May 31st, 2004

abstract butterfly

My life as a perpetual automobile customer

I shop decisively. "I'll take this shirt, and this tie". "Click BUY to purchase this CD". Very quick, very easy, little emotion, no drama. I tend not to whine or get angry, but instead will politely leave a place that does not keeps its promises or stock a key item. I know what I want, and I know how to get it. I rarely browse, other than on eBay, and I rarely shop for the sheer thrill of shopping. I am motivated by price and quality, and I don't usually want my hand held or persuasion applied.

Today my wife and I spent all afternoon at car dealerships. I did a lot of research before we went. We went to test drive and compare only, and not to buy. I never worry about what Hell is like. It's a lot like a car dealership. "Excuse me, sir, but could you wait here? Satan says he wants to meet you before you leave".

By and large, almost everyone we met acted in a nice and professional way. Car sales have improved mightily in the twenty some odd years of my adulthood. But at one dealership, they had the full "tag team" approach to car sales. We met with no less than four people in this busy dealership, which did not even offer us a soda while they consumed a great deal of our afternoon. I did not complain or moan to them, though. I just decided, after sober reflection, I will never darken their doors again.

But now I see what cars look like, price and quality-wise. It's a very good time to buy a car, although only Scion's curious 3/4 of a van box satisfied my "secret would-be Pacer or Gremlin owner" urges. I merely need to decide "new" or "used", use the 'net for pricing assistance and vehicle location, and then cut my best deal. But my goodness! The patent bar examination is less taxing, and at least it's open book. But kudos to the folks at the local Ford place. They learne a simple secret to life--act as though you want someone's business, and don't talk double talk and jargon. I don't know if I'll buy a Ford, but I respect good business when I encounter it. Because today was fact gathering, I assiduously abstained from haggling. But it reminded me that haggling is part of the process.

The day did rather make me want to go to Mexico, and spend my days bargaining for
folk art in the open mercado, though. Ah, the "thrill" of the haggle. That's a nifty consolation prize, isn't it? I like to let my vendor make too large a profit, but not a fully exorbitant profit, but is that a sin? I think not. Besides, what colorful dialogue! "May I have the pinata with parrot in the lucha mask, please?" or "I would very much like the painted turtles, please. Would you take a dollar?".

If you see me driving a 1984 Oldsmobile Omega and heading south, you'll know that I am in the middle of hunting a bargain, have eBayed up the cheapest car I could find, and you should look for me in Saltillo, near the catedral.