I bought my first new car toward the end of 1983. Time has erased why specifically I brought along a wingman. This loss of detail is a good argument for establishing the habit of journal keeping. It couldn’t have been his recent purchase of a shiny new sports car, a Nissan 300ZX, and riding around with the T-top panels out just made the world spin better. Sadly, I likely caved to peer pressure and kept up with the Joneses. The car did cast the illusion that we were serious shoppers and had the means to purchase. Well, one of us at least.
Somehow, and for whatever reason, we started at Cal Worthington’s, maybe in search of his dog Spot. I was looking for cars and the lot was packed with them, a jaw-dropping panorama! I am not talking about vehicles. I can’t say the circus was in town because it would be mean and disrespectful. Circus performers have integrity. I have never seen so many pairs of Angel Flight pants and I have spent some time on the dance floor. My one and only pair were purchased in 1977 for the eighth grade commencement. I don’t remember how long we were there, but that scene is forever etched into my being. Let’s dance, no thank you. I did leave with a greater appreciation for female dance partners.
We ended up at John L Sullivan’s behind the wheel of a racy red Chevrolet Camaro IROC. At least one of us. What a ride! And I am talking about both the test drive and the car. How could a kid like me make this happen? I still appreciate to this day the salesman’s suggestion to light the tires up as we left the lot. I was sold and learned that day what closers were upon returning and being handed off to one (to better grasp the meaning of closer, one just has to drop the letter C). What’s this going to cost me? He motioned and led us through a maze down into the bowels of the devil’s lair, dark and dank. His reply to me as we concluded our trek was to hand him a check for $250 and he could give me a quote.
I don’t think they were ready for the reaction or response that statement produced. I am a hick and have never fit into Foxworthy’s definition of a redneck. We don’t do business that way. I left pretty quickly, second only to my friend’s abrupt departure; like being shot out of a cannon. I was amazed at the number of voices reaching a crescendo behind us muttering that we misunderstood and that something could be worked out. My side mirror of the Z was overly populated with fading images failing in pursuit as we drove away.
These lessons became valuable down the road when my wife and I bought our first car. The day after we signed on the dotted line and drove the car off the lot, our salesman called my wife and told her that they couldn’t put the deal together unless she now put down an additional $5000 upfront. She was beside herself and the only two things racing in my mind; how could someone be so belittling and how could I make her understand that she needed to call him back and tell him that the car would be returned that afternoon. Things would work out for the best. Of course, she had to leave the message. Of course, the sales manager called her back; please do not return the car as we will find a way for you to keep it on our end.
I know closers. I have come to understand and appreciate buying local, it is the best practice. Also, financing a new car makes you poor. Another person showed interest as to how I came to drive a new 1984 Camaro Berlinetta (saved a fortune on insurance), my Father, although the words he used were certainly not in the same vein. We can all be a little less judgmental. Godspeed.♣