This one’s for you Tom. I never did finish the story on our failed attempt at buying that Accord Coupe back in April, so here it is. If you are unfamiliar with the story, first go back and read April 17th & April 18th posts. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.
When Donna and I step into the Honda Cars of Aiken showroom we are greeted immediately buy a pleasant enough fellow. I ask for Brian and he says, “That’s me.” I told him who I was and he then proceeds to tell me he hasn’t done anything on my paperwork because they have just been slammed all afternoon. Donna and I look around the showroom, look at each other and roll our eyes. There are 5 people in the whole space, the two of us, Brian the sales guy, another sales guy wandering through and the girl behind the circular reception desk. The only non Honda on the lot out front is our Miata. I guess we just missed the typical Monday afternoon rush.
Donna headed off to the restroom and sales guy says, “Let’s go look at your car.” “I don’t need to see it,” I say. I think to myself, I just drove it 2 days ago, how much could it have changed. I can only imagine this was to get me to see the car and bond with it, and the move was right out of some car salesman training manual. But he is not deterred, “Come on, it is right out back.” So I shrug and follow. We have to pass through the service area and Brian is blathering about how they have won awards for service, yadda, yadda, yadda, while I am dodging the oil on the floor and ducking under a car on a lift. We get out behind the building and there sits the red coupe, probably exactly where salesman Brad left it last Saturday evening. It obviously still needs to be cleaned up and I sense a half hour picking up this car stretching into 2-1/2 to 3 hours of wasted time.
We get back into the showroom and Donna is standing there wondering where I have been. I tell her and she rolls her eyes again, but I can tell she is running out patience already. Brian points us to another one of those alcove areas where business is done and tells us he will be right back with someone to get the paperwork going. We wait. We discuss amongst ourselves on how hard it seems to be to give away our money to a business. We talk about our day at work. We discuss where I’m taking her for dinner because this is taking so long. I then notice Brian making his way across the showroom floor towards us, but he get waylaid by another salesman and pulled aside. They talk for a few seconds, step outside the doors where this other guy lights a cigarette. We agree that if Brian lit one up we were gone. He didn’t and shortly he is moving our way again, but only to ask us “This is not a lease right, you are buying the car?” and tell us that they’ll be right back with us. I’m thinking now that they hadn’t done anything at all since Saturday and wondered how we got the price we got. Donna is ready to bolt; we have been here for 35 minutes already. I look at the time and it is five minutes until 5. I tell her if they don’t get to us by the top of the hour we’ll go.
At 4:59 some person we have never seen before sits across the table from us. He doesn’t introduce himself nor offer to shake my or Donna’s hand, he just starts spreading out his paperwork (for our purposes we’ll call him Fred because he looks a little like a grown up Fred Savage from the TV show Wonder Years with a bad haircut.) I notice John Candy out of the corner of my eye, one desk away, trying to stealth fully observe the process.
Fred looks at me and asks, “Was dinner OK?” I think to myself, I haven’t had dinner yet…so I go, “Huh?” He says,” You know, the other night.” Then something clicks, that was how I left it with these guys on Saturday, saying I needed to get home before dinner was ruined. So I replied, “Yeah, fine.” Donna didn’t say anything then, but told me afterwards that she felt insulted by them asking me. What they should have done was turn to her and ask, “Did we get him home on time for dinner on Saturday?” She a good point to because even though we shopped the car together, her income was taken into account when checking the credit scores and the title was going to be in both our names, they fell into the typical sexist attitude on car buying and were basically talking only at me.
The next thing out of Fred’s mouth was, “How long are you planning on keeping the car?” Not sure where this is going I give him another, “Huh?” Bless her little heart, Donna has been as patient as she can be during this whole car buying process, but this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. She says with emphasis, “What kind of question is that? What do you care how long we keep the car for? What difference does it make to you whether we keep it 2 day, 2 years or 2 decades?” There may have been a cuss word or two in there, if not, the way she said it certainly implied there were.
She reaches down and grabs her purse, looks at me and stands up. I follow suit and we head towards the door. Fred is stunned; I think he mumbles, “It is just a question we ask.”, but I can’t be sure. As we exit the building I sense a rustling behind us. We get in the Miata and as we are backing out of the spot, John Candy is exiting the building and calling out, “Mr. Bogardus! Mr. Bogardus!” Neither of us look up as we drive off.