It has been 11 years since I’ve had to think about car shopping, so I found the entire experience stressful. Knowing my darkened past wherein I played a weekly game of poker when I was a struggling actor living in Los Angeles, Fiddledaddy finally asked me, “You played poker, why can’t you put on a poker face when we’re on a car lot?” “Because I was a LOUSY poker player.” Which is the truth. Whenever I placed an actual bet, the other players knew that I must have 4 aces.
Today we decided to try our luck with a much smaller, family owned, car lot. I had found a van that was listed on Craigs List over the weekend, in our price range, and it was everything we wanted. Still, we felt the need to see the big boys at the hoopty ploopty dealer used car lots. Over the span of 2 days, I lost 10 years off of my life, and a total of 6 hours or more that I’ll never get back.
Fiddledaddy sent me this article, written by an investigative reporter hired to work in the auto selling industry, to give a more accurate look into the life of a car salesman. It is an absolutely fascinating account of what actually goes on behind closed doors, when the car salesman leaves you sitting at the little table, so he can go “check” with his superior to see what kind of numbers he can come up with. Please take the time to read this article entitled Confessions of a Car Salesman if you are going to be car shopping any time soon.
We pulled into this small car lot, run by a dad and his son. We were greeted, we told them what we were looking for, he gave us a set of 2 keys to check out the two vehicles that fit our description. Then he left us alone. NO PRESSURE. NO HOVERING. NO SMARMY SMALL TALK. We were able to kick tires, conduct the sniff test (most important part of shopping for a used car, in my estimation), climb in the vans and move seats around, open and shut doors, flip switches, etc. And the best part was that we could discuss our findings with one another openly. NO NEED FOR THE USE OF THE POKER FACE. Or lack thereof.
Finally, we asked if we could test drive one of the vans. The son pulled it out so we could take it for a spin. And then he walked away. THEY LET US DRIVE IT ON OUR OWN. We came back to the lot, and asked to test drive the other van. Which they gladly let us do.
Then we climbed back into the first van, discussed our options some more, agreed that it was perfect for our family. The children were especially excited at the prospect, because we were leaning toward the van that had a DVD system. We’ve never had such a luxury. Then we decided we would go in and talk numbers.
That’s the part that I hate. Honestly, you might as well just hand me the throw up bucket, because that whole process is the best way for me to remember what I ate for breakfast.
We sat down with the owner of the lot, and told him that we wanted to trade in our ’99 Honda Odyssey, and we told him the condition of the van, and that it needed a new transmission. He asked us want we wanted for it, and we told him. And we also told him that we knew we were dreaming. He went out, started it up, checked it out, and came back in and told us he would take an amount that we thought was extraordinarily generous.
That amount was deducted from the price of the van we wanted to buy. A price, by the way, which was already very fair. And he came down a bit more, and told us what we would need to pay to walk out the door with it.
It was in our budget. A long while ago, I began a small savings account that was dedicated to purchasing a car. I had been listening to Dave Ramsey and took his Financial Peace course at our church last year. I knew the value of having an emergency fund, and saving up for a really big purchase. And since our cars were getting older, I knew the day was coming, so I’d better start scrimping and saving.
Because of this, we were able to pay cash for a 2005 Honda Odyssey. It’s in fantastic condition, and has every feature that was on our I Wish List. We have been praying for God’s direction as to what to do when our little van started giving us trouble. We felt such a sense of peace when we made the purchase.
And we immediately thanked God for his provision when we drove off of that lot.
I do have to tell you that Cailey started weeping in the parking lot as she bid farewell to our old van. And I have to also tell you that the little nut didn’t fall far from the old Oak Tree. Because I was weeping with her. While the rest of our family did what any good caring and loving family would do. THEY MOCKED US. THEY MOCKED US MIGHTILY.
I think she got over the loss on the way home, when she realized that she had her own set of wireless headphones for the DVD player. And I wiped my own tears when I discovered that my leather seat WAS HEATED. Oh happy day. That feature has given new meaning to the term Hot Pants.
Each one of us has pressed our nose against the front window to stare out at the driveway tonight. And I noticed that Fiddledaddy and Emme sneaked out the front door and braved the frigid temperatures to make sure it was pulled far enough into the driveway. Allrightythen.
MOMMA GOT WHEELS. And I feel extraordinarily blessed.