I took a deep breath before exiting my car, preparing myself to enter enemy territory. Not that anyone was going to overtly attack me at a car dealership, but I could not be certain which sort of salesman would appear to show me cars. I was fortunate. The man was quite nice and not particularly pushy. We had pleasant conversations as I test drove three types of vehicles. In the end I found myself leaning toward the smallest option, the Mazda 5, which felt like driving a car rather than piloting a tank. It is short on cargo space when full of people, but my need for people hauling space is going to be reduced in the coming years. Compactness and good mileage appeal to me. Howard drove one for a week while we were in Chattanooga and was very impressed.
As I was taking a last look before departing, the sales manager arrived and I realized that I might have been subjected to good cop, bad cop. He was in full hustle mode, trying to convince me that I want to sell my old car to him, or through him to the people who want to buy it. It would save me money, he said, while not costing them an extra penny. It sounded like an extra hassle to me, because I already have a probable buyer for my old car. They are nice people and I see no need to inflict Mr. Hustle on them. If I end up buying a car through that dealership, I hope to work with the first guy and not Mr. Hustle.
I came home and cleaned out my van. It is strange to picture myself driving a different vehicle. I’ve had this one for almost twelve years. It has been good, but it is aging and our needs are different than they used to be. I no longer need the built in child seat nor quite as much hauling capacity. Later in the afternoon the potential buyers came to look at the van. I detailed its flaws and the recent maintenance that we’ve done. Mostly though I stepped back and let them discover its features, watching them as they pictured their family inside it. This van I’ve been fond of may have a chance to be a vital part of a different family’s life. I think it is time to put it into new hands.
Early next week I need to speak with our accountant to figure out the best way to arrange the finances for the purchase of a different vehicle. There are dozens of options, just as there are dozens of car buying philosophies. This is a good thing because everyone has different financial situations and emotional needs when approaching a large purchase. Some people need to feel like they got the best bargain possible. Others just want a particular set of features no matter the price. Some people love to haggle, research, and ponder for a long time. Others decide very quickly. Some people like to buy from a dealership and get a warranty. Others prefer to buy used direct from owners. There is no choice that is right for everyone. Next week I get to do the math and pick what is right for us.