“…on the tree of persistence.” ~Japanese Proverb
– or –
“Use the same measure for selling that you use for purchasing.” ~Abu Bakr
Well, since we can’t take our vehicles to Okinawa, we’ve got to do something with our three cars and one motorcycle. If you read one of my previous posts you know we finally figured out how to get the motorcycle in storage, which in reality is the only vehicle we want to keep. So, what to do with the Acura and the Ford Escape? Well, we’ve got to generate a substantial cash-flow for a sweet ride such as this!!
The Escape is going to my son. He is working full-time, in graduate school, and he and his wife just had his first baby, and are what I would characterize as eking by, but very happily so. I have not had the fortunes to be able to assist much or very often; nor do I believe in financially assisting your children once they are grown, gone, and make their own decisions. So the gift of my truck – still in very good shape with many years of safe life left in it – will, I hope, in some/many ways make up for my otherwise lack of financial support. It’s a good thing I can do for the boy.
The Acura was another issue. We needed to sell that car, but Jody and I didn’t really want to run through the “hassle” of selling it privately. Although things are probably much different, faster, and quite possibly easier (although I personally find that technology is generally a big fat lie when it comes to making things “easy”) with the internet and such things as Craig’s List, we still didn’t, quite honestly, want to be bothered with monitoring email, answering phones, and making appointments to see, inspect, and drive the car…. Oh, and then the haggling. Neither of us care much for that at all, unless I’m in some Asian market working a vendor down from $3 to 50 cent for a T-shirt or small piece of pottery. Jody had previously sold a car through CarMax with good results and little trouble, so we figure, what the heck.
Problem is, the nearest CarMax is 250 miles away. Off we go, caravanning down the highway in our two vehicles, setting off early to try to be back in time for dinner – and to continue packing! Believe me, it was very hard to bypass New Orleans and the newly revamped National War World II museum, twice, once each way! We get to CarMax, and everything starts off a-okay. We figure, with a Blue Book value hovering around $7K for the model, miles, and condition of our car, we should be good at no less than $6K. After about an hour, the staff is finally really to review our quote. No Speedracer or Trixie in this joint.
The gentlemen handling our case – and I use both nouns loosely – was flying through computer screens. You see, CarMax uses, basically, powerpoint slides to help “brief” the customer on the more salient points of the transaction. The salesman literally flies past a page where I noticed some rather large negative comments with exclamation points, and asked him to go back. Funny thing with this guy (remember, he’s a used-car salesman no matter what title CarMax bestows upon him): he backs up two pages, and, in my opinion, feigns confusion when I ask for only the previous page. After literally like 6 pushes of the forward and backwards keys, we arrive at the screen in question. “FRAME DAMAGE!” it says in rather large you-can’t-miss-it-lettering that is surely there for the customer’s benefit!
You see, Jody hit a deer while driving on a highway years back when the car was relatively new. You literally cannot tell, not from appearance, not from driving, not from noise or any other element of the vehicle that over $7,500 of damage was done by said (and stupid) mammal, although it appears the deer survived as it or any appreciable gore were not found anywhere near the accident scene. She has the insurance claim and full repair report. There is no frame damage noted, nor frame-classified parts listed. HOWEVER, CarMax considers the replacement of the radiator as FRAME DAMAGE since mounts to the radiator had to be cut by torch and new parts welded on, as was explained to us by a very friendly and professional assessor that actually did the evaluation of our car. That finding, however my friend, is cart blanche for CarMax to roll their weighted offer-reducing dice and slice their offer for a vehicle.
I literally laughed.
So, we get their quote in writing, all the while they are telling us that they support us doing what’s right for us and what’s best for us. And we formulate another plan. Let’s hit up the local Acura dealer and see what they will offer, especially since there isn’t one of those in Pensacola either. Off we go. Now it’s about 1 pm. We’ve driven 4 hours to get to Baton Rouge. We haven’t had lunch. We are cranky and just want the car deal DONE and finished so there is one less thing to worry about. We arrive at the Acura dealer, and are directed to meet Jerry, who is very helpful and attentive. Now, I think, the Acura dealer is certainly going to be more cash-hungry than CarMax, right? Well, all they can do is effectively say “no” by coming in under CarMax’s quote. Funny thing about salesman: Jerry pumps us immediately by asking what CarMax offered us! I laugh in response, and basically say, “C’mon Jerry, you think we’re giving up the goods that easy?!?” What I tell Jerry is that CarMax was insulting, and asked him if Acura really wanted to insult loyal and valued customers the same way.
Another hour goes by. By this time I’ve put the word out on Facebook, and already have numerous people interested. The word is getting out. I’ve got a Craig’s List expert friend lined up and waiting to assist as soon as we’re home. We are going to get more than $4,000 for this car; it’s a matter of pride at this point!
Finally, Jerry shows up. Talks to us about the accident – which I assume by this point is fairly obvious to anyone familiar in car repair and/or assessment. We fess up to it; he simply states it’s killing us on the offer they can make for the car. And, having thought about it for the last 3 hours, the accident was severe, and if I were to get shown the Car Fax with such an amount of damage, I too would be very wary of the vehicle and want a deep discount.
But, it’s not as bad as we expected. Their offer: $5,000.
Jody and I conference with each other very quickly. We could probably get right around $6,000 if we would privately. But, as one of my favorite financial guiding principles says, your time (and effort and worry and stress) are all worth money, the going rate up to you. We could drive back, burn more gas and miles, burn more time and endure more hassle in our move, or walk away clean with money in the bank, and time on our hands.
The check was deposited today.
And somewhere, a deer is laughing with her ultimate revenge.