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It Felt Right – Car Shopping Part 2

January 5, 2008

 So I got up this morning excited and ready to go. Kelly and I had gotten home late from the Folk Music Night at Mackenzie Hall (which was great by they way) and I should have probably been tired. But at 8am when the alarm when off I was already awake and thinking about where to go and what to ask.

I made myself some breakfast while Kelly ate her oatmeal and reviewed some materials I had brought from the office for her to research. The plan was coming together; this would be a great day of car shopping. Dozens of potentials to look at, several test drives, hundreds of questions. Fuel economy, crash test ratings, interest rates, incentives; numbers danced in my head like sugar plums should have last week. I suppose this is what hunters feel like, or explorers. Ok maybe not. But I was pretty excited nonetheless.

Finally, around noon (ok so we took our time a bit) we left for the first dealership. Honda was our first choice. The Honda Fit our target.

From the moment we drove up, it felt wrong. First off, the handicap parking spot in front of the dealership had a large mound of snow in it. This pissed off Kelly far more than it bothered me. She asked me if it would be silly of her to walk away right now because of it. Much as I admired her principles, I was way too excited about the hunt. In we went. Mistake. It was torture. We circled the Fit in the showroom for quite some time and finally had to go ask someone to help us. “please sir, would you like to try to sell us a car” is what it felt like. I was not impressed. When we finally were able to get a test drive, the guy informed Kelly that he would have to stop for gas first.  While they were gone I wandered around the showroom. Stale coffee, old newspapers in the waiting area, a dirty rag on the back of one of the chairs, just not the look I expected from Honda. When they came back and we tried to talk numbers, it was like pulling teeth with this guy. He was slightly hard of hearing for one thing which does not work well as I am a low talker. And for whatever reason he did not use the computer on his desk. Everything was done with pen and paper and charts he had scribbled on loose papers all over his work area, which he had to riffle through every time we asked a question. He finally left us alone for what seemed like 15 minutes so he could “get some numbers from his boss” He came back with more scribbles with a lease rate that was not very good. When I asked to compare that with purchasing, he calculated it using the interest rate of 4.9 % even though the actual rate was 4.5%.  He didn’t have 4.5% on his little paper chart you see, but “just knock off a little bit, that’s ballpark what your payment would be.” Yeah. Ok. Sure buddy.

So we shook his hand and left. Kelly was completely drained and feeling like she didn’t even want to look for a car anymore. She wanted to go home. We stopped for coffee, and I asked if we could stop by the Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge dealership to see my salesman. She didn’t really want to, but she knew how excited I was about this day and reluctantly agreed.

I knew Kevin would at least show her what it’s supposed to be like. He has a computer. And a personality. And he uses them both!! 

But when we got there, Kevin had already gone home for the day. I was a bit bummed because I am a Dodge boy. I know that Kelly is not, but with my fathers discounts (he is a Chrysler retiree) plus all the incentives, I was sure the deal would be great.

We walked out and I was thinking maybe we could head to Toyota. But Kelly looked up and saw the Volkswagen dealership right next door. “Let’s go there” she said actually sounding kind of enthused. So we simply walked over.

Wow. What a difference. A friendly guy opened the door for us. “Can I help you with anything?” he asked “We’re shopping for a car” I said, realizing it was a stupid thing to say too late to stop myself.  “Well, that’s perfect, we have lots of those!” he said with a smile. 

The rest of the experience with Volkswagen was much same as this first interaction. It was fun. Lots of fun. While Kelly went for the test drive, I did my roaming around. Impeccably clean showroom, friendly staff, and a very tight run ship. I noticed a couple walking up to a car in the lot outside. They had not been there even a minute, when I heard the manager on the PA system. “Code 30 front lot”. Within 20 seconds a salesperson was out there greeting that couple and offering them assistance.

Kelly came back from the test drive very pleased. We sat with the salesman and discussed various options. He clicked away on the computer and had all the answers and calculations on the screen in seconds. It felt right. Very right. And within an hour, Kelly was the proud owner of a brand new 2008 Volkswagen Golf.


8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2008 2:53 am

    I am very happy for you, Kelly! I know it is hard, Sylvain, but I have a feeling this thing is going to work out…one way or another. It will be interesting to see how. You two have something special, and I think that your future will be together, but it is so great that you are unselfish enough to care about her needs before what you want. That’s a good thing. Real good. Peace and blessings, O xxoo

  2. January 6, 2008 7:57 pm

    I hope you got a good deal on the car. Fred is an expert car buyer…my son sells cars in Oregon. When Fred explained how he talks the dealer UP from the manufaturers price my son turned pale and said “We hate customers like you.” Meaning Fred knew too much. Consumer Report does a page on how to buy a car that really helps. We wind up paying no more than $100-300 more than the dealer paid for the car. And we refuse all extras. We don’t even look at or consider the price they are offering. We always go to three dealerships for the same car (we decide before we go which car we want), always test drive at each place to use up THEIR time, and we are patient while they play their game of “I have to talk to my boss about the numbers.” We finally get the boss and tell him OUR numbers refusing to go up a nickel, and last time, we got my CRV at the second dealership and topped the first dealer by many hundred dollars less than offered there. Save these notes for your next car! 😉

    Enjoy your new wheels Kelly.

  3. January 6, 2008 10:23 pm


  4. January 9, 2008 12:54 pm

    That’s what I want, too. And black! My mother-in-law had her ’85 VW Golf until she died in 2002. Her youngest son still drives it.

  5. January 9, 2008 5:57 pm

    Sylvain–I’d love to have you join in on the 52 Books blog–Lynn’s already in, and I’ve invited Kelly–I’d love for you to share your reading recommendations, too!

  6. Mary permalink
    January 11, 2008 10:51 pm

    Yippe! New car! I’ve got 70K miles on a VW Passat and love that car as much as the day I bought it. I’ve got high hopes of driving it well over 100K, which is when my past vehicles were retired. Thanks for including the photo of Kelly and her car – it’s a real beaut!

    I’m also wanting to reach out and give you a hug for holding Kelly gently enough that she feels free to take care of herself. My beau is like that with me. I’ve now spent 20 minutes staring at the screen and trying to put in words what that means to me. Other than the fact that I’m more myself in this relationship than any previously and more contented than I remember in years. Best wishes to you!

  7. January 17, 2008 12:05 am

    Are you ever going to blog again? Missing your words.


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