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Posts Tagged ‘haggle’

On a Tuesday morning, I nervously picked up my phone to schedule a test drive of a 2003 Dodge Neon.  It just so happens that our first snowstorm of the season blew in that day.  We agreed to meet at a gas station between our two houses, since it would be after sundown and they have good lights.  I got my dad and my brother to go with me.  (I’m the research end, and the transaction I handle on my own, but I really don’t know much about cars or what to look for on a test drive.  Plus, with a big decision like this, I want at least another opinion on whether the car is good or not.)

 

We had an adventure.  First, I had the wrong intersection for the gas station.  Next, the gas station had changed brands, but we were pretty sure we were in the right place.  We parked and got out, looking for the car.  But he wasn’t there yet.  The snow was falling hard.  Also in the gas station parking lot were three police cars and one police SUV.  While we were waiting, a fire truck and ambulance arrived, lights flashing.  The police then put a man, hands cuffed behind his back, into the back seat of one of the cars.  A woman a few pumps over stood clapping her hands.  I huddled against the front of the quick stop.  Then the EMT’s put another man in a neck collar, and laid him on a stretcher to put him in their ambulance.  We can only speculate a fight broke out and one man assaulted another.  I don’t know why.

 

My family and I looked awfully suspicious standing there watching the whole scene, outside, puffing warm breath on our cold hands.  We were still waiting for the Dodge owner to come when a tow-truck came in to take away the offender’s vehicle.

 

Finally, the Dodge Neon arrived and we began our inspection.  There were no bells or whistles, not even power locks.  But the car was clean, with only 79,000 miles on it.  He wanted $3800, which according to my research was pretty close to appraisal value.  There’s a fine balance to reach between new cars and old.  The newer ones have a lot of computerized things that cause weird problems mechanics don’t understand.  But they also have less parts likely to wear out soon.  (Even if I replaced the engine on my Saturn, it’s quite likely something else will go out and cost more expensive repairs.)  When I drove the Neon, it handled ok, in the snow, but actually seemed to weave a bit.  Plus my brother said the tires were wearing out.  So I mentally added the price of tires to the sale price.  I like power locks.  Power windows I don’t like all that much; Mom says manual windows are safer (and cause less problems if the motors or electrical system in the door go haywire).  Still, the car was clean and relatively new.

 

I asked the owner if I could take it to my mechanic the next morning.  He said as long as he was there, too, that would be fine.  I could text him with the address and he would meet me there.  But that night I asked my dad, who said that the car wasn’t that impressive.  Plus I did the appraisal again, knowing the car was only the base model, and found out the car is actually worth about $600 less than what the owner was asking.  So instead of texting him an address, I texted him that I declined.  He responded that I could have haggled, but offering someone $600 less than asking price is a little more confrontation than I was looking for.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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