Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tow Trucks and Cyrano de Bergerac
So after sitting in that dealership with my brother last we left me, and test driving again and crunching more numbers, again, we left with the hope that something would eventually pan out.
I left again discouraged to not have any definitive answers, nor keys in my hand.
Another week of dependency on other people to cart my carless ass back and forth to work. Another week of feeling like I was abandoning my child, who was still thankfully spending night after night at my mother's so he was able to go to school.
The Boy and I strategized.
We called dealership after dealership. We priced out what was possibly possible. We finally settled on a car to strive for.
4 dealerships were given my information. Everything about me. Name, rank and serial number. Data was ran and numbers were crunched. Initial offers were given and rebuffed.
I felt like a slick Wall Street trader. Granted I was being fed the information to say much like Cyrano de Bergerac, but nonetheless, the words flowed (with many, many, many post-its in front of me for notes) from my mouth and I sounded like less of a novice.
MSRP's, Invoice Prices, Holdbacks. Terminology I knew nothing of was littering my daily conversations. Haggling like an old woman at a yard sale.
I said my thank you’s and let them know I was being rewarded with better promises at their competition. I felt almost powerful. These places fighting over me like a pack of wolves to a single piece of deer meat.
I was narrowing the search. Had brought my battle down to 2 dealerships.
This was a stressful process. Yet another week in the making.
I finally get the offers. One hands down winner was chosen, but I was of course prompted to sound laissez faire about the whole ordeal. "Oh ok, well I did get a good offer from the other dealership so I have to do some thinking before I make my final decision".
Inside I was jumping for joy. Was I really approved?? Was it really a reasonable sounding offer? Holy shit!
The only hurdle I had left was my trade. My Ford Carcass, ready to ignite again as soon as the battery was reconnected or attempted to drive. They had all given me trade idea's sight unseen.
Boy were they in for a treat.
Now came the next struggle. How the hell do you get a car that bursts into flames when you drive it 45 miles to the dealership with the promises of taking it away from me and giving me a shiny new replacement?
Idea's were toyed with.
Rent a trailer from U-Haul? But then I would need to find someone willing to tow a car 80 miles round trip. Volunteers? None.
Get it towed was the only possible solution. The dealership gave me the song and dance that they "don't do that" and I was on my own getting the vehicle there.
Bastards. (Of course we later learn, thanks to knowledge in such areas by the Boy's father, that they likely had the ability to do this, but wanted me to suffer. Assholes)
So I figure, well I have roadside service on my car through my insurance, I can get it towed under the guise I need it serviced again. Seeing as a call had been placed it was on FIRE with the last 2 weeks this wasn't out of the realm of possibilities.
I make the call. "I need my car towed; it's dead in my boyfriend’s driveway"
"Ma'am, we are only authorized to cover the hook-up and the first 5 miles, as there is a Ford Dealership that should be able to repair your vehicle. You would be responsible for the remaining 40 miles of yoru requested destination, at $4 a mile."
"Well you told me you would tow it like 100 miles when it caught fire a couple weeks ago, why are you only going to go 5 miles now??"
"You had filed a claim before and it was towed under the claim. This being a roadside service call, we are only authorized the mileage to the nearest manufacturer dealership."
Fuck me sideways.
I started to cry to the woman, hoping she would take some sort of pity on me, find a loophole. "It's the week before Christmas; I can't afford to pay close to $200 for you to tow my car. The reason I need it towed to where I am asking is because I know someone there who is willing to fix it extremely cheap and if they can't, it's at a dealership I can trade it"
The woman puts me on hold. "Ma'am we can do the first 20 miles, but you would have to cover the remaining 25."
In my head I work the math (ok not in my head as I am math impaired, but using the calculator on my cell phone), it was still $100. Money I certainly didn't have extra.
I told her thank you. And she told me the tow place would contact me, etc.
I immediately called the Boy, who was at work while this ordeal was going on. I got him up to speed.
"They want me to pay $100 to get it the extra miles to the dealership"
To which he responds "You don't have $100."
