Is there anything in the world worse than the experience of buying, and financing, a new vehicle? There may well be, but at the moment I can’t think of anything that even comes close. After nine years of service, my mighty Kia Sephia was about to give up the ghost. Brake fluid was disappearing, I couldn’t open the driver’s door from the outside, the air conditioner hadn’t worked in years, and then something happened with the engine that made the car move in jerks. All this just a few months after dropping a couple of hundred dollars to have a rear wheel bearing replaced. It was time to let it go peaceably into that long good-night.
I am not my father. Dad will haggle with people over a five-cent hammer at a garage sale. I want you to tell me how much the item is, and I’ll decide if I want to pay that or not. Unfortunately, I’m not so good at saying no, either.
So, I’d been looking at pickup trucks online for quite a while before the Sephia started having the engine trouble. I found an interesting truck at David Stanley Chevrolet in OKC and called about it. The price was about $5,000. That one was sold, but, the used car manager said, he had some others, and he thought he might have just gotten some in trade that were in that price range. Lie number one. When I arrived, he had nothing in that price range. What he wanted to show me was more than double that price.
Keep in mind that I went there without Kim and without the title to the Kia. I was only there to look. Two or three or four mind-numbing hours later (okay, it was between two and three), I’m signing paperwork to buy a 2003 Chevy Silverado. I’ve been sick and taking cold medicine, I’d been there a long time, and was still kind of in shock that I was actually buying this vehicle. The payment amount the finance guy gives me is about $10 a month more than the salesman said it’d be, and I assume that’s because I agreed to the extended warranty. It wasn’t until two days later, on Monday, when my less-than-happy wife was looking at the paperwork, that we learned that isn’t the case. Not only is the monthly payment higher than I was told, but they added a year to the term of the loan to pay for the warranty. And there were my initials, right under the term of the loan and the monthly payment amount.
On Monday I called the dealer, but couldn’t get to a living person in the used car department. I left a message saying something to the effect of that loan wasn’t going to work for me. After work, I headed for the dealership, planning to leave the truck and reclaim my wounded Kia. They wouldn’t give it to me. They wouldn’t take the truck back. And, to make it more fun, the truck’s engine light came on as I was going there. It was and is my understanding of contract law that you can cancel a contract within three business days … but I wasn’t 100 percent sure. The finance guy told me I couldn’t call off the deal because these days everything is done electronically and the bank had already processed everything. The salesman told me if it was up to him he’d give me the keys to my car and call it off, but the David Stanley corporation wouldn’t let him. And the engine light? Keeping in mind they have a pissed off customer on their hands, their advice to me is to come back later when they’re not so busy and they’ll fix it.
If I hadn’t bought the extended warranty, I would have had to pay to have the faulty O2 sensor fixed. On a truck I hadn’t owned for 48 hours.
All that aside, I love the truck. It’s a black half-ton short bed with a V8 engine and automatic transmission. It has glasspacks on it, so it sounds pretty mean when you start it up. It drives nice, has tinted windows, and everything works. And, I’m just glad to have a truck again. I’ve been driving a Chevette or one of two Sephias for the past 12 or 13 years. So, yeah, I love the truck, but I will never recommend anyone going to David Stanley for a vehicle. Oh, they’d also only put $10 of gas in the truck, and I still haven’t gotten it detailed like the salesman kept promising. They were supposed to do that when they replaced the sensor, but didn’t.
Now, why’d you bother to read all of that?
I’m closing in on the end of Inheritance. I did a chapter tonight and started the next one, getting into it enough that I’ll be eager to get back to it. I broke the barrier for the minimum word count I was shooting for. I think they first draft will probably end up being just over 30,000 words. Here’s an updated word meter, just because I like them.