Thursday, August 22, 2013

Buying a car with Frank...the experience

In order to tell you about the experience of buying my cute little Honda Fit
You have to know a little bit about Frank 
And me

Frank has always been a wheeler and a dealer
Haggling doesn't bother him
As a matter of fact, he enjoys it.
I find any kind of confrontation incredibly uncomfortable and that includes any sort of bargaining.

On one of our first dates
I remember going to a pizza place.
Frank asked if they had any specials and the girl said that they had a coupon for some particular deal
So Frank says that sounds good, he'll take that deal.
She asks if he has the coupon, which of course he doesn't.
He says no but he's sure she must have some behind the counter she can use.
And he says it in such a way to leave no room for questioning.
And I just had to walk away...
I'm not embarrassed.
And I'm fine with him getting a better deal.
I just can't take the confrontational feel of the thing.
As small as it is...

There have actually been times in our marriage when we have been in the process of buying something and Frank is, of course, working to get the best deal...
And it makes me so uncomfortable that I literally side with the sales person!
I can't keep my mouth shut.
As you might imagine, this annoys my poor husband.

But over the years I have learned to keep my mouth shut.
I sit silently, if uncomfortably, while he haggles and debates.
I make no faces.
I give nothing away.
But he knows I am squirming inside.  I hate it SO MUCH.


On the friday before our anniversary we decided to go on a date.
Frank drove us to the Honda dealership that is right by our house
(literally 2 miles away).
I was surprised but since I'd been obsessing over the car I figured he was going to let me sit in it again or something.
We went inside and he actually started talking to the guy about going for a test drive.
So we drove it around.
The Fit.
It's so cute!

The sales guy looked exactly like Jake Gyllenhall.  No joke.
I told him so on my test drive.  He said he gets told that a lot.
this version:

And I started to imagine how cool it would be to take a picture of myself with my new car next to Jake.
(yes, I call him Jake in my mind even though it isn't his actual name)

After the test drive we went to the little cubicle and Frank actually started to talk numbers with the guy.
I was quite surprised because we did not discuss the possibility of buying a car today!
We discuss color.  Jake drives us around the lot and shows us the various colors available.
I pick out my fun blue car.
(Jake is probably smacking himself for calling it the color that "slaps you in the face" before he realized it was the one I wanted...)
There is a LOT of back and forth between Jake and Frank.
Discussion of trading in the van or not.
Frank is doing "research" on his phone whenever Jake leaves the cubicle.
Which is unusual for Frank because he never buys something without doing all kinds of research beforehand.  He goes into a purchase with all the information he needs to get the best deal possible.
And this was not the case here.
He was flying by the seat of his pants...

The dealership closes.
We are still there.
Frank tells Jake that if this is the best deal he can get, Jake has nothing to worry about.
Frank won't go to another dealership just because they will match this deal.
if this isn't the best deal we can get, we will go elsewhere.
Jake has worked hard and we'd like to give him our business.

Anyway, after a lot of effort
(and me sitting stoicly next to Frank the whole time with no expression)
they actually came to an agreement.
I was going to get a new car!
I was a little freaked out, I'm not gonna lie.

And we start to sign papers.
Frank is looking over the contract and at the bottom is a fee for "paperwork"
Its like $300 or so.
Frank asks what it is and takes his pen to cross it out.  He has no intention of paying it.
Jake tells him that everyone has this fee and explains it (blah blah blah) and tells Frank that he can't just cross it out.  It's on all the contracts.
Frank says he won't pay it.
Jake goes to talk to the manager.
He comes back and says that there's nothing he can do about that fee.

we leave.

after all that time and effort and haggling and we are down to signing the papers
and we walked away because of the paperwork fee.
But that's what makes Frank a good shopper in these situations.
I would have caved and paid the $300.
and so would most people I'm sure.

But not Frank.
And I was surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing.
I mean, I hadn't planned on buying a car anyway.


The next morning we were across town at the temple
and Frank says that we should pop in to the local Honda dealership.
I say that we don't need to do that...there's no rush.
But he wants to.
He is going out of town the next day and he'll be gone for our anniversary.
Our 25th.
I'm realizing he's hoping to get the car as a big anniversary gift for me.

So we go into the dealership and he tells the guy
"I want to see a salesman.  I want to talk numbers.  I know what I want and I know how much I want to pay.  I don't want to waste a bunch of time here so if you can make a deal with me right now, you will make a sale but if you try to give me the run around and think I'll spend hours here then I will walk out."
So we sat right down with a salesman.
Frank has done his homework by this point and the deal he wants to make is significantly better than the one he agreed to the night before.
The salesman and manager agree.
We buy a car.
It takes only a few minutes.

The only downer for Frank was that we had to wait until Tuesday to pick up the car, we couldn't have it that day as he hoped.
But Tuesday was our actually Anniversary so that was kind of cool, in a way.

But it did mean that I had to drive 40 minutes to get my car instead of going to the dealership that is 2 miles from my house.
It also means that every time I drive past that dealership I think of Jake.
And I feel bad for him.
And for me...
no picture with the famous look-alike.


  1. That story had me riveted until the very end!!! :-) Seriously. I know exactly what you mean about the squirmy feeling. I don't like that either! Seeing "Jake" would have been fun.

  2. Debbie I loved the story too! You are a great story teller and I could picture you and Frank in front of the sales person! Great story and I'm glad you got your cute Fit for your anniversary!

  3. Ha! Great story and so glad you got your car. Oh and my hubby is a haggler too and I hate it!

  4. What a great story! Next time I need a car, can I pay Frank the $300 paperwork fee to fly here and do it for me?