No longer the owner of the worst car in America

Car buying is like taking the SATs.  You prepare, you study, sometimes you get together with friends and share tactics or quiz each other.  Then you sit down to take the test, you’re excited and want to jump right in.  You give an snarky smile to the first few questions thinking, “I own this test”, but soon you start hitting harder ones and the realization hits you that maybe you’re not as prepared as you thought you were.  After a few sections, you are psyched for that break when you can talk to your friends about the test but soon realize with both anxiety and disappointment that everyone had a different section than you.  Finally you get back to it and by the end you’re thinking, “Whatever, this sounds good… circle, circle, circle”.

That is pretty similar to my recent car buying experience.  I was excited doing research on, chatting with co-workers and friends who had good insight, and getting out and about test driving cars.  But then I get to a dealership where the woman says to me, “You know, you own the worst car in America right now.”  I giggled at her statement but then in a split second changed to an “Oh s**t” face.  I did (key word) own a Chrysler Pacifica.  Gas guzzling SUV crossover made by a company that might not be in existence next week put me in a horrible bargaining position.  The voices start to change after this ranging anywhere from ones of people offering to put my car in a lake (would have made for an awesome story) to family and friends who were trying to balance being supportive and not calling me stupid (By the way, everything friends and family said was spot on.  The information and gentle nudges helped tremendously.  I just needed to figure out what worked best for me.).  
So this week I got back out there again and ended up buying a car.  Talking with a good salesman he threw out an offer.  I told him it was decent but that I needed to think about it.  An hour later, I show back up and threw back a offer that cut his down payment in 2/3rds and his monthly by close to $30 thinking they would never take it.  Well crap, I either didn’t undercut it enough or they were just looking to close a deal.  5 minutes before closing time, I had a deal and a car.
Two Days Later…
The dealership let me take the car home for the Thanksgiving holiday with the agreement that I’d return on Friday to complete the paperwork.  I show up, have a seat in the financial guys office and he says, “Well I’ve got some news for you”.  He proceeds to tell me that apparently financing rejected the lease agreement.  It wasn’t my credit, it was the economy, he explained.  For $500 more I’d have a car and a lower monthly payment.  
I don’t bargain well.  I’m not the best negotiator with people I don’t know.  I can work through a negotiation between two other people no problem when they’re at each other’s throats about what time the alarm goes off in their room.  I’ve now come to understand that wheelin‘ and dealin‘ cars isn’t my strong suit.
But I don’t like to be messed with either.  And that’s all that’s going through my head when he starts talking about, “Well do you have family who can loan you the money?”  “Could you come up with it at a later date?”  Both of which I stick to my guns and say that I just couldn’t pull that cash together in any guaranteed amount of time.  Then he says, “What about a different car?”  FLAG ON THE PLAY- Bait and Switch, on the dealership, 450 mile penalty, time to go.  I start turning the tables back on him saying something to the effect of that this isn’t all going smoothly and I’m ready to take the Pacifica back.  They can take the car with 450 miles on it and now that I now you all can go lower, I’m a little concerned that I got the best deal out of this.  He leaves, comes back, closes the door, shakes my hand, and says, you’ve got the lower monthly payment.  
Now watch, soon I get a job in a big city and I don’t even need a car.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  Thanks for reading!

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