Well, today, something amazing happened(!!!)!
As we sat in the car, which was freshly parked by my dad, I told him the final detail of what I wanted him specifically to know before we went inside. ‘I only want to work with someone I like, someone with whom I feel comfortable doing business. So, if I don’t feel comfortable with whoever comes up to us, I’m going to tell him to go help other customers and that I want to be left alone, please. And then I will find someone I do like and trust to help me. Okay? I just want you to know that, because I am not working with someone with whom I don’t want to work.’
He surprised me by not saying or suggesting anything in disagreement with or contestation with my words, and just saying a genuine and semi-excited, “Okay.”
Not quite three and a half hours later, we drove out of the lot in separate vehicles, my having leased my first car (and that included over an hour of just sitting in the finance department, waiting for an agent to become available to let me sign paperwork, after we had already settled everything with the car salesperson).
My dad was blown away. While we were waiting on the final bits of negotiation between our saleswoman and her manager, my dad kept commenting on how he had never gotten a car on the first time he had walked into a place. He once bought a suburban on the same day he first saw it, but he had test driven it, then gone home and discussed things with his then-wife, and they had gone back later that evening and purchased it. Other than that, though, he hadn’t gotten anywhere near purchasing a vehicle on the same day he first saw it.
But I was prepared. I had been looking at used cars for so long, to no car-providing avail, and I was sick of them all. When I had looked deeper into leasing and discovered that I just might be able to lease a vehicle all on my own, despite my annual salary being iffy, so to speak, and my being self-employed. I had enough money to put down, after all, and my credit history is amazing, despite my work history being wonkers the past few years. I’ve had a credit card that I have always paid on time and usually paid in full for over eleven years, and I paid off all my student loans within three and a half years of their first being required to be paid upon. Do someone with so little money going back and forth in her life, I’ve done a great job of building a positive credit history and credit score, greatly due to my father’s initial step of having me open a credit card in order to begin that process. And I had a back-up plan, if needed, for a co-signer on the lease, but it didn’t sound like a likely necessity. I just had to make sure the car price (MSRP) was under my yearly salary last year.
What’s more, I did some research on car salespersons’ commissions (I suggest reading the basic info and a personal account I found in my research), and I knew I wanted to take as little of a salesperson’s time as possible. And that would benefit me as well as the salesperson – win-win. And my dad… win-win-win! 😛
So, we walked into the showroom this afternoon, I , in a comedic way, found myself kind of loving the energetic older Chinese lady with a very strong Chinese accent who greeted us right near the door, handing us her business cards from her blue-gloved hands, and reminding me of Japan and their business card culture, as well as the shamelessness often found in Chinese culture (ironically enough). I told her why I was there, and she took me to her desk to figure out some details of what vehicles were available for lease that matched what I was seeking.
While sitting there, she comments to me that I have very pretty eyes, and I thank her. I happen to agree, so I determine that I will accept the compliment despite its potential aim at being falsely friendly in order to get a sale. After a few minutes, she says-asks that I’d been there before, right? I told her that I had not. After an Oh exhale, she says that I just look familiar. Another possible “move”, but it doesn’t bother me. She could also be being genuine. It wouldn’t be the first time for me.
After a few minutes more, she asks me again, asking if I’m sure I’ve not been there before. I tell her that, no, I have never been in here before today. She genuinely seems a bit bugged about this, and tells me that I just look so familiar. I smile.
When we get up and start walking to go outside and “Pick the color you like,” she says suddenly, “Well, do you dance?” still looking at me quizzically. I stop and look at her more carefully.
“Yes,” I tell her.
Within a few more sentences, we have both worked out that we know exactly who the other person is. She wasn’t anyone who did dance classes, but she was friends with some guys who did, and often would go out dancing with them, and that sometimes meant with a group that included me.
When I ran into dance friends at dinner tonight, I relayed this story to them. Brows were crooked and eyes were rolled at first, but everyone laughed and sighed when I said the, ‘Do you dance?’ line – they know exactly how that works in life. You can’t place a person, but dance is mentioned and it suddenly all clicks into place (and you sometimes have to evaluate what side of you this person has seen in the dance world before moving forward). One of the girls at dinner knew just whom I meant when I described the car saleswoman. The dance community is like that – we kind of all know each other, even if only distantly or in passing of sorts.
Anyway, tangent ended…
So, I introduced her to my dad at that point, and explained the connection to him. He was surprised and obviously a bit more at ease. We then chatted about dance stuff while walking out to the cars, and it was just kind of really cool.
Once at the cars, we got down to business. My dad and I browsed details and asked questions, both agreed that the dark gray was not only a good-looking vehicle but also the best-looking one out there.
We test drive it. 2.0L versus 1.8L engine made a huge difference for this little car. We were impressed by the pickup and by the interior quiet and vehicle stability feeling on the highway. Really impressed, actually. This car was much better than I remembered from the oneI drive in college that belonged to a friend of mine.
I liked this car.
And so, after the test drive, I said a clear yes to wanting to see about leasing it, and the saleswoman got to work. Tentative prices were shown, and I approved a credit check in myself. When they approved my credit score, real negotiations began. My dad helped me with the bargaining part – I’m not the greatest with that, which was part of why I wanted him with me in the first place – and the saleswoman was actually really awesome throughout it all. Frankly, the directness of her Chinese culture was a huge relief to both my dad and me. It is just utterly annoying having to deal with the excuse and BS nonsense I so often hear from salespeople from US-born culture. We don’t need to come up with excuses for why you are offering this versus that. Just say your offer, and I’ll say mine, and we’ll continue easily that way, with no one getting offended on either side. And that is just what we did.
And it was so easy, I barely even felt any stress at all. My only actual stress, really, was when I realized I needed to go to the bathroom, but I kept having to read or do something or wait for my dad to come back from the bathroom and then an important time-sensitive thing he had to do on his phone for a few minutes (sign up for his lap swimming at the pool as soon as the registration room opened at 3:00 for Tuesday, that is)… literally the only time I felt actual stress at that place.
When our offers were getting pretty close to being met, my dad started to retract his statement of waiting to call back until Monday or Tuesday. “We might be able just to do this all today,” he said, slightly amazed. And then repeated every so often, when a new price drop had occurred.
Eventually, our exact number request was met, I signed a tentative proof and filled out some further information, and we were walked over to and dropped off at finance to sit and wait to sign the real papers.
We had spent roughly twenty minutes doing the initial desk stuff, then just over half an hour on the colors and test drive, just over half an hour on negotiations, another ten finalizing , and then over an hour just waiting for finance, and not quite half an hour in a finance room, signing papers.
Then, after one last bathroom break, I met the saleswoman and my dad in a certain covered vehicle area just outside, and took a few pictures and connected to Bluetooth and played around with the keyless start (my dad was quite delighted by that part, actually), before driving on out (and then immediately calling my mom on the car phone system…, which turned out to be quite decent, actually).
And so, now, I have a car that is reliable, super covered under warranties and full maintenance coverage, high-tech, handsome, and, really, quite fun to drive.
I am grateful for such an awesome turnout for today. Thank you, Life and World and Dance. 😀
P.S. One of the photos the saleswoman took while I was talking to my dad for his photo.