Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What Can I Do To Get You In A Car Tonight Even Though You Already Said Nothing?

Car shopping is one of the most soul-sucking experiences, very close to completing education assessment activities (academics, can I get a heck yes?).  As the date of the end of my lease approached, I started cringing.  Eddie and I looked at every car on the rode every time we drove.  I was set on getting a small truck, a crossover, something that would keep me safe from the Speedy Baddriversons of the world.  Eddie's lease was going to end at about the same time, so he, too, was looking.  Our goal was to get two cars that we both liked that we could both drive.  Nothing fancy needed. Well, I didn't need anything fancy--and Eddie was going for a little bit fancy--and I don't consider having bluetooth being fancy, but apparenty, it comes with a fancy package.  Also not fancy?  Power locks and power windows.  Unless you're a car dealership.  Then those are considered fancy dancy doo.

Where did we shop?  Everywhere.  Online.  In dealerships.  How did it go?  Eh.

We went to Ford to check out the Edge.  The guy at Ford was the most professional and courteous car guy ever.  He let us browse.  We climbed into and out of cars.  We opened and closed doors and trunks.  We took home literature.  We went back and test drove.  I climbed into the Edge and climbed right back out because I couldn't see a thing over the dashboard.  We tested the Fusion and the Escape.  They were easy to drive, easier than I'd thought, but the Fusion felt too low and the Escape was just so big.  I know it's a smaller truck, but for me, it was big.

Ford? Maybe.

Since I had a Toyota Yaris, I figured I'd take a gander at the RAV 4.  I liked the look of the speedy mini trucks on the road.  Apparently, they don't make those anymore.  They make these colossal crossovers that should be called trucks but are not.  The sales guy told me it looked big because we were inside.  Apparently, I don't understand the concept of indoors and cramped space versus outdoors and into the great wide open.  Then he asked me if I wanted the car and how much I wanted to put down.  I was like, well, I'd have to drive the car and know the price first to tell you that. He said, Let's go for a test drive.

In the garage, the RAV 4 still looked big.  Maybe "in the garage" counts as being inside.  He was saying to Eddie that the older smaller version wasn't his favorite, and Eddie was agreeing.  But I was the one buying the car and wanting a smaller version, so he wasn't really fighting the good fight.

We took it out onto the road.  It still felt big, even in the outdoors.  The salesguy was touting the room in the back, completely contradicting what he'd said earlier about it not being that big.  He kept using words like spacious and roomy.  And then he said the go-to line that all salespeople say to me and Eddie no matter what we're buying--a gaming system, a television, a car, a computer--it's great for the kids.

And that's when I get to have fun.  Sure that line works wonderfully for those young couples who have or plan to have a bunch of bundles of joy.  However, we are not those couples.  So as soon as he said I could fit the whole family in the back, I said, Yeah, we won't be having any of those. Then Eddie followed up with, Yup, no kids, no pets, no plants.  It's our mantra.  That shut up the sales guy for a few moments.  A few awkward and stunned moments in which I delighted and squealed on the inside with glee.  Oh it's so much fun to fuck with people.

Anyway, when we got back to the showroom, he was telling us about free car washes and oil changes in perpetuity when he got to: so how much to you want to put down?  And I was like: What's the price of the car?  And you know he still didn't give me a straight answer.  Hours were going by and he wasn't giving me an answer and was going back and forth to a manager and I kept saying to Eddie, we could just leave now.  Every time he came back, he would say something about buying soon and getting a good deal.  I kept saying, I'm not buying anything tonight.  I told him that I was going to drive out my lease, and he checked it for mileage and condition and told me he could waive the restocking fee if I bought that night.  I was like, no thanks.  (BTW: The fee was waived anyway because of the year in which I leased it, so that wasn't a great incentive, now was it).

Then he said it.  He actually said it. "What can I do to get you into this car tonight?"

So then I said it.  "Nothing."

Then somehow the attention got directed towards Eddie and a great deal for that night.  They actually shook on it.  When the salesguy walked away,  Eddie was like, You know he's not coming back with any kind of deal that would make us jump.  And I was like, You know he shook on it with you and that has nothing to do with me and my not buying this car.

