Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Negotiator

Since we have been married, we have purchased 4 vehicles. Only one was used. It was a pick-up truck that I negotiated a return policy on, just in case it didn't check out with my mechanic. I took it to him, he didn't like what he saw and back it went. I think the salesman was in shock when I actually brought it back. But I did. The other three cars we have purchased were all new.

Tom can't negotiate. It's just not in him. He can't handle the back and forth, the bantering. He can't stand the give and take. He wants to know what they want, and what we can pay. Bottom line. I like to haggle. There is a reason I went to law school and he didn't.

When we bought the first of the three cars, a Daewoo of all things, I negotiated a really good deal on it. It had been sold to another person that the financing fell through on - after they had driven it off the lot. The car was returned the next morning, then put back on the sales floor. I checked the mileage on it, and it was higher than it should have been for a *new* car. They told me what had happened, and I told them that the car was no longer *new* and couldn't be sold as such. They knew I was right and fudged the price quite a bit. Plus we got the alarm for free since it was already installed.

The second car was the Ford Escape. Tom, for whatever reason, had already decided that he really, really wanted one. We had gone to the Auto Show earlier in the year and had looked at every small SUV on the market - this was the only one that he liked. Walking into a dealership being set on a car isn't a good thing. There was a commercial out at the time that was just like him. Guy walks in and says, "I want this car, I will take this car". That's Tom. No negotiating abilities at all. He wasn't allowed to talk that day. I took care of it. Got a free alarm and a great interest rate, plus more for our trade-in than they wanted to give us.

The van was the last car we bought, a reluctant necessity when I was pregnant with Ally. We just needed something bigger. This time it was me that decided. I wanted the Honda, since it had the best safety rating. We should have bought something cheaper, for sure. The day we bought the Honda, we had already looked at other vans. We lucked out and went on a very slow night, towards the end of their sales period. Got a free alarm this time too, and an insanely low interest rate. But there was only so much I could negotiate. It still cost a fortune.

Tom hates to buy cars. He likes to test drive them, but he hates the rest of it. He hates feeling pressured. He can't stand haggling. He doesn't like signing papers for major purchases, and has never once driven a new car off the lot. Hopefully for him it will be a while before we need to do it again. We plan to drive these cars until they die.

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