Friday, November 21, 2014

Shopping

I absolutely hate shopping. Well, I lie, I hate shops and dealing with sales people. That is why I love shopping online.

Most of all, I hate buying a car. Don't get me wrong, I love cars, I love new cars as is obvious by the number I have owned! But my experience buying them has been varied. Perhaps it is not so much buying the car, as trading in the old one.

I bought three cars in Ireland. all used and in each case I had no trade in. The first I bought from my sister - not an issue. The second was a used Fiat 128 from a dealership, It turned out to be a very reliable car and I drove it to a standstill. It ended it's life as a 'green' house - that is a planter behind our back yard. I grew bell peppers inside and other items out of the trunk of that car and they were amazing. The only other car I bought in Ireland was a used Volvo, who can go wrong with a Volvo? It was a great car. I sold that car to a friend and my only mode of transport for a number of years was a motorbike.

However, when I came to the US and settled in Texas, I discovered that a car was not a luxury, it was absolutely essential if you wanted to work and I did. But I hit that chicken and egg situation. You can't get credit without a credit history, but if you never got credit you don't have a credit history. I was lucky, I had someone who was prepared to go guarantor for me. I picked out a beautiful cherry red Ford Ranger Pickup Truck. I told the salesman that I would be financing it but that I had a guarantor because I had no credit history. He insisted that I should be the second on the loan and my guarantor should be first.  Not only did I not buy his truck, I lost my guarantor who got frightened off by this idea. I do not blame her either.

So I continued to search. I may have mentioned my amazing friend Paul Neumann - I know I have mentioned him in my book Peeling The Onion, well, he introduced me to a Mitsubishi dealership and there I found Debrae. She found me the perfect car, but more important, she bulldozed the finance department in the dealership and secured me the much needed financing - not only did I get my car, I also started building my credit.

I traded that car in, again with Debrae, so I was treated well, and moved up from a program car with 6K miles, to the same model, brand new but had been sitting on the lot for a year, so I got a good deal. It was my first time trading in a car, so I didn't know that I could have negotiated, but I was satisfied with the deal.

Two years later I was ready to move up from a Mitsubishi Mirage to my dream Mustang. Of course I wanted a Cobra, but I was realistic and knew that I would have to delay that dream. I upgraded my Mirage for a Mustang with a very tepid sales experience. Three years later and another Mustang, this time my husband closed the deal. When the time came to trade in for another Mustang, working my way up to the Cobra, the dream dissolved. This purchase was memorable in that it was a nightmare ordeal. Looking back on it I have no idea why I actually bought the car. If it were today, I know I would walk out and go elsewhere. Back then I still had not got a good grasp of how capitalism works, and to this day, I can't haggle - I am not sure why I did this one on my own. I swore that after that my husband would take care of the car purchasing.

I spent what seemed like hours while the salesman ran back and forth between me and some back office, arguing the trade in price. They claimed the car had been repainted due to an accident. I told them not only was it repainted due to a recall on the paint, but their own service department had done the respray job. I did end up buying the car and regret it just because I know I should have walked out. The salesman gave me a bottle of Irish Whisky when the deal closed, but I just felt like hitting him over the head with it. I didn't. But I did learn a valuable lesson. I will never be treated like that again. I will walk out and not go back.

So I will never have my Cobra because I will never go near another Ford Dealership. And now that I have found Joe Ward in the Lexus Dealership in Austin, I no longer care about giving up my dream. I recently purchased my third Lexus from Joe and I have got to tell you it was not just a painless experience, it was fun. There was no pressure, on each occasion I feel we got a very reasonable trade in for the old car and did love my Lexus IS 250s, But this time I got a truly beautiful car, and ES 300 Hybrid! I am so delighted that I finally have a Hybrid - oh and I also got a lovely bottle of Cabernet :) - I like Irish Whisky - but I love red wine! This is going to be the last car I buy, Those words sound sort of familiar - I do believe I said that before, a few times.