And the guy returned and did not have a deal like, Here take this roomy family fun car for free. Instead, it was more like give us a lot of money and we will charge you a 1.9% interest rate.  So Eddie started pointing at numbers on the paper and saying, Well this is a problem because...and this is not good because.... And finally, Eddie was like, Do you have a card? Which is totally code for: I'm done with you I'm hungry I'm tired I don't like your so called deals and I'm going to throw out your card as soon as we leave.

We had to meet the manager.  We always have to meet the manager.  The manager tried to get us to lease the car instead for a very low price, like 100-something a month.  We walked out anyway and Eddie said, That's actually a great deal.  And I said, Yeah, if you put down five grand on a lease.  And he was like, Oh yeah, that's probably what he meant.

Toyota?  Nope.

We went to Nissan to see the new Rogue.  Eddie's sister used to drive one and she loved it.  We walked into the showroom and no one said anything to us.  We looked at the Juke and some other cars and still no one approached us.  I kind of like not being harassed, but this was too extreme.  Finally, someone came over to us after five minutes and asked what we were looking for.  I said I wanted to see the Rogue.  He took me to the back of the showroom, explaining it was the brand new model.

It looked big.  Like super big.  I said so, and he said, Yes it's bigger than last year's.  We got in and out and walked around.  One of the doors was too close to a salesperson's desk and almost hit the people who were sitting there.  Because it's so big.  Or maybe because, as I learned at Toyota, it's big because it's inside.

Once we got out of the car without harming anyone, the sales guy actually said this: You don't want this car.

I shit you not.

He went on to explain that there were no deals on it and we should come back in a few months when we could get a deal, but we should definitely not get it now.

We agreed because how can you counter that?  Then Eddie spotted a new version of a car he used to own and made me sit in it.  I may as well have dug a hole in the floor and sat in it.  I disappeared in the driver's seat.  And then we left with the glee of what I like to call The Best Worst Sales Pitch Ever.

Nissan?  Nope.

I went back and forth over email with Subaru.  I asked about pricing for the Forester.  Basically, it was a reasonable price but the financing was something crazy like 4% AND that the Forester may not be available but I could get a different car.  I was like, no thank you--with excellent credit, I'm not paying interest at that rate, and especially not for a car I'm not interested in.  A few days later, I got an email from the same salesperson saying that I could get a Forester and the interest would be 0.5 to 1%.

Which proves that this entire car business is a SHAM. For shame, car dealerships, for shame!

Subaru?  Nope.

I became more and more interested in the Juke, thinking that all the mini trucks had been way too big, so the Juke could be a cute crossover. Plus, it reminds me of the Beetle, and I've always loved that car.  So Nissan was back in, but we went to a different dealership because if we went to the one we'd already gone to, the guy was going to tell us to never get a new car ever again.

The dealership we went to did not have the Juke.  They had a Versa.  I test drove it.  It accelerated weirdly, all the while the salesperson saying, It's got a great transmission.  Umm, no it doesn't.  I kept my mouth shut because I wanted to see what he said after the test drive.  As I suspected, instead of asking me if I liked it, he asked what I could put down for it.  Eddie was like, she didn't like it--which spoiled my game!

The guy, desperate at not having a Juke to sell me, asked if I wanted to try the Rogue Select.  It's a smaller version of the new Rogue.  We looked at it in the lot.  It was smaller.  I liked it.  We climbed in.  I liked it because I could see.  Then we took it for a drive and even though it was an okay ride, I felt like I was still driving the Versa.  If I'm driving a mini truck, I want to feel like I'm in a truck, not a teeny car.  The acceleration was the same odd acceleration, but it was easy to drive and I figured I could get used to it.

The salesguy promised me the world.  Free car wash.  Free oil change.  For life!  Discount for being a teacher.  Discount for being a public worker.  Discount for being a teacher in the public system! He pressed and pressed and offered lower and lower interest rates--but not as low as I liked--and wanted me to put a shitload of money down--which I wasn't going to do. The more he talked, the less I liked the car.

He said the deal he could offer me would be available only that night. I said there was no way I was getting a car that night.  Then he said, Okay can you meet my manager?  That took a good ten minutes of waiting for the manager to come over.  I told Eddie: we could just leave.  He was like, This is what they do--they think you're going to change your mind.  I said, I'm not like that.  He said, most people are.  I said, their usual plan works the opposite on me.

