As it seems every calendar year, I start my attempt to write more blogs but quickly run out of things to blog about. This won’t be much of an ‘interesting’ blog, but it is good news (for a change) that I’m excited to share.
I have a working vehicle again. Geesh, what a process! Living in Tumbleweed Town, there is one small used car dealership here and nothing else. I’d found a vehicle on their website on a Sunday, before my car had completely broken down, and went there the next day to find out it had gotten sold on Friday but not removed from the web site. The salesperson tried to get me interested in a more expensive vehicle that only met one of my demands for my next vehicle, so I passed. I’d found another one after my car quit running and made contact. My research showed me that the car was overpriced by $2300. I explained in multiple different ways my research, and Mike (my contact) kept giving me excuses why it was priced the way it was. Per his suggestion, I looked at the same vehicle within 60 miles of me and found an identical model except that it had 1000 more miles on it. I told Mike this and he quickly assured me that 1000 miles wasn’t anything to worry about. I then told him that the only other different thing was that theirs was priced $2000 dollars less than he was asking. Again, he started giving me reasons why he couldn’t adjust the rate (testing my intelligence) and insisted that they were not making a lot of profit at the price they were asking. The nail in HIS coffin was when I told him that the last time the car had sales activity was at an auto auction when they bought it, and it wasn’t my problem if they paid too much for it then! Although I wanted to give him some of my excellent sarcasm skills when he was left with no comeback to that, I simply thanked him for his time and said that I was not interested in that vehicle at that price and never would be and hung up.
Meanwhile, since the day my car officially stopped running, I have spent hours and hours and hours and hours and, well, you get the idea, looking at vehicles online that met my criteria. I finally found one I was interested in, about 40 miles away, and contacted the dealership with my interest.
In the meantime, my bestie, Joanne (aka Chella, which is short for Bichella) was graciously taking me to the grocery store as needed and threw in a quick trip to Walmart and Dollar (or, Dollar-and-a-quarter) Tree. I’d asked her if she could take me to this dealership, but it turns out that she wasn’t comfortable with the drive because it involved highways (she avoids them like the plague) and places she’s unfamiliar with. I then had to contact the dealership and explain that I couldn’t come to look at the car because I didn’t have the means to get there.
I was surprised when I received a return email saying that they would be glad to come and get me and take me there. Who does that? I mean, they had no guarantee I was going to purchase!
It was a bit of a hassle getting coordinated with them to get a time scheduled that worked for both of us. Meanwhile, I kept going back to their web site and found other cars I might also be interested in – a total of 3 – so I felt less guilty that I was going to take advantage of them for the travel without making a purchase.
Finally, the day came, and I met the dealership’s owner in the pharmacy parking lot a block from my home (getting to my place is somewhat squirrely and entry isn’t really on the Main Street address that we use). He drove one of the three vehicles I was interested in. He offered me to drive it back as a test drive, but I elected to ride as a passenger. I don’t know how the vehicle handled and was reluctant to almost immediately get on a highway and then not know where I was going, so… We talked about the 3 cars I had interest in, and I think I might have impressed him a little with the amount of research I had done on each. All 3 were the same manufacturer and similar models, but there were differences in each.
Once we got back to their lot, I was pretty sure, based on my study of each of the different vehicles, that this was the right option for me. What had held me back was that the color as it showed online was kind of a robin’s egg blue (I didn’t like it) and the fact that it had a black interior. It turns out that, in person, the blue is much nicer and darker, and I had determined, by the number of vehicles I looked at, that black was a pretty popular interior color.
I took it for a quick test drive, more to make sure that I felt comfortable enough with it to drive back home than any other reason, and then we began the paperwork. This took a while, and the longer it took, the more hyper I became. Positive hyper, but still hyper. I just wanted to get it all done and drive it home and park it! With the 40-minute drive each way, the total time spent was just under 4 hours.
But she’s home and has been mine for 5 days. It’s a Chevrolet Equinox LT so it’s a little bit bigger than my PT Cruiser was. And the dash is full of buttons that I’ve been trying to learn with the help of the owner’s manual. I know the lights, the heat/air, the windshield wipers and the cruise control, and I’ve preset the radio stations. Since most of my trips are under 2 miles from home, I probably won’t use the radio anyhow, and for longer trips, I prefer listening to CDs.
Meanwhile, I’d contacted one of those “cash for cars” places to unload the Cruiser. I felt that, in good conscious, I was not willing to make a trade-in for a non-working vehicle. I’d gotten a price and asked to schedule a pick-up, but I wasn’t emotionally willing to let my beloved Cruiser go until I had other wheels. I’d mentioned this to the dealership owner and he’d asked what was offered for my Cruiser. He then offered me $147 MORE for her than the offer I had received! He has an employee who doesn’t own a car, and he lets that employee take different vehicles from the lot home every night. He seems to think he can get it fixed and that it can then become a “company car” for the dealership, meaning less mileage added to the vehicles he’s selling.
Of course, again, we had scheduling difficulties, and it took several days before we could stop cancelling pick-up and rescheduling for the next day (his problems, not mine), since I live a mile from where it’s parked and can again drive there!
Finally, title was signed over, check received. All of my paperwork is submitted to the state’s DOT for the new car. Insurance has been changed to this car (about double what I had been paying annually on a 2006 vehicle on which I didn’t carry comprehensive or collision because of the known value of the car). But God be willing, this will be the last vehicle purchase I make in my life, and all of the drama is behind me.
I got a little teary-eyed saying goodbye to my beloved Cruiser. She has served me so very well, and she’d made the trips to Florida to visit my dad before he passed away. But, knowing she wasn’t going to the vehicle graveyard but would continue to provide someone else with her service, I found it easier to let her go.
It’s been a bit of an emotional journey – stress of searching for a car, frustration at coordinating getting to see a car I was interested in (by the way, the one I bought is NOT the one I originally looked at online!), taking seemingly so long to get the paperwork done, moving monies around so that I could pay for the car upfront, lack of patience in trying to figure out the buttons, and saying goodbye to the Cruiser. But now, there is only one thing left. I need to decide if I want to call her by using a Ch____ name that goes with Chevy or an E____ name that goes with Equinox.
And yes, I’ve always named my cars! The Cruiser was actually named “Suri” which didn’t go with Chrysler nor Cruiser. However, her name was based on the actual name of the girl that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise created. She is Suri Cruise and my car was Suri Cruiser!
(Yes, I’m weird!)