10 AM We are on our way to a Ford Dealership to look at the Explorer. We stop by on the way to check out the Mountaineer, which is the Mercury version. It's cute on the outside and ok on the inside; we leave without driving it.
1030 AM We check out the Explorers. I test drive a cute Eddie Bauer version that is fully loaded. So we do the typical Car Dealer Cha Cha: the sales person dances back and forth to the manager while we sit in his (probably bugged) office and talk about what we can afford.
1100 AM We finally arrive at a price, and we can't afford it without trading the Honda. So they go away again to give us a blind appraisal. We think the car is worth 6,000 .
1130 AM Sammy Salesman and Mike the Manager offer us 4,500 on our car. We are shocked. Mike tries to show us on the internet why this is a good price, but he actually shows us the car is worth 5-7 grand as a trade-in Woops! He offers us 5,250. B. is starving so we decide to leave. Mike begs us to drive the Explorer around with 'no obligation.' No thanks, I say.
1200 Noon We decide after lunch to look around at other vehicles. I think the PT Cruiser is cute, so we go check out the new Turbos. At first glance we love it. It's less expensive than an SUV, but has some room and looks fun to drive. Little did we know...
TEST DRIVE OF PT CRUISER IN THREE ACTS
ACT ONE: On the Road
ME: (driving along) I'm going to accelerate at this straightaway.
PT: Horrible Noise, not much acceleration
ME: Wow, what was that? Is that the Turbo?
SALESGUY: Uh, yeah.
ACT TWO: Back at the dealership
B: (looking under hood) The air intake hose has disconnected. That's why we heard that noise. Why don't you get a screwdriver and fix it so we can try it again with the Turbo working.
SG: Uh, okay. (comes back with electric screwdriver, reconnects hose.)
ME: OK, here we go again(try to start car).
PT: (Won't start)
B: I guess something really is not working on this car.
SG: uh, yeah.
(we get out. Sales guy is still trying to start it. He gives up.)
SG: Just let me push this one out of the way. (B helps him push it up).
ACT THREE: The get away
ME (to B): This is ridiculous. I so do not want this car.
ME (to sales guy): Thanks for your time.
We leave in a hurry.
100 PM We stop by the Mercury dealership again because the were a little cheaper than the Eddie Bauer explorer. This time we get a very outgoing sales guy who talks us into a test drive. Nothing falls off, and I like the way it handles about as well as the EB. We begin another cha-cha, with this guy claiming he can get us a better deal. He gives us an even lower quote on the Honda, however. Plus, I really don't like the color of the one that we test drove, plus I want a few different options. We decide to go get our Honda for a real appraisal while he looks for a Mountaineer with my specifications.
230 pm The Honda is at the dealer because it need some work. As we pick it up, I decide to look over the Pilots, the new Honda SUV. There are only a couple in stock. The Honda guy will only let us drive the model, which has fancy options not available on all Pilots. It's a nice enough SUV, and the sticker is 4,000 less than the Eddie Bauer. But then we begin the Honda Hustle.
Sales guy: Um, you know about the marketing fee, correct? (He _adds_ 2,000 to the sticker just for fun.)
You know, these SUVs are so much safer than Explorers and they have a better resale value. Let me check on your trade-in.
He goes away for about 30 minutes, while B receives a call from the Mercury dealer. Mercury Man has found some cars I might like.
Honda Boy returns with tough Manager guy. They offer us 3,000 for our minivan. With the lack of 0 percent financing, this brings the payments to levels that are way out of reach. We tell these guys that the Explorer is a much better deal. The manager starts the standard BS about how the Pilot is so great. He actually pulls out a comparison with Ford showing how much better the resale value is on the Honda.
Me: So why is the resale on our Honda Minivan only 3,000?
Manager: (stony faced glare).
We say thanks but no thanks.
530 PM We return home to feed the kids and clean up the Honda. We decide that it is worth more to us as a third car than as a few thousand dollars. We decide to return to the Mercury and then the Ford dealers to see if we can get any better deals.
630 PM Back at the Mercury dealer, we finally decide on a price for the SUV that has 90% of what I want. (It's only missing a 6 CD changer, which I can add later). And it is a cute black color. Cute is so important!
We Begin the Buyer Boogie, which lasts 2 hours and involves credit checks and massive amounts of paperwork. Fortunately, they do not try to sell us on a lot of extra crap.
830 pm We return home, excited about picking up our new Mountaineer next Wednesday. I go to sleep clutching my brochure. I'm glad I only do this every 5 years or so.