Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Car Shopping

So, a couple weeks ago I got a postcard type advertisement in the mail from Infiniti. It said they were offering deals for up to $8000 off, $1000 above Blue Book value for your trade-in and a $500 Coach gift card (no, I'm serious). Then two weeks ago, I got my registration renewal from the MVA and they want $120.

Let's see, new car with lots of discounts or same old crappy car, with squeaky brakes, broken interior lights, discoloring rear fender thanks to random Spanish repair guy, and a new bill to go along with it. Seemed like a no-brainer. It's time to get a new car.

I searched the internet to find out more about some cars I was interested in. Having driven and loved my G35 Sedan, I was intent on getting something comparable to it, so that brought me to narrow my search to the new G37 Sedan (and all those savings!!!), the Nissan Maxima, the Lexus IS250, and the BMW 3-series. And then I remembered that I hate BMW and all they stand for. Try growing up in Potomac with the popped collar yuppies and their "beamers" and you'll relate to my hatred. But I digress.

My mom already owns an IS350 that my brother bought and pawned off on her, so I eliminated that one quickly, as who really wants to drive the same car as their mother, so the decision seems to be making itself for me. And then there were two.

So, Easter Sunday rolls around, and I haven't really gotten a good look at Maximas. I drive up to the Nissan dealer in Rockville and as I'm looking into the Maximas that are on the lot I realize, this place is actually open!!?? So, hell, let's test drive and get some pricing on this puppy. After driving the Maxima with a sports package and feeling how stiff it is, I'm reminiscent of my 350Z that I turned in after less than 2 years on my lease as it made my back hurt (yeah, I'm old now). I decide that maybe the premium package would be better and the guy lets me give it a drive as well. Definitely smoother, plus it's got iPod interface and heating and cooling seats. Nice.

I've decided what I like, now let's see what it costs. Why is it that it takes like an hour to "determine" what the best price the dealer can give you is. He's gotta consult with his manager, and the financing guy, and some random woman, and a midget with one eye, I mean, what the F!?? At what other retailer would people stand for this kind of service? It's like this is completely expected and therefore acceptable. If it took the butcher at the grocery store an hour to find me a steak, I'd eat chicken. But, there I sit until I get my price. And then I did what every prudent car buyer should do...I left.

Two days and four calls from the Nissan dealer later, and I'm on my way to the Infiniti dealer to see what he can offer. Long story short, the dealer is a big dick, leaves me sitting without any semblance of him wanting to move things forward for nearly an hour, he helps two other people, then offers me a monthly payment that's almost $200 more per month than the Nissan for a sale price that's only $2000 more expensive. Then when I mention that, he miraculously drops the price by $100...like immediately.

OK, now onto another ridiculously accepted standard in car purchasing. Where else can the price fluctuate by 20-40% merely by what you say? If I'm at a restaurant and the lobster tail is $50 and then I say that I can get it at another restaurant for cheaper, I'll leave if they change the price. That usually means one of two things...I'm gonna get "the old one" or I'm gonna be eating pubes. Then again, I never order lobster anyway. Who am I, Ted Turner?? So, I didn't want the car with pubes on it from this cock head, so I bounced.

And you're probably wondering about the $8000 off and the other deals that started all this craziness. Yeah, they don't really exist. You mean you didn't see that it said "up to" in front of the $8000? I can show you a car that can have $8000 off...but that's not the type you were interested in. Oh, my bad...shady...very shady.

Day 3 is Wednesday, and I'm off to the Nissan dealer in Germantown. I was OK with the deal the Rockville guy offered me on Sunday, since it was definitely a better deal than the Infiniti, but let's compare apples to apples. I'm armed with a favorable price, the fact that I've been to Infiniti, and the fact that my mind is numb from having sat at car dealerships for more than 4 hours total thusfar. And then the battle begins.

I wanted a black car. They only have a navy blue car with the premium package on the lot. I didn't want to pay for the navigation system. The navy blue car has navigation. Will I settle? Yes, but it'll cost them. And that's the angle I'm using.

An hour of bullshit and waiting later, and they're gassing up my new navy blue Maxima with the premium package and navigation system. It's got a price tag $2000 more than the one I test drove at the Rockville dealership, and the monthly payment is $40 a month less. It's got 10 miles on the odometer and my coveted iPod interface...which is exquisite.

