The Used Car Deal
My daughter needed a car. I hate, detest, despise,
buying cars and haggling over prices The sleazy salesmen always
wear me down and talk me into buying an overpriced car regardless
of whether the payments are affordable or not.
But the fact was, my daughter needed a car. I, of course, am the
one with a down payment and good credit, so I had to become a part
of this unsavory deal. I delayed the inevitable as long as
possible with excuses, such as, "Itís too cold to look for
a car today." or "You can make it just one more week,
My daughter didnít take the hint. She began to suggest places we
might look. A brand new car was out of the question unless we
stopped by the hospital and got a transfusion for my purse on the
way. So, we "compromised". We decided to buy a former
rental car, only a year old, all the extras included, and best of
all NO haggling - the price is the price!
It seemed simple enough. Find a car you can afford. Buy the car. Unfortunately, the only place we could find selling previously
rented cars was on the other side of the world. After driving for an hour,
passing it twice unbeknown, we finally had to call for directions. Big
mistake. They knew we were coming. Gerald was waiting for us outside when we
"Are you the folks that called," he asked, rubbing his
hands together with drool practically foaming out of his mouth. We had to admit that
we were. "Letís discuss your needs," he suggested. What he
meant was, "Letís discuss your financial abilities."
He went into a prerecorded barrage about how they price their cars
at giveaway prices, wholesale out the dogs, and keep only the best of
the fleet for their sales lot. "We want to make your car
buying experience as pleasant as possible," he said, as if
there was any way to sign away half your assets and have it feel
My daughter went into the particular model and features she was
looking for. I interrupted, "Something economical," I
said. Gerald got my drift.
"I have several that are just what you want," he purred.
"Letís go out to the lot and look around. He led us straight to a sporty little
gold number. My daughterís heart jumped out of her jacket as she totally
forgot about what she used to want. Dollar signs flashed in Geraldís eyes. We
looked around the lot as Gerald explained the features of other cars that
were available, but my daughterís eyeballs remained fixated on the
Finally, we made the enormously difficult decision of buying the
first thing we saw. Back to the office we went to fill out the paper work and
see how anemic my purse was going to be for the next five years or
until my daughter finds a job, whichever comes first.
"I donít think I came very prepared," I said, looking
at the application, which asked about home ownership, loan balances, and monthly
mortgage payments. Good grief, I thought was buying a car, not a
condo. "All we need is where you work and your salary,"
Gerald said. "Donít worry about the rest of that
He whisked the paper out from under my pen and sped to the back
room, where I presume the credit bureau was being contacted. He
returned after a time with a smile like a cat that has been dating
the canary. "You have great credit!" The pupils of his
eyes flashed digital numbers as he calculated the commission in
The payments were only about half of what I expected, but I
didnít flinch a freckle. My daughter was outside in the
driverís seat blowing the horn. We completed the deal without
bloodshed, though it was close when he was talking me into buying
the extended warranty for a mere $20 per month extra.
Finally, we drove out of the parking lot, proud owners of a
sporty, pre-owned, golden chariot, complete with full gas tank,
certificate for emissions check, and promise of an extra set of keys. In the rear
view mirror, I saw Gerald out on the used car lot standing by a silver
car and grinning at a new customer like an alligator who has cornered a