Adventures in car buying

We don’t have a new-to-us car today. I am at a complete loss as to explain why. Here is the ‘rest of the story.’

I mentioned before that we are on the hunt for a new-to-us car for the long-suffering wife. After several weeks we now know exactly what she wants. Maybe.

A newer version of her old Pontiac Grand Am. Of course there are two issues with this.

One: They discontinued that kind of car in 2005.

Two: Pontiac as a car maker is pffft as of last year.

This does not deter the LSW in the least.

The replacement for the Grand Am is the G6 – for “sixth generation” I am told. It looks pretty much (to me) like the GA.

So we now know what kind of car to seek. The rest: Silver, console shift, spoiler, low miles, not a rental, four doors (sedan) and a 2009 or 2010. Cloth seats. Under $15,000.

We found one in Bloomsburg at the Alexander Family dealerships. Bloomsburg is about an hours drive from the Rising Ranch.

This should do nicely, I thought. Price is $15,999. They should come down at least 1,000, right? Right? Heh.

A side note: I LOVE my wife. Really. For so many reasons. But she is resistant to change and has a very hard time with decision making. She comes by this honestly. Her father has not stepped foot off their property except for a trip to the doctors in 10 years. And he has everything he ever owned. I am serious.

But on WEDNESDAY (important) we talked to Dwayne, used car guy at Alexander Family Buick GMC 399 Central Rd. Bloomsburg, PA 17815. He allowed as how we should come on down. So we did.

SATURDAY. At nine am. I have to be on-line to work a 12 hour shift at 1pm. The clock is ticking. LSW does not like to make decisions. Especially not when she feels rushed.

Dwayne meets us and takes us over to the car. He had mentioned the service manager had been using it as a demo.

As we walked to it Dwayne started it up with the fob. Key-less starter he said. No shit, Sherlock. I suppose I was to be impressed, hillbilly that I am. Pffft.

LSW walks around the car. Doesn’t like the wheels. The antenna looks funny. The interior is black. But she will test drive it. A hopeful sign.

Now I am not saying that a $15,000 transaction is going to make or break the Alexander Family Buick GMC organization. I know I am small potatoes in the big scheme of things. But:

The freaking car was FILTHY. The Service manager has cats. Their hair was all over the BLACK seats. The outside of the car was road grimed. There were courtesy paper mats crumpled in the front. Crumbs from whatever the Service Manager had for lunch.

I would not complain except that this was a harbinger of the ridiculous treatment to come.

AND..don’t forget that they had since WEDNESDAY to clean it up. A little? Por favor?

We took it out with Dwayne in the back seat. Dwayne tired to chat me up. I had previously said not much. I continued this policy He needs to sell LSW.

LSW is not in LOVE with the car. But she thinks she can warm up to it. If we get it for a decent price.

So let the haggling commence. Here I take over. Dwayne disappears for a few minutes. They have Sirius XM on in the showroom. It’s playing “Walk on wild side.” by Lou Reed. Oddly enough a colored girl is the ONLY other customer. She leaves while we are waiting on Dwayne. Does not look like she bought a car.

Dwayne comes back with a white sheet of paper. Written on it in black magic marker is $17,800. Dwayne smiles and says that’s the price, tax title and tags included. He wonders how we will pay? Finance, he asks, hopefully? Trade in?

No. Cash. No trade. His face falls. Dealerships make money on finance. They SCREW you on trades.

I am nonplussed. I take Dwayne’s pen (he is VERY reluctant to give it to me.) and write:


Dwayne looks at it and says: “What’s that?” like I have presented him with a dead rat.

I said, “That’s my offer.”

Dwayne says “For that car?” Yes Dwayne. LSW points out that I meant to write $13,000. Heh. Little slip on my part.

Dwayne is pretending to be flustered. He makes noises about knowing they won’t take that but he will check with the “SALES MANAGER” to be sure.

I HATE this routine. If Dwayne is not the man to set the deal, then why are we wasting time talking to him? It’s always done this way and I find it stupid. And insulting. But I keep my mouth shut about this. Let them play their games. The clock is ticking, though. 12 hours looms ahead of me like a shadow on my grave.

We listen to “Suite Judy Blue eyes” by Crosby, Still and Nash on Sirus XM while Dwayne is gone. We are now completely alone in the showroom. If the radio was not on we could hear crickets. I am making a point here.

Dwayne comes back and he is beaming. He has the sheet of paper. It has $17,800 crossed out and now says $16,500.

“No.” is all I said.

Dwayne can’t understand. They dropped the price over $1,000! LSW points out that no, they raised it $500 from the advertised price of $15,999.

Tax and tags and stuff says Dwayne. Shows me a print-out from Kelly Blue book showing the car is worth $16,975.

I want to say “Does that include cat hair?” I want to say “Go sell it to them, then.”

I don’t say either of those things. I am proud of my mature reaction. I say nothing.

We get up to go.

“Well thanks for coming down.” he says. I am a bit surprised.That’s it?

“Wait just a minute,” he says. Aha! The SALES MANAGER will come. We will now Negotiate.

Sure enough he does come. I am lousy at names. His I don’t remember, but in my defense, the conversation was VERY short.

“Thanks for coming down.” he says. “Sorry we couldn’t make a deal.”

I ask why the price went UP from $15,999 to $16,500.

He says, laughing, “Well we have to pay the Governor.”

I said “Well it’s OK, you can pay him.”

I look around the empty showroom. Slowly. Exaggerate my movements. I could have been an actor but I wound up here.

“Not real busy here, is it?” My implication is clear, I think. Why are you turning down business?

He doesn’t like this. I can tell I have not made a friend. If there was a way I could care less I do not know how.

And that was that. No counter offer. No haggling. Buh Bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

We left. We don’t have a new-to-us car today. I am at a complete loss as to explain why.


The Rant D’Jour is about cheap stuff.

The long suffering wife and I visit the dollar store on occasion. It’s always a little adventure but…more


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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