Last Friday, I get the dreaded call from the mechanic. You know the one.
He reads me the laundry list* of problems and his voice gets kind of soft and implies that, given the car's advanced age and how much mileage is on it, maybe it's time to... give the car away... maybe to someone in the country... where it can run around on a farm and be happy.
It is a very sad time but I am, ultimately, a realist and I can not be without a viable car. And, by all reports, this is a great time to purchase a car.
At the first dealership, the salesman says "In a month, 50% of these cars will be gone and in two months they'll likely all be gone because we're really busy."
I take this opportunity to pointedly look around the empty showroom and take in the other salesmen who are clumped together talking about sports.
At the second dealership, I have this exchange with the manager:
Manager: What did you think of it?
Me: It's a fine car.
Manager: It is! And at a competitive price.
Me: It's more than I was planning to spend. I expect there's some flexibility in the price...
Manager: I... might be able to come down $100.
Manager: If you're ready to sign.
Exsqueeze me? Have you read the papers? Heard about the economic downturn, by any chance? Run across some news stories about the automobile industry crisis?
$100? I spit on your $100.
At the third dealership, I find what I want and get it at a better price than even I anticipated. Because EVERYthing is negotiable. EVERY flippin' thing.
* Why is it called a "laundry list"? My laundry list would consist of whites, darks, and delicates. Not a long list at all. And, as long as we're talking about laundry, why is 90% of women's clothing labeled either "hand wash" or "dry clean"?**
** Confession: I eventually put almost every piece of clothing labeled "hand wash" in the washing machine on "delicate". You know what happens? The clothes get clean. But I digress.