I’ve danced all the way around the topic without coming outright and directly saying I bought a new car. Some of you have asked. Consequently, I guess there is no time like the present to be totally transparent. The car is now officially out of the vault. The General and I have wheeled around the greater Henly area a couple of times. In addition, we actually drove in it to church yesterday morning.
I bought the car week before last. Is it practical? “Absolutely not” is my best response. Does the General like it? She has gone on record to say that she likes the color. So far, that’s the only real commitment that she’s made.
While I bought the car with her approval, she has come dangerously close to crossing over the line a couple of times. For starters, she recently referred to it as “my toy car.” Obviously, that seemed a little patronizing. Actually, I thought it seemed more that a little patronizing. I respectfully asked that she not do that again.
Maybe I’m being a little overly sensitive. A friend, not knowing I had already purchased the car, said in essence: “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch”. She went on to infer that nobody with muscle drives a Miata. In reading her wise counsel, she came close to suggesting: “If you can’t drive a Porsche or a Corvette, why bother? You should either take the bus or walk. Better, yet, just stay home”.
Of course, in the General’s defense, she did have a plausible explanation for choosing to refer to the Miata as “my toy car”. I guess, she too, has the ability to think on her feet. She came up with something pretty quickly to justify the left-handed comment (or insult depending on perspective). With the finesse of a lawyer, she asked: “You aren’t planning to drive the car as a primary source of transportation are you? Isn’t that correct? You bought it just for fun, didn’t you? You only plan to drive in it with the top down and travel on back roads when the weather is nice. Isn’t that right? Consequently, by your own description, you have in essence made it a toy. That’s why I called it a toy car”.
My feathers were still a little ruffled. I respectfully asked that she not refer to the Miata as a toy car again. The next comment she made about the car was a real knee slapper for her. I wasn’t amused.
I purchased the car in Houston on a Monday night after looking elsewhere the preceding Saturday. When it comes to shopping for a car, I refuse to get caught up in the “how much will you give me-back-and-forth game” dealers try to play. I dig my heels in and I don’t play ball.
I actually looked in Houston at the car three Friday’s ago. I was upfront with the sales person. I said, “I only want one price from you. I want the lowest price that you’ll take for the vehicle. You have one shot at a sale. If the price you provide me is acceptable, I’ll buy the car. Otherwise, I’ll walk. I’m not going to get in a back-and-forth struggle to settle on a price.” I went on to say: “You need to understand up front that I always purchase a car this way. There are no exceptions.” He affirmed that he understood.
The car salesman was just a kid. Although I convinced him to do it my way, the assistant manager who was on duty wanted to do it his way. His way was incongruent with mine. Consequently, I was pleasant but firm. I thanked them for their time and left. The dealership tried to reach me by phone three times in the next hour or so, but I didn’t answer their calls.
Later that evening, the car salesman called. Had I been paying attention to the number, I probably wouldn’t have answered the phone. At any rate, it was the salesman. He called to apologize and said he had talked to the manager and they could make me a much better deal than previously suggested. Under the auspices of full disclosure, I was looking at a new 2016 model. They are identical to the 2017 and I expected a very discounted price. I was favorable impressed with the price subsequently offered, but didn’t want to play my hand yet. Why not look elsewhere first? I told the dealer I’d be back in Houston on Monday and we could talk then.
Just for the record, the initial deal the dealership in Houston was offering was preferable to the price I found elsewhere. The sales people I subsequently talked with elsewhere were professional and polite. It was a nice contrast to the assistant manager in Houston, but at the end of the day, money matters.
According to what I was told elsewhere, the dealership had some new 2016 in stock, but Mazda was only discounting them $1,000. They would throw in an extra $500 or so. They attempted to provide me a better understanding that buying a car today differs from buying a car in the past. It was the “Car sales have changed” routine. Dealers no longer make much money on each vehicle. The MSRV is now close the actual price you can expect to pay for a car… I thanked them for their time and left. They promised to call me back, but so far, I’m still waiting. I left the showroom without saying: “Liar, liar, pants on fire”. Walk in to any new car dealership and look around. I’m not buying the fact that the profit margin is minimal.
Okay, so here’s the final deal. The dealer in Houston was willing to discount the price several thousand dollars below MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). The dealership even delivered the car to my son’s home outside Sealy. The General was there to take in a week’s worth of ball games with the grandkids.
At any rate, I dropped the car I was driving off in Cat Spring for the General to drive back to Henly and I picked up the Miata. I had only gone about half a mile before I heard a “beep beep beep” and saw a yellow flashing light on the control panel. So was I not shifting the gears properly? I thought I was, but I haven’t driven a stick shift in years. When I had driven the car at the dealership the evening before, I didn’t have that problem. Now, there was a repeated “beep, beep, beep” and yellow flashing light.
That went on for about eleven miles before I had a chance to pull off of the narrow two-lane road. I found a place to stop and telephoned the car salesman to explain my problem. He laughed and said, “It is a safety feature. You’re getting too close to the stripping on either side of the pavement. The beeping noise and flashing yellow light is meant to be a safety feature. I can tell you how to turn it off if you like? I declined and thanked him for the information.
So the knee slapper the General has come up with is that the safety feature on the car is like having training wheels on a bicycle. She’s hopeful the exercise will assist me in learning how to drive within my own lane. What can I say? You be the judge.!
All My Best!