The Silver Dynamo

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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?

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
This entry was posted in Automotive, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Silver Dynamo

  1. I haven’t bought a car for 15 years because I, too, despise the process. Just charge a price and let me decide whether or not to pay it. No matter what, I’m going to a sucker, and I know it. I’m not a shrewd businessman well-versed in the art of haggling. I’m just a doddering imbecile, and the hawk-eyed salesman can spot me as soon I set a toe on the lot. I’ll feel like I’ll have some degree of control during the browsing and test-driving parts, but when they set a stack of documents in front of me the size of a phonebook, I know it’s all over. Interest rates, finder’s fees, wholesale-distribution-franchise-dealership fees … yeah, I get it. I owe you a ton of money for a box and four wheels.

    It’d probably be faster if I use endorsed my weekly paycheck over to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. energywriter says:

    Great description of the process. I hate dickering and then there’s all the extras – guarantees on the drive train, guarantees on the bumpers and so on and on and on. sd

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cars4usa says:

    I’ve never met a single person who liked the process of buying a car and the bargaining involved is a big part of the reason for me. Hope your daughter will enjoy her car for a long time still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      In some countries, they bargain for everything they buy, groceries, clothes, etc. It was that way in Egypt when I went there. They ask twice as much as something is worth. You offer half of that, and then you both negotiate. If you are satisfied with what you pay, it is considered a fair price. What a time-consuming way to shop.


      • cars4usa says:

        It’s a cultural thing I guess. Bu that’s the way it worked in the past, like the middle ages. Luckily other cultures decided to give it up, hopefully one day the same will be true for cars as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I hate haggling…but, I never really get a chance to haggle on car buying- my husband loves old cars- is sentimental about them… I guess since I’m getting older I should appreciate that quality in him…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely hate it. I’m not good at bargaining. It’s not in our culture. (Neither is my husband but he won’t admit it.) Last time I went looking for a car I took a Starbucks venti cup. I told them I wanted a red car with a cup holder that fit the venti cup without spilling. Then I dawdled enough that I got a second price. That was about as long as I could hold out. I had things to be and people to see. I hate buying cars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      And the phony trips to check your offer with the sales manager, and the pained look on the face as if you are getting a really good deal, and the sneaking off to check your credit score. Oh, Geez, how dumb do they think we are? We checked the blue book price before we came. It just takes hours and hours for no reason at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahdad says:

    Second car salesmen have the power to suck out all the joy from something that should be an wondrous event. I hate it too. And I’m a guy.

    Liked by 1 person

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