Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Deals

We went on another day of car shopping today. The wife wanted to re-check the cars she saw earlier in the week, see if anything new appeared on the lots, and was determined to make a decision today. And, she did. We bought a "new to us" car and we can pick it up on Tuesday.

Her beloved 1998 Taurus, with 256,000 miles on it, needed repairs that rivaled the value of the car and we thought a newer car to be a better investment of any money.

Buying a car, and having something newer, should be something of a thrill, but the process is just never fun. The industry is set up to set us up. You hear about deal making and trading away accessories to bring the price down, offer to pay $2,000.00 less than the sticker, the salesman goes off to "talk to the boss," they come back offering a small amount off, you come up a bit, they go see "what else, if anything, but there's not a lot of room as we're all ready at cost," and when all is said and done you end up paying just what you didn't want to pay.

We tried what tactics we could to lower the price. We're just not good at it and there's something about haggling over the price of anything that feels cheap. We came away with a car that attracted us, got body work tossed in to take care of dings and scrapes, and a CPO. We had a CPO once before and it was good. And, once I figure out what it is, I'll explain it to you.

Basically, we're happy. The sad part of it was taking days to test drive, compare one to the other, ruminate over them all, return to find one we wanted was being sold as we appeared, and having one sales person (not where we bought the car), seemingly put us down for asking questions. "It doesn't matter if you finance or pay cash for the whole thing, the company doesn't care," and, "You have to understand that you're getting a warranty and that costs the company money." I got it. The salesperson was looking out for the company and, for them, he's a keeper.

The truth is, the final two cars were about the same amount of money. We went with the other guy who treated us well.

We left the car dealership to have lunch. After downing a couple of sandwiches with fries, we got the bill for the meal. I asked the waitress if she could do something about the bill.

"Huh?," she asked.

"Well," I said, "the meal was okay, but I don't think you bought the bread today, and the pickles most likely were bought more than a few days ago. I think there's some depreciation here we can take into consideration."

She seemed stunned. "You're not serious, are you?"

I shook my head in disbelief as my wife hit me with a, "What are you doing?"

I stuttered to the waitress, "I'm sorry, we just came from buying a car!"

"Oh," she said, "I'm sorry. Now I know why you asked that. Actually, we have a car buyer's remorse coupon, but you have to come back to use it, it can't be applied to food that's all ready been served, and it's only good on our full priced entrees, and only on Wednesdays between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m."

I apologized to the young lady, paid the bill, left her a bigger tip than usual, once again paying more than we expected to, and we left. I did ask for the coupon on the way out, at the register, but was told that offer expired yesterday at midnight. Geez!

Onward to the grocery store. We quickly ran around the place, gathering our basic needs and headed for the register. I loaded everything on the belt, as usual, while the wife handled the coupons and directed the placement of goods for ringing up. For what turned out to be about three bags of goods, $105.00.

As my wife went to write the check, I told her to wait a minute and I said to the clerk, "Are there any management specials today?"

"Management specials?," he asked.

"Yes, specials," I repeated. "This food has been sitting on your shelves for days, and months in some instances, and it seems to me that you should be running specials, say 10% or 15% off, or at least including the tax in the price."

"Wha," the clerk said?

"Management specials. You know, you put up balloons and drape flags all over the place, maybe you hire someone with a blimp or a plane to announce the deals, and you move old stock off your shelves."

"Is he for real," the clerk asked my wife?

"You have to excuse him," she noted, "We just came from buying a used car."

"Oh, why didn't you say so!" The clerk advised us that if we could wait until the next stocking of the store, and take our goods in brands they chose, we could qualify for free refrigeration of any perishables. The only thing was that we had to drive to the store to pick up items as we needed them, but there wouldn't be any extra charge for this service.

My wife pushed the cart into my backside and told me to stop thinking and pack the bags. She apologized to the clerk and we were soon on our way.

I don't know what came over me, perhaps haggling lag, but I started to think, although a car is worth what its worth and our souls and peace of mind might be better off if we just paid the posted price, I paid too much for those donuts I bought this morning...they had holes in them and I want a discount!!!


  1. still write checks at the grocery store? LOL....Debit card?....LOL