Saturday, March 5, 2011
Have I Got a Deal for You!
Is there anyone who loves setting foot on the lot at a car dealership? I remember as a kid, my dad used to stalk the car lots on Sunday afternoons (when they used to be closed on Sundays!) and with us kids scrunched in the cab of his reliable old Ford truck pinching and poking each other, he would wander the long aisles of shiny new cars scoping them out sans sales people.
Teri and I are embarking on our biggest joint purchase to date. We thought signing a lease and purchasing plane tickets together was a big deal, but shopping for a new-to-us car takes things to a whole new level! Plus, we are old, we are seasoned--we've been there and done just about everything in the grown up finance and purchase department and we have a damn good idea what we do and don't want.
We have been chatting and researching for a little while now and the other night at dinner, I pushed the envelope: "Let's schedule a time to actually go to a lot and start looking at real live cars..." With datebooks in hand, we penned in Friday morning and promised ourselves lunch after as a reward.
One of the things I am most grateful for and that I absolutely LOVE about my relationship with Teri is how we deal with money. Having experienced this as a tortuous challenge in past relationships, it was actually an area of negotiation for us when we were coming together as a couple. We have similar spending patterns and we both bring a blue collar/working class sensibility and frugality to our finances. So you can bet that when we step on to the car lot, we know exactly how much we are willing to spend and have a pretty good idea of what we expect to get for that (of course, we expect far more than is reasonable, but that is because we are Americans!)
Teri and I were both also raised by strong-minded, mechanically-savvy dads--we constantly have various idioms and old-school warnings bouncing around when it comes to approaching the areas of life that used to be considered "manly." As we were heading out the door yesterday morning, I heard me channeling my dad when I barked, "Well, let's go so we can get back!"
Having done our research, I felt confident that we could fend off anyone who wanted to shoehorn us into anything. Teri's approach was to set limits on what she was willing to do to try to maintain a sense of control. We are not desperate or in a hurry and we can't be rushed and I knew from experience that anyone who tried to do that to her would likely loose the arm they extended to shake ours! I didn't know until we walked across the lot that she was not going to do any test driving on the first trip out. Okay, good move, I thought--and I promised her that I would shoo off anyone who came over before we were ready to chat.
After running off one salesperson, we got a chance to wander some more before an older one sauntered over to us. He had a different approach and we managed to out ourselves with the skill that comes with years of necessary outing and he didn't bat an eye--immediately treating us as co-potentials. We knew what he was up to and he knew it, and he seemed to assess where we were coming from pretty quickly. Alas, we actually liked him. He showed us how to peruse pre-owned vehicles online (we flat-out told him that neither of us ever intends to buy a brand new car again having learned the depreciation lesson in our twenties) and extracted more information about us as we extracted more information about the modern car-buying process. He didn't try to hold us there and when we headed off to lunch, we had to admit that we actually had...cough, sputter...fun dipping our toes in the pond of car shopping!
Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Kori and Teri buy a car...