There are many things in life that are not favorite activities. I had to do one of the things I despise most last week – buy a car. It seems as if we just went through this process not too long ago. I couldn’t believe I had to do it again.
I dislike car buying because you are expected to barter over prices. Do you ever go into a department store and offer to give them $50 for a $70 dress, or to a grocery store and offer the checkout person less than the total on the cash register?
Because I hate spending a whole day playing the car-buying game that I know I can’t win, I’ve lately been going to a dealership that sells used rental cars that have been retired from the fleet. They are only a year old, loaded with extras, and the price is the price.
Our sales person was the eager type. The minute we walked through the door he was with us in an electric flash, shaking hands and saying how glad he was that we came by. He wondered how we found them since they don’t advertise and his eyebrow twitched into a dollar sign when he found out we were repeat customers.
Then the pitch: “We keep only 5% of our cars and the rest are wholesaled out. We price them at the fair market price and there is no negotiating.” That was music to my ears, even though I already knew it and that’s why I drove to the other side of town to buy car.
“What kind of car are you interested in?” My daughter was already outside on the car lot checking out the selection. “Something for my daughter that’s economical,” I replied.
She had zeroed in on one that was similar to the one she had wiped out on the Interstate a few weeks before. The price was about right and mileage fairly low. I was ready to get the deal done.
“We have some nice Fords with remote entry,” said the salesman, “Are you interested in a Ford?” Before I could say “no” he had waltzed my daughter across the lot to a slick silver model with all the features you could load it down with.
“But the mileage is higher and it’s a year older,” I pleaded.
“I like it,” she said, already behind the wheel. Pink hearts drifted out the window.
“Would you like to drive it?” purred the evil sales person.
Of course she would. We piled into the car, and I covered my eyes while we pulled out into the busy traffic for a test spin.
“How do you like it?” I asked, as the violin music swelled and a choir of angels sang from somewhere in the unseen background. The answer was obvious.
We went back to the dealership to get the painful part over with – the part where you sign away half your paycheck for once a month and get an easy payment plan. After filling out the paperwork and signing my name so many times that I had writer’s cramp down to my ankle, the deed was finally done.
“We try to keep it as simple as possible,” said the salesman. “Was it easy?”
“Yes, too easy,” I replied truthfully.
And so my daughter has wheels again and life can get back to normal around here. But those tiny pink valentines that keep floating out the windows of her car are beginning to become annoying.
© 2005 Sheila Moss
Do you like car bargaining or would you prefer one fair price?