If we had our way, we’d never purchase another vehicle. Buying a new car was just not part of our five-year plan.
Isn’t it funny how life throws you curve balls? Just last week, my 16-year-old SUV died a quick death unexpectedly — in the middle of the roadway.
Having just returned from my morning post office run, my car cut off abruptly on N.C. Highway 55. Thankfully, law enforcers from the Angier Police Department were kind enough to direct traffic and push the vehicle completely off the roadway. If only AAA had been as expeditious, it wouldn’t have taken a Raleigh tow truck three hours to retrieve my vehicle in Angier.
The next morning, our mechanic called with the grim prognosis: the SUV had blown its motor and its replacement would cost more than the car’s value. Much to our chagrin, the search for another vehicle began ...
We first looked at all the local dealerships for a particular SUV I had in mind — to no avail. We wound up visiting six dealerships over the course of the next five days. Test driving and talking shop are parts of an experience we don’t want to repeat anytime soon.
You’ll never imagine how horrid this saga began. During our first trek to a Triangle dealership, the salesman couldn’t have been any ruder, cruder or obnoxious, which shocked us. Our first salesman, Grumpy, was irritated that we weren’t able to arrive after lunch due to our jobs. He apparently is accustomed to leaving by 4 p.m. for an early dinner with his wife. From the onset, Grumpy appeared hangry (hungry + angry).
When we spotted two SUVs we wanted to test drive, Grumpy simply threw us a set of keys and gave us a 15-minute time limit. Because it grew extremely cold at dusk, the disgruntled salesman strutted back inside the warmth of the showroom without offering us any instruction whatsoever. Talk about a lack of manners, huh?!
We struggled to crank the newfangled vehicle without assistance from the associate. When we finally managed to start the vehicle, would you believe the gas light was blaring? Afraid we’d run out of gasoline, our test drive was completed in less than 10 minutes. Upon our return, The Grump was nestled inside the toasty showroom.
We volleyed through the How-much-do-you-wanna’-pay? routine when Grumpy offered to take our reasonable purchase offer to his sales manager. Our family waited an inordinate amount of time until the man returned — only he had an even more scornful expression on his face, if that were possible. He then claimed that his manager didn’t want to waste his time and would not even entertain a counteroffer. Hmmm.
Grumps then uttered the most appalling verbiage ever. He had the audacity to tell us that it was “apparent, from the looks of it,” we could “only afford an older model with a whole lot more miles on it.” Verbatim, that is what he said. Can you believe that insult?! Grumps was not only pompous and arrogant, but he also lacked any semblance of tact. Wowwww ..
We politely stood up, threw our coats on, and remained completely speechless as we exited the showroom. But, wait, the story doesn’t end there. ... Fifteen minutes later, another sales associate from the same dealership began blowing up my phone incessantly. Get this: While we were there, another sales rep removed the license plate from my husband’s truck — accidentally — and unbeknownst to us. He allegedly thought he had removed the plate from someone else’s Chevy Silverado in for a trade. We were essentially driving around Raleigh illegally without a license plate.
After three more trips to neighboring car lots, we felt very thankful to have found just the SUV we’d had in mind. And, contrary to Grump’s prediction, we were actually relieved to purchase a much newer vehicle with a lot less miles than what he had envisioned. What a blessing.
After that ordeal, we just hope and pray there is no more wheeling and dealing in our immediate future. Buying a car isn’t for the faint of heart — our nerves certainly couldn’t take it.
Kim Lambert is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of The Angier Independent.