Friday, July 27, 2007

Danger: Falling Domino Zone!

UPDATE: The Dominos Star To Topple (Part Two)
UPDATE: The Dominos Continue to Fall (Part Three)

Wednesday, I took the afternoon off because my wife had to go down to the courthouse at 2:00, owing to a jury duty summons. (Well, someone had to watch our daughter while Mommy did her "civic duty!")

She actually got home earlier than expected, so we decided to make used-car hay while the sun was shining. We ended up at a car lot where we had bought her 1994 Dodge Shadow eight years before.

I'll condense this part of the story as much as I can. We tried out a 1998 Chevy Contour, which got the thumbs down because the key could not be turned in the ignition. I drove a 1999 Ford Taurus that was very nice, except for the fact that the AC blew out air that would melt shrink-wrap tubing.

"Oh, we'll get that AC fixed, if you're interested," the salesman assured me.

Another salesman came out of the trailer waiving a cell phone.

"It's Mel," said the phone waver. "He says he'll fix the air conditioning and let you have the car for $3,500. He really wants to close on this tonight."

Well bully for Mel!

I told him I would call him tomorrow after work to see if they were able to fix the air cnditioning, then we'd talk.

"Yeah, but Mel really wants to close on this tonight!" the sales droid repeated.

"I'll call you guys tomorrow, after work." And with that I drove off.

Thursday, after work I came home and realised I didn't have either the phone number or the Name of the car lot! You see I wanted to simply call about the Taurus' AC repair status rather than go back to the lot.

I finally decided to grab our TracPhone and hop into the van. I drove past the lot and got the name and number off the sign. I pulled into a strip mall parking lot and dialed the number.

What luck! I got Mel on his cell phone.

"Yeah, hey, Mel, this is Craig Davison. I was calling to see if you got that AC fixed on the Taurus."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Davison!" Melly-Mel replied. "The garage is still looking at it, but I'll tell you what. We just got in a 2000 Taurus SE today. It's a year newer, but I'll call the guys and tell them to let you have it for thirty-five hundred, the same as the '99. How's that sound?"

"Thirty-five hundred? Well, OK., I'll take a look at it" I replied. "I'm on I'm Skibo, by the Best Buy store right now. I can be at the lot in five minutes."

Long story short: I took it for a test drive, my wife drove it and we agreed that we were interested.

Back at the lot, I told them that I was interested in the Taurus, since Mel said I could have it for "thirty-five hundred." I also told them that I would need to know the total price, with taxes, tags and what-not, so I could arrange to get the money together.

The grand total came to $4,034.40. (The lot-lackey kept quoting a price of $3,599 rather than the "thirty-five hundred" that Mel kept promising. Um, that's like $99 too much, right? Ah, screw it. It's closing time and I wanna get the heck out of there!)

"All right, " I told him. "I have to get in contact with the bank. I'll call you tomorrow to let you know if I can swing it, as this is about $1,000 over what I had budgeted."

As I'm backing my car up, Lot Lackey #2 comes running out of the trailer waving the cell phone again and starts knocking on my window.

"It's Mel! He really wants to wrap this up tonight." Is this guy's name Deja Von Vu or what? "What's it going to take to get you to buy tonight?"

Me: I can't buy it tonight. I have to go to the bank and move some money around.

Lackey: Mel says, can you write us a check?

Me: No, I don't have the checkbook with me. And even if I did, the check would bounce because I have to go to the bank and transfer the funds.

Lackey: Mel says can't you do it on the Internet? You can use the computer in the office.

Me: No, I can't do it on the Internet. I'm not set up for on-line banking.

Lackey: Mel says that he'll finance the extra $1,000, interest free! How soon could you pay it back?

(This is really getting tiresome, folks!)

Me: I dunno. How long will he give me?

Lackey: Mel says he'd have to raise the price to $3,799 if he finances that $1,000.

Me: No, thanks. I want to pay cash.

Lackey: Mel wants to talk to you.

(Lackey hands me the phone.)

Mel: So, how'd you like the car.

Me: I liked it fine. Look, I don't want a loan. I want to pay cash. I will call the bank first thing tomorrow and start the funds transfer process. I will call you at lunch time tomorrow to let you know if it's going to happen.

Mel: Oh. So you'll call us tomorrow at lunch time. 'Cause I'll give you an interest free loan for that extra grand. Of course, I'll have to get $3,799, then.

(Yeah "interest free!" So what's the extra $200 for?)

Me: No thanks, Mel. I'll call you tomorrow at lunch time. Good night.

I handed the phone back to the Lackey, rolled up my window and drove home with a headache.

Then, Friday morning, the best laid plan of mice and men...



Blogger Unknown said...

I had a 1989 Taurus that was probably one of the best cars ever. Other than standard stuff it was never in the shop.

July 27, 2007 11:57 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And dang you for leaving me hanging! Can't wait to hear the rest!

July 27, 2007 11:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think that was one of the last Taurses ever made. Of course, they're renaming the Ford 500 to the Taurus now.

Hmmmm ... another cliffhanger. I'm thinking that you should rename your blog into ... Cliffhanger.

July 28, 2007 1:31 AM  
Blogger Gale said...

I am queen of the car lot. My word is their command. You gotta take me the next time you go car shopping. I will fix their wagon...rotten so and so's. Of course I can't cross the street by myself and I still need a note from home.....sort of

July 28, 2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

Sorry for all the cliff-haning, gang. I'm doing these entries from home and my internet time is very limited, to say the least. Complicating the matter is my rotten computer and even rottener ISP. It took me nearly AN HOUR to get to this page right now! But that's another

jeff: Glad to hear that you had good experiences with your Taurus! The Consumers Report Used Car Guide gave it good marks, too.

gale: I coulda used your help, as we shalle see.

dorky dad: That's what I need! a 1973 Ford Galaxy 500! WITH AN 8 TRACK PLAYER!!!

July 28, 2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger CS said...

Good Lord, what an obnoxious bunch at the car place. And the idea that you should pay $200 for a brief interest-free loan is patently absurd.

July 28, 2007 10:51 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

cs: Oh, so you noticed that, too?

July 29, 2007 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

foghorn l-egg-horn-
sounds like you need to think 'outside the box' re: transportation. May i suggest a) pogo stick b) kangaroo pouch 3) cartwheel/sommersaulting 4) bus f) taxi / limo 1) moonwalk

for real, run away from that dealer

July 29, 2007 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unless, of course, you already bought a car from that douche, in which case congratulations

July 29, 2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

scott: Turpie don't roll like dat.

July 30, 2007 10:25 AM  

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