15 July 2010

Yeah, it really is all that.

I'm back to blogging in the chair on my porch that no longer has a hornets nest above it. I have a clear view of the hummingbird feeders and they love to come out at dusk. I'm sprayed with OFF! and my chlorine-soaked hair is air-drying. I threw on some clothes from the laundry room floor when I got home from the pool. I'm not fancy.

The quest around here has been to find a good used car for Emily. Her dad and I will contribute about equally with what Emily is putting in. Her dream car? A 2003-04 blue Honda Civic EX coupe with a spoiler. Not that she's picky. As it turns out, older-model Honda Civics are very hard to find because they last so long that people hold onto them. We thought we found a good one at Heritage Honda in Westminster, which is about 45 miles away. We saw it last Saturday and I went back for it Monday morning so my mechanic could check it out. Turns out it had been in an accident and had some other issues that were undisclosed to us. They acted surprised when I showed them what was on my mechanic's print out. Of course they knew it had been in an accident. It seems like they should have to disclose it by law, just like you do with a house when you know something's wrong. I was nice. They didn't offer to negotiate, and I didn't feel like bothering. It was all quite civil. Oh, and I drove in a horrendous white-knuckle thunderstorm the entire way there. I drove in rush hour traffic on the way home. Wah. Last night I found two cars. One, a 2002 blue Camry LE on Craigslist and another, a silver 2000 Acura Integra LS from a place called The Park 'N Sell. Both were priced right, and the Acura was beautiful. The Carfax report was online and it was good. I called to ask a few questions, including if we could bring it to my mechanic, and told John we'd be there when they opened. We drove by the Camry and I thought it was great, but it wasn't what Emily wanted. Boo. We drove to The Park 'N Sell and there was the Acura. Sporty. Sweet. The paint was peeling a little around the side-view mirrors, but John told us he'd paint that or take $100 off. There were a few scratches on the bumpers, but normal for a 10-year old car. Emily and her dad took it for a test drive and were impressed. Next stop...my mechanic. We hung out at a nearby shopping center while waiting for the news. Dann, my mechanic, called and asked us to come in while it was on the lift. He's pretty thorough. He asked us if we saw the broken antenna. We hadn't and he told us they should definitely replace it or knock $150 off the price. He pointed out the dog smell and hair/dust, but that was OK. The car drifted left a little, but it could be the road, which is heavily used by trucks. The A/C had minimal cooling but Dann said it probably just needed recharging that would cost about $130. There was the beginning of some rust by one of the quarter panels and that concerned me. The rear tires passed inspection but would need to be replaced very soon. There was a nail in one of the front tires. There was some other stuff underneath that would need some work that wouldn't cost too much and would again be in line with what you'd expect in a 10-year old car. I really wanted Emily to want that Camry. We drove around the corner to the body shop that fixed my car when I had my accident last year. Johnson's Auto Body. The owner, Doug, is a great guy. He looked at the peeling paint by the mirrors. He said, have them take $100 off and I'll do it at no charge. He also said he'd fix the rust. He said they should definitely replace the antenna. I felt better after talking to him. Tony and I discussed it, and felt we should ask for about $400 off, mainly for the cost of replacing the tires and fixing the AC, plus have them replace the antenna. I was going to do the talking :) When we walked in, there was another worker at a shared desk. The first thing John said to us was, what did you do to the antenna. I told him that the first thing the mechanic pointed out to us was that the antenna was cracked and broken. We all sat down. I told him that we really liked the car. I told him that the antenna would need to be replaced by them. He said no. Just no. You could tell right away that he had his back up. He asked what the mechanic had to say. I started to say that the mechanic found some things wrong. He took the sheet out of my hand and said, dog hair? The other guy said, did he tell you all the things that were great instead of all the things that were wrong? Did he tell you how outstanding it was that the timing belt had been replaced? John said, what does this mean? He was looking at the paper from the mechanic. I thought he couldn't read Dann's handwriting. I started telling him. He said, this is not negotiable, and stood up. He said, I don't want to hear this. There's nothing to talk about. Tony said, you're kidding? You're not willing to negotiate at all? That's crazy. The other man said, this is private property and I'm telling you all to get out now. Tony again asked if he was kidding. He clearly was not. He told us to get out NOW. Tony said something about writing an Internet review of www.theparknsell.com and John said something to the effect of, they sell 70 cars a week and he wasn't scared. Tony and I walked out. Emily had a few choice things to say to them after we left. I can only imagine. We were stunned. It all happened so fast and with such venom on their part. Had The Park 'N Sell displayed a sign stating, "Absolutely no negotiation on any vehicle" we would have saved the $83 we payed to our mechanic and saved the hours invested in this car. We're not wheelers and dealers. We just wanted fair. The place bought this car at auction and I have no doubt they could have afforded lowering the price to make this deal. Rude doesn't begin to describe them. Emily was pissed and crushed. She loved the car. We thought she'd be driving it home.

I found a nice Nissan Altima SL on Craigslist when we got home. Tony and Emily were done with cars for the day so they went their separate ways and I went to check out the car, which was nearby. It was blue. It was in great shape. It had a V6 engine. It was too big for Emily and too powerful and doesn't get good gas mileage. I drove it. Nice. For someone else.

So, the car quest continues. We'll keep on paying Dann $83 to check out our finds. I hope it doesn't take too much longer.

I had a Rita's Ice for dinner, then went to the pool to swim my laps. 25 tonight. I have pain with swimming, but the gain outweighs it so far. I love my pool. I love to swim. Yeah. It's all that. It made up for the morning and afternoon.

Time to shower off the bug spray and chlorine. And I'm hungry.

11 comments:

KathyA said...

How bizarre! I wonder if their behavior was worth all the bad press this is going to get? They're protesting too much -- something else is wrong. Put it on Facebook.

Nephew Adam said...

Geez, what a bad businessman. Well, make sure to post the internet reviews!

Seth M. Ward said...

It's a good thing you didn't do business with that jerk. They are the reason why our society is the way it is. Pure greed.

Brad said...

Wow. I agree with Kathy - there must have been something more going on for this guy. He almost sounds paranoid about something - why so defensive?

Happyone :-) said...

Have you been to Carmax? We always go there and have never had a problem! It is truly a no hassle way to buy cars.

Summer said...

I'm going to add this guy to my list of people that need to be slapped.

Palm Springs Savant said...

I both hate and love car shopping. I just dont have the patience for it, but I am very particular. by the way, speaking of OFF, I tried that new clip on OFF and it works pretty well.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Wow, I'm so sorry you had such a terrible experience, but I'm really glad you're not buying a car from those jerks.

michiganme said...

What a jerk. Some of those places cater to customers with bad credit who consequently have no leverage to negotiate anything. Loser-man probably wasn't used to someone who had done their homework. What a bizarre over-reaction: ordering you off the premises because you dared point out problems with the car. Hmmmmm...

Leann said...

I hope you negative review the snot out of that guy.

beachgirl said...

You guys treated him nicely compared to how I would have been.
Lessons learned. I bought my youngest a used Saturn S100. Turned out to be the best money ever spent. Change the oil and dent free doors at college. He loved it and got no speeding tickets.

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