You may remember this post in which I explained what I’d been going through trying to get a new car. Well, I have some new developments. I came very close to getting a brand new mini cooper – just the car I wanted. I got partial financing approval from a bank, and the dealership agreed to finance the rest. However, there was some disagreement between the two about how that would be handled. While the mini dealership was very helpful and nice, the bank was unwilling to budge. Eventually it just didn’t work out, and I was disappointed.
But then not long after, I found a cheap 2003 mini at a dealership. It was like, really cheap. It was 10 years old and had 100k miles, but the carfax was clean. It was eerily similar to my old mini – same color, same year, most of the same accessories, etc. It was a Friday night when my internet searching led me to this car. I had to work all day Saturday, and then Sunday most everyone in the Bible Belt is closed for business, so I had plans to go on Wednesday, the next day that I worked late. However, I wouldn’t stop talking about it, so my boyfriend convinced me to go when they opened at 8:30am Monday morning and at least start the process before I had to be at work at 11.
So I did. I showed up at the dealership, found the car, walked around it, etc. and waited for a salesman. Nobody came, so I went into the office. Nobody was in there either. I hung around for a few minutes, knowing that they were technically “open,” as the office was unlocked, and lights, computers, tvs, etc. were on. So I got out my phone and called them. I was at the used lot, so maybe everyone was over at the new lot. As the phone rang, a car pulled up and Barry the Salesman got out. He apologized – they were having a staff meeting. He was genuinely sorry I’d had to wait, and it was only like 15 minutes, so it was ok. I was worried about him being the stereotypical used car salesman – at best being pushy, and at worst, talking down to me because of my gender. But he was perfectly nice, and he understood that I had done my research and knew what I wanted and I was qualified to buy it.
I pointed out the mini and he brought it around for a test drive. The dealership is actually right near where I used to live, so I knew exactly which road to take it on. I drove it hard down the windy road (which I’d always dreamed of driving a mini down) and maybe I was going 65 in a 35 zone. But it’s a road I drove multiple times a day for over a year, so I knew all the twists, turns, and potholes like I know my name. I also knew that it was not a heavily populated area, with cops or otherwise. I had such fun driving it that I was literally laughing. But then again, past experience told me that I would love it. I was very careful to listen to the engine and all the vroomy car noises though, just to be sure I wasn’t walking into a lemon situation. Everything sounded awesome. Way better than my current car.
I got back to the dealership and basically said “I’ll take it.” So we sat down to hash out the paperwork. He told me that they would take my old car as a trade-in, but because of all the problems with it (in other words – the reasons I was getting a NEW car) it would only be worth about $400. I thought it over and decided that a definite $400 was worth more to me than the cost and trouble of getting the car fixed and trying to sell it myself. We shook on it, and he faxed the info over to my loan officer at the bank (who, incidentally, had the last name of Cash because duh), and we waited for a response. He telephoned her, no answer. Then something on the tv sparked my memory. “Oh… today is President’s Day. The bank’s probably not open…” Well poop. I didn’t have any of my paystubs or anything with me since I already had pre-approval. It didn’t occur to me that it was a federal holiday and I wouldn’t be able to get that precious confirmation. It also didn’t help that I didn’t have the title to my old car with me. Someone once told me that one should never keep the title in the car, because then if they steal it, what’s to stop them from claiming ownership? Not that anyone would steal that hunk of junk, but I had taken the title out anyway. I was pretty sure I knew where it was in my house, but I had a momentary minor internal freakout.
The time was fast approaching for me to go to work and make the money that would pay for the car. I signed most of the paperwork, but couldn’t actually drive the mini off the lot yet. The dealership finance guy was working his magic, and one or both of them would call me later. (Side note: both the salesman and the finance guy were left handed. I found that odd.) So I went off to work, slowly, as I was still in my old car. My coworkers asked where my new car was, and I sadly had to tell them it was still at the dealership. When I finally got a break in my busy day, I checked my messages and returned the call to Barry. He asked if I could come to the dealership first thing in the morning with my financial info and the car title. They’d even show up before they officially “opened” so that I could make it to work on time. I happily agreed, and made sure that when I got home the first thing I did was find the title (it was where I thought it would be), put it with my financial info, and put that folder literally on top of my purse so there was no way I could leave the house without it. The next morning, I actually got out of bed early and left the house, ready to start driving my new (“new”) mini cooper.
Good thing I left early because I had a slight detainment. The fastest way between my house and the dealership across town is to take the Parkway. We haven’t had any snow this year, so the parkway was open with little traffic. At one point I passed a law enforcement vehicle stopped on the opposite side of the road. His car stirred, and I knew immediately that I was getting pulled over. I went ahead and pulled off before he even had his lights on. “Do you know what the speed limit is?” I thought it was 45, but was then informed that the 45 zone didn’t start until further up. Even still, I was going 56. In a 35 zone. The shock on my face was genuine, and I think he could see that. He let me off with a warning, knowing I picked up some speed coming down that last hill, and maybe feeling bad since I was literally on my way to get a new car. He made me promise to watch my speed, which I did, and as he walked away I breathed the biggest sigh of relief ever.
I got to the dealership on time, and Barry was waiting. We headed over to see Ryan the Finance Guy, and I played on my phone while he ran my numbers. He was able to get my approval, with slightly different terms than I had been told at the bank. The car was such a deal though, so the terms were still perfectly acceptable. Also, instead of the $400 for my old car I was expecting, they ended up giving me $1500, so that was way awesome. We did the whole “sign here, here, and here” thing, and finally I was allowed to take my new car home (or to work, rather). I said goodbye to my old car, though it wasn’t tearful. All was forgotten anyway as soon as I zoomed off. (I didn’t take the Parkway back, for fear of getting pulled over again.)