M&M’s And Trade-Ins

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Did you ever purchase a package of peanut M&Ms only to bite into one or two that didn’t have the peanut inside?

You feel cheated. You were expecting to experience the great taste of peanut and chocolate, but ended up experiencing a plain M&M.

How about this one?

Have you been to a car dealership to purchase a car lately?

Did you go in with a vehicle to trade-in with high hopes of that vehicle being used as a down payment on a new vehicle, only to have the dealership give you an offer on your trade-in that equaled the price of a bag of M&Ms?

What is that about?

This is one of the main reasons I hate to purchase a new vehicle. I hate to play the car buying game. Now I’ll be the first to admit, a PH.D I do not have, but I know enough to tell when someone’s trying to get one over on me.

My wife and I have been to 6 separate dealerships in the Round Rock area in the past 2 weeks as we search for the perfect vehicle to replace our older, less mechanically superior van. We’ve looked at Dodges, Fords, Jeeps and Nissans in an effort to purchase the perfect vehicle that will make all of the world’s problems go away.

First we talk the salesperson into the best deal they can give us (or the best deal they can give us and still make a huge profit). Then we get into the best APR. Now up until that point, things are going smooth.

Next, we enter into “negotiations” over what I think the trade-in is worth and what the dealership thinks the trade-in is worth.

This is where the wheels fall off the cart.

“Mr. Fairchild, your car has significant mileage, but we’ll make you an offer that you will be extremely happy with.” says the happy little salesperson. “I’m gonna go over here and talk to our finance guy and together, we’re gonna get with our trade-in guy and see what we can come up with.”

This is car salesperson code for “I’m gonna make you sit here and wait for a while, while me and the other guys talk about Sunday’s Cowboys game.”

The salesperson is gone long enough for me to play a game of Texas Hold’em on by cell phone…which really isn’t too horribly long because I’m not really that good at poker.

“We’ll Mr. Fairchild, I think you’re gonna be happy with our offer,” they say, “The condition of the van is good, there are no dents, chipped paint, body frame damage and the motor seems to be in good shape…”

At this point I generally begin to daydream about driving off the lot in my new vehicle. My wife is at my side and the kids are laughing joyously in the back as they examine in giddy wonder the nice, new, shiny machine their dad just purchased.

“The only problem we have with your trade in vehicle is that it has over 100,000 miles.”

Daydream over.

“But we want to earn your business, so we’re ready to offer you a good deal on your trade-in.” they say.

This statement puts me back into daydream mode.

“We’re willing to offer you $500 for your trade in.”

My daydream comes to an abrupt stop once again.

“I’m sorry, for a minute I though you said $500” I say.

After all, the Blue Book price for our particular car is $3000.

This is when the sales person offers $750 and informs me that the dealership will be taking quite a beating on the deal, but to earn my business, they’ll take the loss.

“I’m sorry, for a minute I though you said $750” I repeat with what must be a dumbfounded look on my face.

“If we give you $1000, would that seal the deal?” they ask.

This is when I generally get up nice and casual like, tell the salesperson it was nice to meet them and meander on out the door leaving that dealership and heading to the next one in hopes of having a real offer for my trade-in.

“Why must this game be so frustrating?” I think to myself.

The next dealership is pretty much the same, except they offer me a bottle of water to wash down their offer.

On that note, I head home and call it a day. After a whole day of playing the car buying game, it’s time to relax and take in a little Dancing With The Stars with the wife and kids.

Afterwards, I’ll sit down at my computer and research more local dealership’s “special offers”. And as I do, I’ll listen to a Sinatra CD, have an ice cold Dublin Dr. Pepper and enjoy a new package of peanut M&Ms.

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