More ideas were thrown out, and I took to the internet for a solution. I posted the need for someone with AAA to come to my rescue via my Facebook status. (ah the wonders of modern technology). Of course, much to my chagrin, it was a fruitless effort.
The person would have had to be there with me to get towed, and others had exceeded their tow limit for the year (What? A limit??). I appreciated the ideas and declines, and racked my brain on what the hell to do.
I had until 5pm to get to the dealership. It being a Sunday, I was pressed as it was to get a car before Monday so I could get to work of my own accord.
The tow guy from my insurance calls. Great. Now all I can think is I am going to be forced to dish out $100 I didn't have right before Christmas to get this pain in the ass car out of my life.
I ask him if there is any way it can be cheaper. I relay to him my plight. Being a single mom the week before Christmas. As sure as I was that it had fallen on deaf ears, he told me that he had to come out anyway to show proof he tried.
I sighed. Ok.
When he got there, he assured me he wasn't able to tow it through my insurance anyway because the plates weren't on it.
My plates were sitting on my coffee table 40 miles away. I didn't know what to do.
The man, toothless and heavyset had been riding in the tow truck with what I assume was his wife or girlfriend. An interesting pair, but who was I to judge?
He let me know that he wasn't able to tow it without plates, and put a call in to his headquarters that I couldn't afford the tow anyway.
Then, something amazing happened. Something that has (briefly) restored my faith in the human spirit.
He told me he was going to call in my car with his personal AAA. He had friends with other tow company's in the town I was in and he would put the call through one of theirs and they would tow me up to 100 miles.
Dost my ears deceive me??
A total stranger, offering a good deed the week before Christmas?
So he chirped into his Nextel and made the calls. Arranged the tow and filled out the AAA slip with his information and left it in the car. I felt obligated to tip him for his generosity, since I would have had to pay a ridiculous amount to get towed.
He balked at my offer and said "No don't worry about it, you don't have to do that!" to which I replied, "Well YOU didn't have to do what you did and I appreciate it."
Holiday greetings were exchanged, and he lumbered into his flatbed and roared off into the distance.
Soon I was riding shotgun with what I can only explain as a redneck gangster. Some sort of backwoods-wigger thugging out to the mainstream hip-hop that bellowed out of his orange iPod mounted on the dashboard.
I occupied myself on my cell phone playing a vigorous game of Angry Birds, trying to calm my nerves as we made our way to the dealership. His bizarre attempts at small talk every few miles were thankfully quelled by my avid texting.
My brother had to meet us at the dealership with the plates, and thankfully he had been able to get into my house to get them.
We timed the arrivals perfectly as my brother rolled in just seconds after the tow bed was being lowered.
I grabbed my plates from him, gulped and walked into the dealership to meet my fate. Excited and nervous. Excited at the thought of my new car, which had been pulled up front and center for me to drool over. Nervous that they would look at my current car, laugh and tell me to shit in a hat.
As I walked in and shook the hand of the man I had been dealing with by phone for a week and sat down, my brother thankfully came inside to join me. I had feared he would take off, but I was happy he decided to stick it out with me in the dealership.
Texts back and forth to the Boy about what was going on and side conversations with my brother helped the time go by, though didn't help my nerves. It was surreal.
Paperwork filed and signatures signed with a flourish. I lay in wait.
Finally after what felt like a decade, he walks towards me, keys in hand. KEYS IN HAND!
It was in slow motion it seemed in my head. Probably the longest 20 feet I had ever witnessed someone walk. But there he was now, in front of me. Keys in hand, ready to give me them and let me leave the lot with this brand new beautiful vehicle.
Another man comes over to teach me how to use the features in the car. The FEATURES!!! I had Bluetooth and gadgets and all kinds of buttons and lights in there! I had power windows and locks and keyless entry!
I was the proud owner (well I will be after 6 years of payments, but I digress) of a band spanking new 2011 Kia Soul.
Joy to the World!!