Friday October 29th 2021, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

In July 2006 my husband said he wanted to replace my old minivan for me. I said maybe we should replace his first-generation Prius instead, not that it was so old but because he was so squeezed in there that his knees had cracked the dashboard(!) and it seemed a safety issue to me. I argued for not cutting him off at the knees in an accident.

We went to the Toyota dealership. We looked at cars we could fit the kids into.

But what really grabbed us both was the new generation Prius that had enough room for his legs, even if we would have to give up our quirky pregnant-mouse-look one that proclaimed us as early adopters. (It’s a Silicon Valley thing.)

But it really was the time to do so, if we were going to, because it had some of the rare carpool lane stickers that only went to the first so-many-thousand hybrids; those stickers were going to expire in under two years but such cars were still going for, on average, an extra $4400 at the time. Count dollars against hours saved on commuting and being with your kids and if you could afford it of course you would.

In two years of course the value would be zero.

Richard did not commute on the freeway so the stickers were of no great matter to him personally.

The salesman was surprisingly, exceptionally rude to me. From the moment we walked on the lot he would not acknowledge my existence. I was the one who had done the research, I was the one we’d come to buy for, but anytime I said anything he immediately started talking to Richard over me, every time, while avoiding all eye contact with me, and he never, ever responded to me in any way. Only the man of the house mattered to him. I was utterly invisible.

Excuse me?!

I finally got sufficiently ticked off that I told him I was leaving and they could talk about whatever they wanted. Have a nice day.

I got myself home, got in the other car, and went off to my then-LYS, Purlescence, on that bright summer Saturday afternoon where there would be nice people and I could quietly calm down surrounded by wool fumes.

LYSO Nathania’s then-husband was there, and quite sympathetic when I described that salesman. Yes car dealerships were notorious but since women buy most of the cars in this country, supposedly most of the salesmen had learned or had at least been coached to show some respect. Man, not that one.

I was not expecting it to turn into plotting–but it did: Kevin invited me over to the shop’s classroom space in a separate room in the back, logged onto the computer there, and we tag-teamed for Richard against that salesman over my cellphone. We had decided on replacing the Prius after all and negotiations were just starting.

The guy said the list price was X.

Kevin, googling, which was a slower process back then, said It is not, it’s Y.

The guy said the value of the carpool lane sticker was Z.

Kevin, looking: He’s full of it again, it’s W, like you guys thought.

He said the Blue Book value of the trade-in overall was B.

We told Richard, No, it’s A.

We were going to pay cash so the whole interest rate thing didn’t apply. No padding there.

We were having the time of our lives and that salesman could not argue with someone he could not see nor hear and he had to wait on Richard while Richard did. So there.

Richard came home chuckling. The guy was still willing to make the sale, however grudgingly, to get his sales numbers up for his boss. We got that second Prius for $11k and the 2001 trade-in.

One of his co-workers later told him, License plate so-and-so–is that your old car? That guy tried to tell me some old lady only drove it to church.

Our reaction was, Oh come ON, the oldest cliche in a car salesman’s book?!

So. Our car’s a 2007 bought in 2006. Used it for a 3.5 mile commute, which doubled when the van at last bit the dust and I was doing the drop off/pick up thing just about every day.

This was the year we were finally going to replace it, what with all the safety features of the new ones out there and so many more options to choose from; after years of 40-50 mpg, we’re never going back to bad mileage. Our grandkids only get one planet.

And then of course the house, and the sizes of those reroof/repair contracts, and this isn’t the year.

But you know? We really don’t need to. It works peachy fine. Yeah the fabric’s stained and the seats sag but it’s reliable.

Today, at long last, it answered a question I’d had for a long time as to whether it would start over at 0 the way the cars of my youth did or if it had one more digit hiding in there.

Answer: yes it did. (Picture taken just after I pulled into the driveway and stopped.) Go little car go.

2 Comments so far
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Ha. You got him, good for you both.

Makes you wonder how many women who shop for cars (or anything else) get “taken” if they go by themselves, are not well prepared enough, or are not able to push back. I would like to think salespeople have grown with the times enough to not pull stunts like that.

And I totally would have spoken to the manager after hearing about the “old lady driving to church” business. Gravy sakes!

Love the picture – I too have often wondered about that!

Comment by Chris+S+in+Canada 10.30.21 @ 6:37 am

I had one of the most fun weeks of my life while I bought my Prius (also a 2007!) just after I’d taken a negotiating class.

Ours is still going strong, too, though I do need to take it in to check on why one headlamp keeps flickering. Pretty good for a 14-15 year old car!

Comment by twinsetellen 11.01.21 @ 5:18 pm

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