Monthly Archives: December 2012

Car buying fun (in real time)

So how many years will buying or leasing a car take off my life today? (This was updated live through the process)

12:30pm– Arrive at dealer. Went through formalities of finding the car we’re interested in, discovered it’s missing a key, all sorts of things that won’t matter unless I actually leave with a car. Then about 10 minutes describing and filling out paperwork on potential trade in.

1:03 hand over keys so they can inspect the 2001 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan (doesn’t seem all that “mini” anymore!).

Thought I had current registration but turns out that was actually a receipt, which 20121223-131605.jpgcaused the words I hate to hear most (at a car dealershop) come to the front- “We’ll have to see if that’s an issue for the finance guy.” Hopefully not the first instance of good-cop bad-cop situation. Nice guy salesperson followed up by mean guy manager who says this or that can’t be done, how could the salesperson think that, etc. Been down that road a few times before.
1:35 Things are going too smoothly. I’m concerned. But still haven’t discussed trade value. I “prairie dog” now and then but don’t see anyone looking at the trade in.

1:45 Salesperson (Troy) is wondering why nobody’s looking at the car yet. Ah, it’s gone. Someone either stole it or they’re checking it out.

1:55 Moment of truth coming soon- paperwork from trade-in inspection

Trade-in paperwork
Trade-in paperwork

2:02 Virtually no credit on old car but good enough lease that it works out. The way they justify the lack of value (for the trade) is more than a bit insulting if you actually read it… $425 for a “Service/Safety inspection”??? $750 for “body work” to pull a small dent out of the rear bumper? It’s an 11 year old car, and low blue-book assumes a fair amount of wear & tear. On the other hand, it’s not worth it for me to go to a lot of trouble trying to get rid of it for potentially not much more than that, and I don’t care how worthy any “donation” organization might actually be, but 1 877-kars4kids has totally turned me off from such things.

What made sense was that, for $324.88/month, I could be almost gas-free. There’s still a possibility something could go south. Haven’t signed and paid yet!

2:21 More info given, car gone back for detailing.

20121223-150202.jpg2:56 Paperwork signed; I’ve just leased a car for the first time in my life. Guess its nice to know that, at almost 57, there are still new things to experience in life. No funny business, or not much I should say. The price had go up $500 from an earlier email but that was backed out. Lots of interesting stuff in the lease details but it makes sense when you work it all out. We’ll see how the Volt works over the next three years. But first a bit of self-humiliation because I agreed to a video review of the experience. I figure I ought to learn as much about marketing from the pros as I can!

3:09 Still waiting for the videographer. Hope I learn something from this! Otherwise I could have been done with this before 3. Still might be under 3 hours total. Could be worse!
3:19 This is getting old real fast. Quite a buzz kill, having me wait for 20 minutes so I can say nice things about their dealership. As I told my staff at yesterday’s pre-opening meeting, sometimes the only thing remembered is the first impression and the last.

3:27 Short video interview over, now just waiting for the keys!

3:35 Sitting in car with Troy (Salesman), having the various buttons and displays explained (a Volt has a lot of them!). OK, that’s fine, but then begins the OnStar activation. Which should only take a short while, right?

3:52 OnStar finally set up. You’d think (and the salesman thinks) this should be automatic, since all the info is fed to them electronically at the dealer, but that’s not how things roll. Troy’s a very nice guy, but I think both he and I have better things to do than sit in a car, essentially waiting for it to do something. The OnStar/Volt combination is impressive; the car is constantly feeding data through a cell network to OnStar, so if you’re the sort that’s concerned about cars having “black boxes” that know your every move, this car is not for you! It also allows for communications between an iPhone app and the car as well. Someday I’ll figure it all out.

4:00 (approximately) It’s all over, I’m driving back, making wrong turns on super-crowded streets clogged with holiday shoppers and flooded by near-torrential rains. Not exactly what you’d like for your first drive in a new car! But mission accomplished.

29.4 degrees, OK everywhere but gloves

Honest, I didn't pick the colors for this chart to accentuate the idea that it was cold this morning!
Honest, I didn’t pick the colors for this chart to accentuate the idea that it was cold this morning!

There are definitely some new gloves in my future. I have tried EVERYTHING. The garage is littered with gloves that didn’t fulfill their promises. The biggest myth? “Waterproof.” Don’t ever believe it. Even the $120 Gore gloves I got last year soak through in 45 minutes. But today wasn’t about water, it was about cold. 29.4 degrees for a low, with it rarely getting above 37.

Some wonder how in the world you can stay comfortable when it’s that cold outside, but truthfully, it’s not that bad.

Bontrager RXL Split-Finger Glove. This may be the ticket.
Bontrager RXL Split-Finger Glove. This may be the ticket.

Thermal tights, base layer, jersey, wool socks, shoe covers… pretty much everything’s fine except for the hands. Today I was using the Bontrager RXL Thermal Waterproof model, which have done well for me when temps were in the low-40s. But today? My fingers definitely could have been more comfy. Time for more-extreme measures. I’ve ordered up the Bontrager RXL Split-Finger model. XL size, so I can even use a liner if I have to.

My ultimate glove would have something to warm the very tips, maybe battery powered?

Ice at Sky Londa
Ice at Sky Londa

Overall, it was actually a very nice, almost social ride. Eric, Jan & Mark today; Kevin stayed home with an ingrown toenail. A little bit of ice on the archery-range corner near the top of Kings, and then a fair amount more at Sky Londa (Jan actually slipped a bit there).

We weren’t in a big rush, but still got back in reasonable time, indicating we weren’t total couch potatoes out there. Looks like our last dry ride for a while though; Sunday looks pretty nasty, and Tuesday, which happens to be Christmas… not much chance of getting out that day! Nor for someone with kids anyway.