And the next day, I'm driving it with my parents in the car...and the sunroof cover breaks.

Which leads me to my final gripe with car dealerships. New doesn't always mean good. And when a new car isn't good, they don't give you a replacement. Instead, they give you a Nissan Xterra. No, I didn't get another new car, it's the rental car they gave me while they fix the problem in my new car, which they took yesterday and will hopefully have for me tomorrow.

Perhaps I should stop reading advertising post cards.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Life, the Movie

As I've often joked with many of my friends, sometimes it feels like my life is like a movie. Bizarre things seem to occur around me, crazy people seem to want to always talk to me, and for the most part, things that you think would only happen in a movie, seem to happen to me. For those of you that have missed some of the finer points, here's a couple:

  • While waiting with Jaclyn at the Metro Center terminal after seeing Stomp at Warner Theater a couple years back, a random older black man walks by, having passed everyone else standing there. He randomly stops, looks at both of us, and in the wise, old man style, he says, "You hold her because you love her." Several months later, our relationship is cut short because she moves...to a Caribbean Island.
  • I'm walking back to my car after grabbing some Chipotle, and a random Spanish guy is standing there with his son. He informs me that he does car repair work, pops his car's trunk to show me the tools, and says he can fix the dents in my car right there. I'm like, why not? Two hours later, he's done and it looks halfway decent. Two years later, and now I'm trading in my car because the whole area he repainted is turning a bronzish color.
  • A couple years back, I'm on a trip to Disney World with my ex-girlfriend Amy for a Pool & Spa Convention. I've rented the cheapest car available and reserved a standard room at the Disney Swan Resort. When I go to grab the car, the guy at the desk looks at us and is like, "You know, I've got a convertible out there that no one else has rented. You guys can take it, no extra charge." This in itself is probably not all that special, as I'm sure this happens to people often. But then we make it to the Resort and the lady at the desk looks at us and is like, "You know, I've got a suite that's overlooking the lake that no one has reserved until Monday. You guys can take it, no extra charge."
Seriously, am I being taped? These are some completely random and somewhat bizarre circumstances that have crossed my path over the years.

So, yesterday, it's more of the same.

I start the day off with a plan to go to the TLC Laser Eye Center to get a preliminary look into getting lasik surgery. My appointment is set for 10 AM, and after sitting in the waiting room for a couple minutes, I'm taken to the back for all the tests. They take pictures of my eyes in this one machine. Then they scan my eyes in a machine that looks like those retro spirals or hypnotic spinnie things. And last, the tech gives me a full eye exam where I read off the letters as they get smaller. He finishes the test, and says he's gonna give the results to the doctor and he'll be in to discuss my options. Five minutes later, an older gentleman comes in and introduces himself as the doctor. He then sits down in the chair that's in the room I'm in, and in a sarcastic manner like we're old buddies, he asks me, "What the hell are you doing here?"

Confused as to what he means, I'm hold up my glasses and tell him, "I'm not wanting to deal with wearing these anymore." He then informs me that my vision is too good (yet not good enough to not wear glasses), and that they, and probably anybody, wouldn't want to do the surgery. In his words, "It's just not worth your money to take the risk."

So, yes, I got denied Lasik eye surgery. Now you know someone.

Fast forward to last night. I'm sitting at the Wizards game with my buddy Eric; my brothers are also at the game though they have seats in a different section (yeah, we kept trading in our package tickets and eventually all backed into the last game of the season). It's probably around the middle of the 3rd quarter and the standard "Kiss Cam" comes on where they put the camera on different couples in the audience and they kiss for the whole audience to cheer on. It always ends with the camera focusing on two of the opposing players, and hilarity ensues. On this particular night, however, it starts with my ex-girlfriend Lisa, and her new boyfriend.

It's on them for a while as they don't realize they're on the screen, so I turn to Eric and say, "isn't that Lisa?" As he confirms it is, we both watch on as they open mouth kiss. Yep.

While this would have been even more like a scene from a chick flick about 8 months ago when we were first broken up, it is just another bizarre and wonderful story that is my life...and...ACTION.