Gorgeous has retired. The insane journey to acquiring a new vehicle after sixteen years, and a sweaty exercise in learning to trust – Part II

Heather SkompHow to Get What You Want in Life

So I need to finish up this story of getting my new vehicle so I can get on to other stories. Last time I left you, I was in another quandary, having realized that in order to get all my mechanical needs met in a new vehicle (meaning that it can jet around pulling an RV as heavy as I could ever want), I was not only going to have a buy a brand new one with financing, but also that it was most likely going to have to be a pickup truck. Argh! The two things I adamantly did NOT want! At least… so I thought.

With a heavy and trepidatious heart, I started looking at new trucks. I didn’t want a giant monster, but I couldn’t get anything too small either, since tow ratings on the smaller, and quite frankly, cuter (yes, yes, I am a girl, after all), trucks weren’t yet high enough. The smashing Toyota Tacoma, which I did really like, had just upped their weight rating to 6800lbs… still not enough, sadly. So I had to step out of my comfort zone and widen my horizons to the bigger trucks, like the Ford F150, the Toyota Tundra, and the Chevy Silverado, etc. No Chrysler/Dodge vehicles, remember. Ugh… I didn’t want this. I really wanted an SUV.

But why did I want an SUV so badly? I asked myself. Why was I so stuck on those?? Well, I’ll tell you why. I like that there is so much storage space in the back, while at the same time being much more rugged and cooler than a station wagon. Sometimes I carry a lot of stuff! Sometimes I haul tents and boxes and furniture and mulch and bags of rocks around. Why? Because I can. With a pickup truck, yes, you get that fantastic bed that allows you to haul refrigerators and mattresses and couches, but it’s all in the wide open air. It’s unsecured. That – I don’t like. I don’t like that I can’t use all that delicious space in the back of the truck, and still park at the mall for a couple of hours without worrying someone is going to steal all my amazingly valuable crap. Ick.

And I don’t know about you, but it’s not like I haul couches every day.

So how could I get myself unstuck from this rigid thinking? Well… I just had to be willing to allow other possibilities in. Crikes… that can be difficult. 😉

And then I had a brainwave – the Universe speaks! – I could put a cab on it. Ha! I never thought of that. Thank you, Universe, for the solution to my problem! Our lives would be so much easier if we just listened more often. 😉 I realized that if I added a cab to the back, I could have the same essential vehicle as an SUV, just as handsome, and just as rugged, and have a SUPER HIGH TOWING CAPACITY. All without totally breaking my budget. YAAAAAHHHH! Things were looking up!!

So now I started to get excited. FINALLY I could get on board with buying a truck. FINALLY I could move forward! Blisssssss…. Now I just had to get over having to get a loan, because with a brand new vehicle, that was starting to look non-negotiable. For the immediate future, I just threw that eventuality into the back of my mind and started looking.

My first port of call was to decide which truck I was going to buy. That didn’t take long. I established pretty quickly I was going to get a Ford F150. I’ve never owned a Chevy, and while I like the Toyotas, they were a bit pricier than I wanted to pay, and I’ve been a Ford/Mazda girl for my entire driving life. So that was a bit of a no-brainer once I got past my previous roadblocks.

Moving on! As you might already know, buying a car today is quite different than it was sixteen years ago – at least it was for me. Back then, you just went to a dealership nearby, checked out what they had available, and after fifteen minutes of test driving and four hours of negotiation and paperwork, you drove off in your jammin’ new car.

Yeah, that wasn’t my experience this time around.

Nowadays, we do all our searching on the interwebs. So naturally, that’s where I started. Actually, I started on the Ford website, and built my custom vehicle. Actually, I started at carsdirect.com, which led me to build my own vehicle, which led me to Ford.com because carsdirect.com was starting to annoy me with how little they knew about available options, and it was on Ford.com that I built my custom vehicle and discovered what price I was looking at.

And, it wasn’t that bad! I bet you were expecting me to say “Ack!!” Nope, I was very pleased to see that my budget would not be totally devastated from buying a brand new truck exactly the way I wanted it.

