I went to my local tri-county car dealership today. I was tired of my old car and I thought it was time for a trade. I pulled up on the lot amongst all the shiny new editions and looked around for something I might be interested in, then strolled around on foot for a bit, just cruisin’ and perusing. Finally I walked into the showroom and then into the glass front office of one of the salesmen and introduced myself. He welcomed me to the lot in a calm voice and offered a cup of coffee and help, * only if I needed it.*
“Thanks, I said, I was thinking that it’s about time to trade cars.” He smiled and punched an extension on his phone and in less than a snap, a young boy glided into view driving a pink golf cart. “Jimmy here, will show you all of our automobiles for sale, just climb aboard.”
As Jimmy and I glided silently through the new cars. I noticed that each one was marked $100.00 over factory invoice and each had a photocopy of that particular car’s factory invoice pasted on the driver’s side window for any customer to see. “Wow! I thought, these poor guys are only making a hundred bucks per car on sales!” I figured they must be in desperate straits to sell new cars, I also figured I could help them out. I soon found just the new car I had been looking for and Jimmy fetched the keys. I took it for a test ride. The new car smell was intoxicating… I was thrilled.
After the test drive I was taken back to the dealership office in the pink golf cart, were I talked to the person in charge of finance. He said,
"Mr. aha, we are so grateful for your business that today, we are tagging your new vehicle for free.” Well, I was flabbergasted. I replied, “Gee wow thanks! And then looking at the floor I timidly muttered, “but I need to finance, what kind of rate can you give me and what will you give me for my old car?” To which he replied, “Not to worry! 2.8% finance charge on all new sales, Mr. aha and we will give you $500.00 above bluebook price for your old car, a five year/50,000 mile warranty a free oil change plus a tank of gas and we will take care of the repairs on your old car.
Needless to say I was ecstatic. As it figured, the payments on my new auto came out to $280.00 per month, well within my budget. After having my new car prepped, I dropped in behind the wheel and purred out of the dealership on a cushion of air.
What really happened:
I let my son borrowed my car to work a shitty little census job out of county. He broke down in the thing and it cost me $200.00 to have it towed, plus it needed a new alternator. $300.00 (plus labor) and a new battery $50 and it needed tagging, which in the state of Oklahoma cost another $200.00 even though the car is a 94. So I started the day at $750.00 in the hole. I was over the proverbial barrel.
Desperate, I figured it was time to attempt a trade. So I went to my local car lot (the one in charge of fixing my old car.) The salesmen were like sharks, smelling blood and circling their victim as I entered the dealership. Finally, as if by a secret signal there was only one of them. He showed me all the new cars, which were priced right around what someone might give for a new home. Sticker shock slowly crept in, as I soon discovered that the lowest priced new car available was in the neighborhood of $20.000. It was either that or an aluminum metro or some such comparable piece of shit. Realizing that I was in deep waters and way in over my head, I acquiesced to the smooth talk of the salesman and chose a program car. It had 26000 miles and only one year warranty left on it, but I figured what the hell…it was hot out on the concrete and I was sick of walking and looking. Besides I knew in my heart that all car lots are the same.
I got to the finance office only to find that my loan rate was 9.5% plus they were giving me only two thirds of the bluebook price for my car. I had my tag figured in which brought my payments to $420.00 a month. Just a bit more than I could afford. But it was either that or pony up $750.00 cash for repairs and keep making the $400.00 a month payments on the old one.
So, instead, I just bent over and said with a smile, and my best southern drawl,
“Put her in right there boys”
One of the few to be personally welcomed to this board by Ed Zotti.