I use to have a blog over at Blogger that went by the working title “Falling into it.” That’s mostly because at odd moments, I seem to trip over good situations. This weekend is a case in point. To say the least, I wasn’t planning on getting a new truck. In fact, I was extremely happy with the one I had. Usually getting a call from a car salesman on a Saturday isn’t something I’d look forward to. The only reason I picked up at all was that I was driving and had the bluetooth in my ear and didn’t feel like fishing for my phone to screen the call. I’m sure it’s an old line in the car business, but he was adamant that they had someone looking for my “exact model truck”and would cut me a good deal on anything they had on the lot if I was interested in trading.
I wasn’t interested in trading, of course, but since I was driving past the dealership anyway, I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to slip in and let them buy me a cup of coffee. My “old” truck was a 2008 and was getting along towards 50,000 miles (a couple of trips to Maryland every year will rack ’em up fast). No way were they going to be interested when they saw the mileage, so I should be on my way in a couple of minutes. I handed off my keys to the appraiser and hopped on the golf cart for a window tour of the lot, commenting on other trucks here and their and throwing out a laundry list of things I wanted: full sized crew cab, power everything, sunroof, 4×4, towing package, cloth seats, and nothing in white, tan, or silver. Pulling through the lot he passed truck after truck that got disqualified for one or more reasons (4×4’s in the south are surprisingly hard to come by). As we pulled back to the front, I was sure that we were all but through. Until, he mentioned that there was one more Tundra in the showroom that he thought I would like… The infamous one more thing. Sure, I though, he wants to get me inside to make it psychologically harder to leave. OK, I’m game. Let’s go have a look.
So there it was sitting in the middle of the showroom floor, with the exact specs that I had told him it would take for me to even start talking about a deal. I still had my safety net, though, as I knew the appraiser was never going to come back with an offer high enough to pay off my loan on the old truck. Well, the short version is that he came back with an appraisal that was well in excess of what I had been expecting and more than enough to pay off Bank of America. Still, I knew there wasn’t a chance of the finance people coming up with a number that I was going to be willing to work with, so it wasn’t even close to a done deal. In my own mind, I was no closer to buying a new truck than I was when I walked in the door.
Their first deal wasn’t bad enough to be insulting, but was way off in terms of where the numbers needed to be to convince me it was worth while. It’s a car dealership, there’s always haggling and that’s half the fun. Back he scurried to the sales manager’s desk, coming back 10 minutes later with an offer that was a little better, but still not sweet. One more time, I say, tell your guy that this one needs to be his best and final offer since we’re not going to do this all afternoon. Back to the sales desk, about 20 minutes this time, and he comes back and hands me a sheet of paper. And that was the offer I couldn’t refuse – 0% financing, and a monthly note that was about $2 more than I was paying already.
So to get this straight, I’ll give you my two year old truck, with 50,000 miles on it and in exchange you’re going to give me a brand new truck, 2 years of free scheduled maintenance, not increase my payment, decrease the length of my loan amortization, and let me use Toyota’s money at 0% to make it happen? Yeah?