I love cars. Always have. One of my first big goals in adulthood was to save money to get a sports car. A gun-metal grey RX-7. It was awesome! The envy of all the guys and most of the gals, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips.
While I love cars, over the years other items have sort of come in the way of always driving the latest and greatest hot rod. Travel, clothes and a house. Hard to believe that a roof over my head would be more important than a car, huh?
Early in our marriage hubby and I decided that we never wanted to have two car payments at once. So our plan has been to buy one new car and keep one paid-off car, alternating who gets the new car and who's stuck driving an older model. We purchase, pay it off, wait a couple years and buy a new one. We pretty much marry our cars when we buy them, since we keep them for 10 years or more.
It's now my turn to get the new car. Actually, it was my turn last year except the lay-off put a damper on our interest in a new car. (More on this during my next post)
Lay-off or not, I ™m hesitant to give up my beloved Beetle. It's been awesome and while it's starting to show age, I ™m not ready to put it out to pasture.
But it's time. We know we have to do this. We ™ve been to countless auto shows, consulted numerous friends, read every review we found and even consulted strangers we saw driving different models, asking about their likes and dislikes pertaining to their car. If buying a new car was a research paper, we ™d get an A.
We finally decided to take a couple hours to visit a sales person we met months ago at one of the auto shows. A friendly, no-pressure type, which is perfect for our nervous scenario.
Off we go to the dealership, both of us repeating the mantra we're just looking; we don't have to buy anything . Arriving at the lot, the new cars glisten in the sun. Like puppies waiting to be adopted, they all look as though they're smiling at us saying Pick me! Pick me!
Who do they think we are? We're not that easily persuaded.
We find our sales person “or motoring advisor , as they like to be called. A very casual yet hi-tech atmosphere which is more like the Apple store than a car dealership. We accept the branded bottle of water he offers us as we slyly grin at each other. Does this motoring associate really think he can win us over with a bottle of water? He doesn't know us very well, does he?
So what brings you in today? he says. Nice opener, I ™m thinking.
We just wanted to say hi since we met a few months ago, and see what's new here. Possibly test drive if you have a minute .
As luck would have it, they happen to have one 2012 model of the car we're interested in.
Off we go for a spin. Little does he know we can't be lured into purchasing just because of a test drive, especially since we rented the same model during our summer vacation. Ha! We are one step ahead of you, Mr. Motoring Advisor!
Back on the lot the discussion continues. We talk about the new color, the options, the customization, the price. All very low-key, which seems a bit unusual. I ™ve seen more high-pressured sales people when I ™m buying jeans.
Is this car something that you might be interested in? he asks me. ME “ the woman , not hubby, who at this point realizes the power shift and allows me to take control knowing full-well that this motoring advisor had better buckle-up. He's dealing with me now and heaven forbid he makes a wrong move or he may experience a full-blown hormone-driven tirade.
I go easy on the guy. He seems nice enough. We walk away, knowing that this is the only 2012 on the lot and has the bells and whistles we want.
Back at home, we do some more research, including financing options. Waking up refreshed, we go about our weekend chores and head to the grocery store, stopping for a quick lunch. Over sandwiches, we finally discuss the pink elephant in the room “ the car that neither of us wants to admit has piqued our interest.
There will always be another car , I say. Yeah , says hubby, plus we ™ve got our big trip coming up. Shall we buy some groceries?
How we ended up at the dealership is still a mystery. We think space aliens abducted us and we woke up on the lot. Steeling ourselves for a fight we go in, fully-clad in Kevlar.
With another branded-water for each of us, we view the car and this time we ask him what he can do for us. Gotcha now, don't we, Mr. Motoring Advisor? He immediately offers us the deal we were looking for. Huh? What ¦I mean ¦well ¦OK.
And that, my friends, is how you negotiate a new car.
Wait, did we just buy a new car? Panic sets in as we drive off the lot. I ™m all at once remorseful and scared of the expense, and unhappy about giving up my Beetle.
We didn't even look under the hood! I cry. What would we see under the hood? asks hubby, looking at me like I ™ve sprouted a second head. The engine is covered in plastic casing. It's not like you're going to work on the car .
It gets worse over the next two days. I can't bear the thought of parting with my trusty Beetle. I sit in the Beetle and sob. Come on, sweetie , hubby tries to coax me out of the car, prying my fingers from the steering wheel. You ™ll love your new car .
I cry all the way to the dealership. Maybe they ™ll tell us to go away and not buy from them? Maybe the space aliens will return and take me to the mother ship?
Armed with yet another branded bottle of water, I ™m shown my new car. It sort of smiles at me. I clean out the Beetle as hubby snaps a final photo of me giving it one last hug good-bye.
As I drive off the lot in the new car, my smile starts to return. I think this will be a good 10-year marriage.
(Next time: Financing a Lay-Off)
© Tami Cannizzaro 2011 All Rights Reserved