At least, that’s what I was thinking when I went into the action portion of this program. Up until now, it was all thinking, research and decision making. Now was the moment the rubber met the road (ha!), as I was going to – gulp – contact someone about moving forward in the buying process.

And as we ALL know, once you contact someone, there is no going back. You’re doomed.

salespeople

 

So, finally with eyes tightly shut, I clicked the “submit” button, knowing that once I sent my desired truck into the ethers, dealerships around the area would immediately descend upon me in their desperate need to “help” me. And, so they did.

Now, being naive, I assumed that if I told people exactly what kind of truck I wanted, and what options I wanted on it, I would magically get it. Ummmmm… not so much. My rational senses kicked in later when I realized that of course I couldn’t get a custom-ordered truck – duh. These things roll off the assembly line months and months prior to dealerships having them on their lots. I was going to get whatever was available dammit and hope that it matched what I wanted, at the price I was expecting.

What do you think happened?

Right. No one had my truck. Of course they didn’t. What were the odds that someone in Arizona was going to have exactly what I asked for, which was a brand new 2015 (yes, I know it’s 2016, but there are still quite a few new 2015 models out there waiting balefully to find good homes) Ford F150 XLT SuperCab, two doors, with a 3.5L Ecoboost engine, a max trailer tow package, equipment group 301A, with cloth seats and a front console, without any other optional crap, in blue jeans metallic paint? Hm? What were the odds?

Try zero.

So again I was tested with letting go, and trusting that the Universe knew better than me about what I wanted and how it was going to look. It became clear rather quickly that I was going to have to accept something else, but I had no idea what it would be. God, this was annoying.

The dealerships were calling me. On a Friday, I responded to one of them. The guy had a truck I was interested in, and I made arrangements to go see it the following day. However, this 24 hour delay gave me the opportunity to consult my trusty astrologer, to find out if this truck would be a good one for me to buy. You can roll your eyes all you want to, but her answer changed everything.

She told me that if I bought the truck, it would start out great, but that in a few months, things would probably start going wrong. I was flabbergasted… and very frustrated. Really? After all this time and all this work, it STILL wasn’t the right truck? It was brand new! What problems could I possibly start having?? She had to be kidding.

But alas, she wasn’t. I naturally argued with her for a while, but it was futile. She said it wasn’t a good bet, but it was still my choice. DAMMIT.

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So I made some excuse to the guy and didn’t go and buy that particular truck. Why take the risk? Surprisingly, he didn’t follow up – shame on him – but good for me. Sometimes, even when things seem silly, you just have to let the story play out.

The following day, another dealership contacted me, and the salesman said he had received my information and would be looking for a truck for me. Okay dude, I’ve heard that before. But he persisted, and within a few minutes he sent me data on a truck that might work. It wasn’t my dream truck, but I had given up on that possibility a while ago. I was open to looking at it. We made arrangements for me to go down there (it was over an hour away) the next Tuesday, and I marked my calendar.

Tuesday dawned sunny and calm, moderate temperature, skies full of blue, lawns full of flowers, heart full of suspicion. What was I in for? I hadn’t been to a car dealership in 16 years. Did I have the fortitude to fight them if they pushed a particular vehicle on me? Did I have the strength to tell them to bog off if they tried to give me a crappy deal? Would they try to sell me – cough – a van??? These were the thoughts that plagued me on the hour and a quarter drive down to Scottsdale. With no cell service and scratchy radio, there wasn’t much else to distract me.

I arrived on time, and my sales guy Dan was waiting for me outside the front door. He was a nice-looking dude with a non-aggressive demeanor, so ten points to him there right out of the gate. Actually, we got along very well from the start. He had the truck I was interested all ready to go, so it was only a matter of minutes before I was behind the wheel of a brand new Ford F150 taking my first test drive of the millennium. I have driven a large pickup truck before, so it wasn’t an entirely new experience (hey, I’ve driven giant Uhaul moving trucks across the country – this was nuthin), but it’s still quite different when you are driving something that could well become the car you spend the next twenty years with. You pay distinctly more attention.

