I think the “official” lycanthropic chime was 60 minutes ago at 3am, but whatever. That’s what happens when you’re caught in the maw of insomnia. What’s better, staring at the bedroom ceiling for two hours until you get bored, or getting up to at least do some blogging and RSS catching up? In my case I chose the former and then the latter. Yes! I can has it all!
I spent two hours today at the Toyota dealership test driving different Tacomas (Tacomai?). I’ve got it narrowed down to exactly one that fits my wants and needs (which, to be honest, are pretty far apart. The ‘wants’ includes an iPod interface, backup camera, shiatsu massage chair, and full time concierge service. The “needs” category includes: does not spontaneously explode when fed gasoline. As in all things, somewhere in the middle is a good compromise, I think).
Buying a car is such a drag. I’ve read all the consumer sites on car buying and spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) reading all the 10 rules every car buyer MUST KNOW articles until I want to scream. The one big takeaway is this: be a black body. What’s that mean? It means, in this reconnaissance today, I made it my goal not to give any information away. They profile, don’t you know. So it was funny to hear the hapless salesman trying to size me up by asking me what kind of car I drive, how old it is, what my hobbies are, where I was from, my age, my wife’s age, etc. It may be friendly conversation, but it’s also a subtle attempt to get a feel for what kind of buyer you are. If they know you’re an attorney who spends the summers in Aspen between trips to Aruba on your second yacht, they’re going to have a much different attitude when it comes time to hit the negotiating table than if you told him you were a fresh college graduate (third attempt) with a degree in the liberal arts. He asked me what kind of car I drove and I said “you know…. a car”. It was actually kind of hard to keep from laughing when I said it, the poor dear. When he told me that he’d never had a customer who asked so many questions before (what, customers don’t ask salesmen to explain the options packages?), he tried to get me to tell him why I was so curious. I got a HUGE kick out of Mobiusing the conversation around and seeing how much I could learn about him and his family.
Oh sure, he seemed like a decent enough fellow (3 years selling cars, grew up on the West coast, wife is a lawyer, no kids, attends church, drives a Tundra-replaced the Chevy-,used to work at a Ford dealership, doesn’t smoke, got pulled over last week but was let off with a warning), but I’ll be darned if he’s even going to know what I do for a living (if he presses I’ll tell him I’m a professional mercenary and see what he says).
Anyway, I spent two hours there deciding on a car and then took his card and left to put a bid together. I think I’ve got a fair bid (i.e. one that will no doubt wrench the next six months’ ration of Gerber strained peas from the manager’s offspring- here want to see a picture of the little doomed urchin?). Once the Air Check voucher gets in I’ll go in and Throw Down. I still am not sure if I will employ the time tested (and time wasting) process of Ongoing Negotiations (what is this, the Middle East?), or if I’ll just do the old one-bid-and-lash-myself-to-them-mast trick. In the meantime I plan on visiting the other Toyota dealerships and finding comparable models so I can pit them in a Bidding War to the Death. Or at least so they can conspire together to laugh at my bid while they quietly go bankrupt from the Current Troubles.
Ah, it’s good to be in the driver’s seat.
On tap for later today is the 10am showing of UP, if my brain decides to let me have a few hours of oblivion before then. If not, I’m sure I’ll want to re-title the movie DOWN. I hate this part of the night. Too late to take a Tylenol PM, too early to just say hang it all and pull an all-nighter. Not too late to blog, though. There’s always time for that.