I Got It!
When I took my car in on Tuesday, I told myself that if the repair estimate was $50, then I'd get it fixed, otherwise, forget it. I'll just get rid of the car as-is. Well, the garage got back to me yesterday and said, "It will cost about fifty dollars, plus about six dollars for parts." Ka-ching! I said, go ahead, fix it. That way I'll have piece of mind regardless of whether I buy a car this week. The final bill was only forty-six bucks, so I ain't complaining.
Yesterday afternoon, my boss JP and I went to see more cars. Specifically, I'd decided I wanted the Civic EX coupe. JP was nice enough to help me with the negotiating. We had a price from the dealer we visited on Tuesday; as a 'one price' dealer they weren't likely to haggle, though JP says everything is negotiable. We called a second dealer whose sales guy refused to negotiate over the phone, and it was a longer drive than we wanted to go.
So, we went to a third dealer, not much farther from Apple than the first. And there, I saw JP go to work. The salesman was quite good; he refused to come up with numbers on his own, rather constantly prodding us to come up with a number ourselves. Turns out we went in with least year's dealer invoice from Edmunds, which was a little weird since we started our negotiating right at their cost, but I think turned out to be a good starting point for the negotiations.
I've always heard of this happening, and now I've experienced it: After several offers went back and forth, we actually left the showroom when he wouldn't come down. The difference in price was comparatively small, but we actually got all the way out to JP's truck when the sales guy called us back. And we closed the deal.
It was interesting to watch; JP did most of the negotiating, and the sales guy seemed pretty clearly to be used to this: Two guys coming in where one of them is the hard negotiator for the other one, who isn't so good at holding the line. I bet this is pretty common, and it wasn't hard for me to 'swallow my pride' and stay in the background. I think JP enjoyed it, actually, and the sales guy surely knew that if I'm listening to JP then we could just walk out at any time, so he did treat JP as the 'designated negotiator'. It was pretty cool to watch, actually. I guess the nature of the car dealing business leads to things like this naturally, and as it's 'just business' no one has any hard feelings about it.
So yes, I bought the car. Wrote them out a check and everything. I think the final price was a good one (both the sales guy and the finance lady seemed pretty impressed, and I think it was genuine).
Today I picked up the car. (They had to prep it in some way before I picked it up. For one thing, I know they washed it; Tuesday night we had another rare thunderstorm so it was all spotty from the water. No big deal, really, since I got my hatchback fixed.) First, this morning I had to go get insurance. I had liability insurance (i.e., if I hit someone or something) on my hatchback, but no collision or comprehensive, because, like, what did I care if my hatchback got totalled? Boy, insurance is hideously expensive. I ought to shop around for prices, but not now; I have no energy for it, especially if I want to look for an apartment next.
Anyway, Tom drove me over to pick up the car; it took a while to actually get the car, I'm not sure why. Maybe I caught the sales guy right at a busy time. But he went over everything with me, gave me the keys, and I drove it off the lot.
It's a nice car. A nice forest green color. It is definitely bigger than my hatchback, and that takes a little getting used to. The seat goes back farther than in the hatchback, though I think it's a little more comfortable for me at that distance. And although the turn radius is similar, the car's contours are different - the hood is placed higher, for instance - and I think it extends back a little farther, so I'm being especially careful about turning into parking spaces. (I'm not especially skilled at parking anyway; for some reason I just haven't figured out the trick to get it perfect.)
I have a sunroof! That was the thing that really sold me on it, that and the color.
Tonight I drove it around for a while, took it up I-280. I stopped by Ceej and David's. They offered me some dinner (tofu and noodles; I am not a fan of tofu, but it smelled yummy when I walked in so I had some, and it was good), and they saw the car, and we drove in it up to Cafe Borrone and had dessert things which nullified the dietary benefit of the meal. Mmm!
Ceej pronounced the car good. Everything says I'll have a lot of fun with it. Anything would be a step up from my hatchback, so I think they're right.
I am going to spend much of the next month worrying about it getting stolen or vandalized, though. I'm not so worried about an accident or putting a ding in the paint job while parking or something; I have control over that, and those things will (or won't) happen regardless. I can just do my best. But malicious attacks on my car worry me. I've traded for many years on having a car that no one would want to break into or steal, and now I have one which has some value. Of course, that's why insurance is hideously expensive, but still, I worry.
I hope to sleep well tonight and get up tomorrow and see the car sitting out there, nothing having happened. I really hope - as I thought last night as I drove to Subrata's - to be driving to Subrata's two weeks from now, nothing having happened. And a month from now. In a month, I will calm down about it.
You may recall that a few months ago a couple of cars in our parking lot had their radios stolen, and that I was pretty worked up about it. We haven't had any more incidents - that I know of - thank goodness. I have checked out the lot recently; it seems to be getting more up-scale, as there are a whole bunch of newer cars parked a few spaces down from me (all of them red, strangely enough!). And it looks like someone else in my building bought a brand new Toyota Corolla recently - it still has the dealer non-plates on it. So at least I feel like I'm one car among many potentially valuable ones. Hiding in plain sight, I hope.
Maybe I'm just being paranoid. But I look forward to the day that I'm driving a nice five-year-old car, not a brand new one.
Meanwhile, I'll just try to get over this feeling and enjoy the car now.
Whew! I'm exhausted!