So this truck was all right. In fact, it was pretty much everything I thought I wanted, except it was white. Now I’m not terribly particular about the color of a car, but there are some colors I tend to avoid. White is one of them; they’re damn near everywhere. Bo-ring. You can’t swing a Fendi purse in this country without knocking over five white vehicles. But I knew I wasn’t going to get my blue jeans color, so I figured white was as good as any. Except it wasn’t as good as silver. Or dark grey. But it was better than red. And it was for sure better than “Blue Flame” or “Caribou” or “Bronze Fire”. Seriously?

At any rate, it had the equipment I wanted, and it was in my price range, so now we were down to hammering out the nuts and bolts of pricing, interest rates and loan terms. We came to an agreement surprisingly quickly. Wow, this was going more easily than I would have thought! Whoo hoo!

So Dan went back to “talk to his manager”, after we agreed on all the important criteria. I patiently waited.

Except Dan didn’t come back. I was cautiously greeted by Ryan, who waved a sheaf of papers in front of me, and said that in spite of my stellar credit rating, in spite of the fact that my credit was so good they didn’t even need to verify my income, they couldn’t give me an interest rate better than 15% on the loan because of my previous, somewhat recent (three years), negative mark (1) on my credit report. So while the vehicle price and loan term remained the same, I would be required to give the bank (note: not the dealership) an extra $200 per month more than what we had agreed upon, just for being assholes.

Ummmmmm… no.

If I was going to give anyone an extra $200 a month for the next X years, it was going to be my mechanic to fix Gorgeous forevermore until I could save up cash to buy my next vehicle outright. Not a bank. Never a bank, because at least my mechanic would have earned the money. Banks earn nothing these days except reputations for financial rape. And they enjoy it!

flipping-off-bank

 

So that left me with about zero to work with. If that was the interest rate I was up against, there was no buying any car. Another dealership wasn’t going to give me a better rate, nor would choosing a less expensive (or used) vehicle get me a better rate. I simply couldn’t buy a car with a loan. Not under those circumstances. No way, no how. Non-negotiable.

When Dan eventually returned, I told him where we were at, that there was no way I was buying a vehicle that day. I thanked him for his effort, and told him that when I did have the cash, I would be sure to come back and ask for his help again, but that if this was the best I could expect, it probably wouldn’t be for another couple of years.

And I left. All those months of stress and work and decision-making, down the toilet. For the next few years, at least, while I continued to patch Gorgeous and pray I could haul the Beast around without mishap. Then I’d be back to it. Sigh.

At least, that’s what I thought, as my trusty Gorgeous whisked me back up the mountains towards home.

About twenty minutes into my drive back up the hill, I got a phone call. It was the dealership. Interesting! I knew they wouldn’t call me for something innocuous like “hey thanks for coming in, we’re sorry you left with nothing but despair over our crappy interest rate, but please refer us to your friends!”, so I answered. However, we got no further than the guy saying “hi, this is Tom Roberts from Scottsdale Autonation” before the call dropped. Like I said, cell service between Payson and Scottsdale is pretty lame.

But, I knew there was a reason he called. So I waited until I got back into reliable cell areas, and called back. Sure enough, he had something important to say.

“Hey Heather, I am so sorry about that interest rate debacle. I have NO idea what was going on there, but of course we can give you a reasonable rate. Your credit is great. I honestly can’t tell you what happened, but we can give you 4%. Can you work with that?”

Um… yes, I think I can.

“Would you be willing to come back today?”

Um… no. Dude, I’m an hour and a half out. It’s 5pm. I’m done today.

“How about tomorrow? We can get you into that white (ew) F150 you drove today. You’ll be driving it home tomorrow afternoon!”

Sure man.

How about that, huh. Amazing how things play out, when you just let them.

So I agreed to go back down to Scottsdale the following day at noon. We were on our way!

Oh but ladies and gents, it doesn’t end there.

And so I’ve written another 2700 words without getting to the end of the story. Part III next! And yes, it’s the last part. But the best! Stay tuned!

 

gorgeous-driving-down-mtn