I just read Old NFO’s tale of buying himself a car and reminded me of our way of shopping for vehicles. Since money does not pour freely from our accounts, the missus and yours truly spend a great amount of time doing online research about cars or trucks we wish to buy. While she peruses the respected professional sites, I dive into forums and blogs trying to find the real value of a particular vehicle and their maintenance cost or any recurring issues it may have. That goes double if we decided to go with a used car rather than a sparking new showroom one.
Some years ago, the Boss had decided to splurge and buy herself a new sedan. She had several contenders and one of them was a Hyundai Sonata because it looked like that year’s Jaguar that some boss at her office had. After we did our research and found out that Sonatas for the most part have been with very little in the form of troubles and recalls, we headed to the dealership.
It was not long until a salesman showed up and offered his services. I took charge and indicated we were looking for a brand new Sonata which made the guy happy and proceeded to chant about all the goodies it cam with plus all the fantastic deals the dealership would offer. The boss picked the car she liked, I took it for a test drive and found it acceptable. Soon we were back to the office and we sat down to deal with the paperwork. After several minutes of much theater by the salesman, he presented me with a bunch of papers, mumbled about all the other fees, charges and financing and finally gave me a monthly payment number with the tone of voice that meant it was reasonable and any human would be happy to get. I looked at the paperwork and did something the salesman was not expecting:
I gave the whole thing to my wife.
You see, my wife is Attila the Hun when it comes to money and how it is spent. She is the type of person that will fight the bank (and win) if the balance has a 5 cent discrepancy. She is a master into researching for BS fees and unnecessary charges and how to get rid of them or walk away from the whole enchilada not caring of the salesperson might have spent six hours trying to make the deal. She will shred you to particulate to get the last cent possible out of a deal and then push for at least $50 more. If the Spanish Inquisition had a Finance Department, they would issue a jihad against her or hire her on the spot.
So the Boss takes a pen to the paperwork and starts striking out shit, amending other, changing rates and percentages while explaining to the salesman why was she doing that. The poor guy never saw it coming and could only stare back and forth between her and me with my shit-eating grin.
“Nah, that is too expensive, I know you can do at least $3,000 less. Corrosion treatment makes sense, right? We live in Miami after all and we don’t want the car dissolving into rust…. but as it happens, all cars now come with corrosion protection from the factory and it is much better than any spray can crap they apply here at the dealership to extract an extra three or four figures. Super Duper Stereo System with 100 CD changer? Ha! I can change CDs on my own. I’ll take the leather seats as a freebie and if you can’t give them to me, I will settle for fabric, don’t care one way or other.” that and more and she went on and on while I saw what once was a confident salesman turned into a wimpy mass of humanity.
The poor guy did have to go back to his manager to get approval. But that was not the end of the story.. no sir. When the salesman was starting to prepare the financing stuff, my wife came out like a Matador with a raised sword and delivered the killing stab:
“Don’t worry about your financing. We are pre-approved with the bank. We are gonna use them since they offer a lower rate than you.”
So she drove out of the lot in her brand spanking new car while I followed her in awe in my crappy Nissan truck. I raced home and waited for her to arrive. When she did, I jumped inside her car and told her we should go out for a steak dinner to celebrate.
She drove straight to Wendy’s and got us burgers: “We just bought a car. No time to be wasting money on an expensive piece of meat I can get a WinDixie for 70% less and you can grill at home.”
As I said… ruthless.