Dirty Dealin’

So here’s the car update you’ve all been waiting for: we got one.

And that’s about as enthusiastic as I was about the whole thing, really. It’s not that I don’t like the car we ended up with, a 2007 Nissan Versa, just that the whole experience of buying a car from a car dealer left me feeling so stressed out that I’ve spent the last week recovering from it.

We were there for over three hours, maybe close to four. With the kid running around and touching brake pads in the showroom. The very first thing the salesman said to us, and repeated about sixteen or so more times was that he was “an honest guy.” And seriously? When you have to tell us over and over like that, I’m less and less inclined to believe it to be true.

Out of that three or four hours, I think we were actually talking to someone for maybe 20 minutes. The rest was waiting. And waiting. And then waiting for someone else. We fed the kid some snacks. Drank some water. Changed a poopy diaper. Made an offer. We got asked to make a bigger offer. We were still struggling with the offer that was on the table.

Before we knew it, we were in the financing office. Yeah. Another car payment, which we were hoping to avoid. Though it’s half what it was for the Pontiac, so that’s something. But the thing was that we never even said yes to buying the car before they had us in to see the financial guy. Our “honest guy” salesman said that he was just going to run some numbers for us so we knew what kind of payment we could get. Of course, the financial guy said that by the time customers come to him, a commitment has already been made. So. Dirty.

I can’t help feeling like we were suckered into something. Even though the payments are small and the car is nice. We didn’t have to finance much after using our insurance settlement as a down payment, but still, money is so tight right now and getting tighter every second. I wish I had done more homework. I wish I had paid the five bucks for a month of Consumer Reports so I’d known better what cars are actually worth, what a good negotiation actually looks like, if we could have paid less, gotten more. But it’s done now. And I guess we’ll know better next time. Which hopefully won’t be for a long, long, long, long time.

We should have walked out the door. Even if it was only to walk back in again an hour or two later. Why is it that I trust my gut so much in my daily life but making a big deal kind of purchase like a car, I give up so much? My gut tells me things for a reason. I need to be stronger about defending those things.

The worst part? The test drive. Since we had M with us, we each had to take the car out separately. Mr. Honesty let my husband take out one of the 2009’s while he dug around for some paperwork at the dealership, and I ran around the showroom after a toddler. Before we signed on the dotted lines, I figured I should probably drive the thing at least a little, so they brought the car over for me to take for a spin. I got behind the wheel, ready to take her around the block once and come right back, and suddenly, there’s our “honest guy” salesman asking if he can ride along. And we drove in almost total silence for the longest ten minutes of my life because I knew he was only sitting there in the passenger seat because he didn’t trust me and my dangerous lady parts. That’s when I really wish we would have walked out. Poof. Gone.

What stopped me? The thought of spending another four hours at a Chevy dealer down the road.

So we have two cars again. Two four-door, family-ish cars. They’re good. They’re working. I just wish the faint lingering scent of berry air freshener would dissipate from the Nissan. Maybe when the warmer weather really comes and the windows are down more, it will finally fade. It’s neither a “new car” nor an “our car” odor, and once it’s gone, I’ll probably enjoy driving it even more.


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