Then the manager showed up.  By the time we were all through with the discussion, I could have bought the Rogue Select for 18K complete with bluetooth, backup camera, and all the other perks of the package that I didn't care about.  The price dropped about 6K in five minutes.  Plus all the discounts and incentives, I was looking at a very cheap car.

Once again proving, it's all a SHAM.

We left.  The guy called a few more times.  I realized I absolutely hated the car and was thinking about buying it only out of desperation and despondence.

Nissan?  Nope.  Again.

We went back to Ford.  Deciding to lease one car and buy the other, Eddie got the Edge as a lease. Perhaps I'll grow in the next three years and be able to drive it. (I've driven it once--if I have to drive it, I can, and I'm really good with the backup camera, so maybe I'll just drive it everywhere in reverse). I told the salesguy I was still on the fence about car versus crossover.  He told me to take my time deciding.  I like this guy.

Ford?  Yup.

And then we went to Volkswagen. I'd emailed about the Jetta and found out there was 0% financing available.  I'd stayed away from VW because the mpg is not as good as other cars I look at, but since I'd been planning to get a crossover or truck that would use more gas anyway, I figured a car at VW with poorer mpg wasn't the worst thing in the world.

The salesguy showed us all the features of the Jetta, which included his punching the headlights to show how they were durable.  Eddie enjoyed that. Next to the Jetta was the Golf.  I'd never seen one, barely heard of one, and I liked it very much.  I'd already decided not to get a Bug because it was not practical, but this little Golf was adorable.  And so sporty--it had a bike on top of it.

Then I got my crazy cranking: could I get an incentive because I'm part German?  is it possible to throw in the bike if I buy a car?  I wanted a toy Beetle and a poster.  I wanted the little man on top of the car.

I'd been doing enough car shopping that I was ready to do business.  Everything else was kind of a dress rehearsal.  This was the real deal.  I drove the Jetta.  Then I drove the Golf.  The Jetta was less expensive, but the Golf was where my heart landed.  We haggled.  Eddie asked the salesman for his card.  We left.

At home, we crunched numbers. I serendipitously got an email from SUNY perks about a car program.  I did the research and returned to VW with these incentives.  The salesguy explained how they work and how they lie and I haggled more and more.  One sticking point was that to get bluetooth, I had to get a sunroof.  He said that they do not leak.  I said I didn't want one.  Eddie said he'd love a sun roof.  The salesguy took the incentive printouts to the manager and finance guy.

After all that, I got another 200 bucks knocked off the price.  I'm pretty sure because I was annoying.  I like being annoying.  In all the joy of finally finding a car, I forgot to set forth my demands of a German discount and throwing in show room items. I filled out paperwork.  Eddie liked the pen I was using, so he took it.  When the salesguy came over with a receipt, I had to find my own pen, and then everything else I filled out was in a different color ink.  Either he didn't notice or he figured he'd give up a pen for the sale of a car.

Free because Eddie took it
A week later, I went in to sign papers and pick up my car.  The Day of The Wrench.  Why?  Because I had to sit with a pushy finance guy who was explaining how the monthly price I'd settled on was not possible if I wanted coverage and if I couldn't spend a lot of money, then I should definitely raise the monthly price to have more coverage because I obviously could not afford repairs down the road and it's good to be covered.  I called Eddie, who spoke to the guy directly and then to me, and we decided not to take any extra stuff because we have a warranty and then we have good insurance.  After that, with every printout the guy asked me to sign, he punctuated it with: and no more coverage and that's your choice.  As if the decision I'd just made was the worst one of my life.  The only bad decision that day was refraining from socking him in the eye.

When I got back to the salesguy, he introduced me to the sales manager.  Because that's necessary if you're in a car dealership.  The manager asked how everything was, and I said, Everything has been wonderful except for today and your finance guy throwing numbers and prices at me without knowing that was going to happen.  He mumbled something about how they like being able to offer their customers the best service options, and I replied, Yes, but it would have been nice to know about when I set up the original price--but everything else was great!

Then we did more paperwork.  Then I got keys.  Then I walked outside and climbed into my car and drove away.  Yeay!
The series of pics my mom took while using my iPhone when I got the car home.
Volkswagen? Yup!

And now?  Eddie and I are one of those couples--not the kind that have kids, but the kind that match.

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