salesman I'd been dealing with, sent over his manager. His manager, who reminded me of the actor Tim Curry, immediately came over, shook mine and Mike's hands and proceeded to tell Mike that he thinks if he can get a buyer interested, he might be able to offer more for the trade in. Finally, he said to me, "If I could get you more money for your trade in, would you be interested in making the deal right now."

My response, "I'm sorry, I'd have to sleep on it. I'm not a big fan of impetuous purchases, at least not large ones."
"Well, it's a really good deal, and it might not be here tomorrow."
I thanked him, smiled, shook his hand and walked out to Mike's car as fast as possible.

Today, ten o'clock, I show up for my appointment. I'm greeted with a handshake and a smile. We took the car for another spin, and after staying up until ridiculous hours (working/researching/staring at the ceiling), I'm both tired and prepared with what I'm pretty sure is a foolproof way to make excuses and leave.

See, last night, while comparing several insurance companies, I'd realized the cost of my car insurance and the cost of the car payments would be more than my whole monthly mortgage

So I explained, "I do like the car. However, I don't love it. It doesn't have the anti-lock brakes. The insurance is high, the cost is high, and as I mentioned yesterday, I do prefer cars with manual transmissions. They get better gas mileage, they're more fun, and I hate to be shallow, but they're usually much cuter. And even though I'm not good with numbers, I do have common sense and the fact that my car payment combined with my car insurance payment would be higher than my mortgage, I'm going to have to pass."

"Let me see what I can do for you." Several minutes later, he asked if Mike would be helping with the payments, and I had to explain that we're not living together and we don't have a bank account together. Ticks me off that one would ask that. So then he asked (again) if I had a father or a brother that I needed to ask before I could proceed.

What did he expect me to say? "Yes, well, I've already told you I can't afford it and I'm not interested, but my daddy's going to tell me to go ahead." ???? Maybe that's what I should have said. Instead, I said, "No."

Then, his manager came over and he explained that I love the car (say what?) but the payments are too high. Then, I passed my car keys to the guy who was going to get the estimate (the only part I cared about) and was stuck, for the next forty minutes, listening to the talks about how much less he can make things.

Here's what I learned:

*Cars salesman will bend over backwards to make the sale.
*When the cars salesman calls, insurance rates drop a bunch (mine went down $60)
*When the word "no" is taken as a challenge, it means you have the power. Even if it doesn't get
you anywhere.
*Just because a car is newer doesn't mean it's better.

Leon told me "Well, maybe you need to start out with a car you don't love to get a car you do love. So you can trade it in and afford the new car that you do love. " (This is before he told his manager I loved it, by the way.) Ironically, the car I might love (pretty manual transmission volkswagen beetle) is about half the cost of the one I don't (Ford Focus).

Gee, I wonder what I should do?

1 comment:

Melody said...

Decisions, decisions.