Friday, December 22, 2006

driving to recovery

We went today to pick up our new car. Naturally it was raining and Mary didn't want to pick up a nice shiny clean vriginal car in a rainstorm. She apparently forgets that the car will eventually be driven in all manner of weather and will suffer the indignities of all cars that actually get used. Saner heads (mine) prevailed in the end.

We arrived at the Honda dealer in a driving rain and, trying to squeeze berween the raindrops, scampered into the building. We were greeted by the salesman who sold us the vehicle. He had come in to work today specifically to be there for us when we came to get the car, even though today was his day off. We thought that was a nice gesture on his part. We had actually enjoyed working with him the other day, so seeing him again was a pleasant surprise. Luckily we did not encounter Frank, the Sales Manager, I described with some not-so-nice, but oh-so-true, observations in Wednesday's post, so the day was already a qualified success. Gary, our salesman, had gotten the ball rolling, getting all the paperwork, license plates, and all the other paraphenalia associated with new car buying, in order. Still it took nearly an hour to sign a few papers and look the car over before we were able to take it home.

My question through all this is why does it take so long to buy a car? Why is it so damned complicated? Why can't you just go in to the dealership, point at a car, and say, " I'll take that one, here's my check, thank you, goodbye." It doesn't really need to be more stressful than walking into the butcher shop, pointing at a choice steak and saying, "I'll take that one, here's my check, thank you, goodbye." But, somewhere along the way, a series of traditions has been put into play that requires a lot of dancing around between buyer and seller. A lot of wasted time results. Having gone through this song and dance a few times now, I still haven't found the way to cut the process short and avoid all the wasted energy. Even having Mary's intimidating presence doesn't seem to help. Her negotiating skills seem to have little effect on the getting-out-the-door process.

We did eventually manage to escape in the new Accord, having bought our way out with an exorbitant amount of money. The rain abated just long enough for the drive home. I had the privilege of taking the first drive in the car--Mary was reluctant to drive it in case the rain started again, so she drove my truck home while I luxuriated in the new car smell. I made sure to touch every knob, button, and handle in the car so I could claim to have been its first. (I don't get too many virgins of any kind at this stage of my life, so I'll take advantage of any obvious opportunity). That will most likely be the last time I get to drive it, since it is essentially Mary's car and she is notoriously protective of her vehicles.

Her new baby is now safely bedded down in the garage. It might not see daylight again until Spring, and then only on sunny days. Mary will shanghai my truck on days that look even a little questionable as far as the weather goes--which, in Wisconsin, is to say everyday except the third Tuesday of months ending in the letter X. She will drive my truck to work, leaving me stranded with instructions to stay away from the still shiny (but less virginal) machine in the garage. But I'm ok with that. If it makes her happy, then I get to be happy too. Still, I might just sneak out to pat it on the rearend once in awhile just to let it know that I know it's still there, and that someday we will get much better acquainted.

With the new car to replace the accident wrecked one, we have taken one more step on the road to recovery. Hopefully there will be few more steps to take. We're getting there.


The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

How funny! There is a way to avoid all the tradtions. Buy the car on line. After we were hit in a small car by a drunk driver almost four years ago, my Dad and brother decided I needed a safer, larger vehicle. They decided on a subaru forrester, did all the negeotiating via email and told me when the car was ready. My Dad drove me to the dealership. I sgned my name, turned over my check and drove home - 15 minutes later!
Christmas blessings to you and yours!

Kat Campbell said...

I just love the way you look at things Bob! The only thing more complicated than buying a car is renting one...jeesh!
Merry Christmas to you and your family! Will your daughter be coming home?

Badaunt said...

Merry Christmas! (Just two hours to go here...)

I'm so glad both of you are fine, and that you have your (Mary's) new car safely tucked up in its new home.

And I LOVE your Christmas decorations!

BobCiz said...

Thanks for the Christmas wishes, everyone.

Kate, I know we probably could have saved some time and effort buying online, but that would require us to actually trust the concept of e-commerce, a notion that hasn't quite been embedded in our sceptical older brains just yet. Maybe next time.

Kat, unfortunately Carrie will not make it home for Christmas. Too expensive to fly and she doesn't want to leave Jerry alone on the holiday. We will miss her, of course, but the telephone will be heated up and likely overworked.