Negotiating 101

Hubbs and I bought a new car this weekend: A silver 2005 Toyota Camry. Now why did we need a new car?

  1. My Ponny-wreck had more than 230,000 miles on it and the inside was thrashed — as in the door panels were virtually nonexistent;
  2. The trunk leaks, which mean that not only can you NOT keep anything in it, but each spring, MOLD grows and stinks up the entire car and honestly — its a safety hazard;
  3. The rear bumper, despite being re-bolted an ungodly number of times, continued to try to fall off the car. It had permanent plumber’s crack; 
  4. The one week the Monkey had to ride in it, he would SHRIEK every time we got inside, probably because he thought he was being swallowed by a cave;
  5. It was a coupe; and
  6. Have you ever tried getting a child in and out of the deep backseat of a coupe? How about two? ENOUGH SAID. I’ve already thrown my back out once getting the Monkey in and out of that back seat and that was more than enough for me.

But probably the biggest reason for the new car was that our day care provider said she can’t keep the Monkey until 6 p.m. anymore — she needs us to pick him up at 5:30. And we completely understand. She was only keeping him until 6 as a favor to us. And she’s tired. So no worries.

But it means adjusting. It means that the Ponny-wreck — which is being held together by a wing, a prayer, some bubble gum and whole lot of duct tape — would go from being used once a week to five days a week. And the Hubbs? He was not happy about this. Because it would mean that I would be driving the death trap to and from BART. (No more being chauffeured by the Hubbs!) And I’m pregnant. And we were expecting it to die on the side of the road at any time. And the car shudders when you turn left. And he REALLY wasn’t comfortable with me driving it. At all.

We had been talking about buying a new car for awhile. But once the day care situation changed, we doubled our budget from $4k to $8k. And then raised it to $10k. That’s called spiraling. Because oh, for ONLY $1,500 more we can get a year newer and 50k less miles …

But negotiating? You need to negotiate with a car dealership? Want to know the secret? Really really? I’m serious, don’t laugh: Bring a baby/small child. And a tranquilizer for yourself.

Buying a car is an obscenely long process. After you decide you want to buy it, you go in and make an offer. And they come back and tell you there’s no way, and come down a wee bit. And so on and so forth. Enter small child. Who although has been fed, has now missed his nap time by about 40 minutes. And is PISSED about it.

And so you look at the dealer, screaming, writhing child in your lap, and say “This is my best offer.” And watch then run out of the room. And as you try to soothe your child, you close the office door, because you can hear his cries ECHOING throughout the dealership. They come dangerously close to your best offer, so you accept.

And then have to go do the paperwork, where they try to sell you add-ons: warranty, stain protection, security system. I actually wanted the security system. Again, enter screaming, writhing child. An $800 system gets whittled down to $325 lickety-split. Of course, me asking — quite impatiently — “just HOW much longer is this is going to take?” while said child cries? Kinda helps speed things along. Not fast enough, mind you, but faster than it would otherwise.

It also gives you an excuse to completely cut the dude off with “let’s cut to the chase, we’re not interested in the add-ons. Can you please just get us out OUT OF HERE?” and not feel bad about it.

And the Monkey? After all that crying? We were in the car about 2 minutes before he zonked out in the backseat. He barely woke up when I pulled him out once we got home and laid him in the crib to finish his nap. And when he woke up? Crackers, a banana, a sippy cup of water, and an episode of “Sesame Street” while cuddling with both Momma and Dada were JUST what the doctor ordered.

For all of us.


2 comments on “Negotiating 101

  1. Awesome. We bought our newest car last year when our kid was like a month old. We were there for SEVEN hours. I hate buying a new car, period. Can't say it worked out quite as well as yours did … I'm sure the crying helped expedite the process. But we stuck to our guns and didn't give them a penny as a down payment and got womething in our price range.

  2. monkey momma says:

    I think the guy KNEW that if he didn't get us the price we wanted — and honestly, we weren't SO far apart price-wise — that we would get up and go. Screaming child = people not willing to sit around and negotiate.

    I forgot to mention, another bit of leverage we had: We were paying for it outright, no financing. AND they also bought the Ponny-wreck from us. MWHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

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