Us: “No we didn’t. We changed them both online to 53H and J.”
BA Rep: “Let me see if 53H is available.” It had better be Buster.
Jimmy and I stared at each other no longer with anger, surprise or even exasperation but with resignation. Five long minutes passed. One of us was facing a nine-hour flight jammed up against the window, trapped in our seat by two strangers.
BA Rep: “You’re Lynn?”
BA Rep: Puzzled.
BA Rep: “Oh I see. There’s someone else on board with the same last name sitting in 42K. You’re sitting together in 53H and J.
Me: Standing on tiptoe to peer over the high counter and whispering to Jimmy, “It says that right there on our tickets.”
Jimmy: “I know that. I booked them.”
Me: Standing six inches shorter than himself and back down on my heels, “I wish I had realized that sooner.”
Jimmy had been waiting patiently for the BA Rep to realize his mistake. I’d been imagining an attack of claustrophobia in my seat. Panic was the precursor to another trip.
My reward? After a long haul flight and jet lag followed by two straight days of driving through France – a melt-in-your-mouth croissant, sweet crêpes smaller than a saucer and as thin as your hankie and a perfectly brewed café au lait.
Yes, my friends, we’re in France now looking for somewhere to live, as if 48 United States hadn’t enough to offer.
“I’ll probably die before we find somewhere.”
Don’t worry. that was just a comment on our indecisiveness, not Jimmy’s longevity.
Explain to me the logic of returning to that same dealer for our next purchase. Could it have been that we’d trashed the engine on the Chevy Tahoe we bought from them using it to tow a heavy travel trailer twice around the United States so would feel some vindication trading it back to them? Were we feeling too good about ourselves and felt the need for a little abuse? Was it bad karma that for a second time when searching for a vehicle that only this dealer in the whole of the State of Washington had the exact make and model that suited Jimmy? Were the Gods sending us back there to punish us for some heinous crime we were unaware of. Perhaps we were too trusting in human nature. Or were we just stupid?
Disregarding the wrecked engine and gearbox which wouldn’t make itself apparent if it was trialled on the level busy roads around the dealership, Jimmy had studied the trade-in and retail value of the Tahoe and knew to within a few dollars its worth. After a satisfactory test drive in a new truck to pull our trailer, Jimmy quizzed the salesman. There was no sign of Teddy if you’re wondering. “What’s the towing capacity of the truck?”
“That’s the weight of the truck. What’s the towing capacity?”
“I don’t know.” Jimmy knew the answer. The salesman didn’t. Jimmy gave me one of his looks. Here we go again. All I knew was that I wanted the truck because it had a cool reversing camera.
After an appraising glance over our Tahoe, Jimmy was invited into the showroom to talk money. I can’t tell you anything about the salesman as I was trying to close down my radar to anyone involved in car sales after previous experiences.
I was languishing in our Tahoe when Jimmy, hotly pursued by the salesman, came steaming out of the sales office and yanked open my door. “They’ve offered me $8,000 trade-in!”
“You’re kidding!” I said.
“No. Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” trilled a harassed voice.
“That’s an insult!” Jimmy said.
“Come back in the showroom!” said the voice on the edge of panic.
“C’mon. Let’s go.” I said.
“Don’t go!” pleaded the voice.
“I don’t know why I came here in the first place,” said Jimmy.
“Wait, Jimmy. Don’t go!” The salesman, on the verge of a breakdown, obviously needed a few more lessons in the art of negotiation.
The lure of the perfect vehicle was not going to overcome common sense this time. Or was it? The sales manager, not the
lumberjack from the Tahoe purchase but a younger, more thrusting and aggressive man we’d been introduced to briefly before the test drive came running out of the showroom anxious to salvage the sale. His only similarity to the previous sales manager was his dress sense. His rumpled apparel wasn’t fit for a charity shop. So desperate and unprofessional was he that he actually grabbed Jimmy by the arm to stop him getting away! He wasn’t offering any more money, just using a rather surprising bullying sales technique. Jimmy struggled to extricate himself, got in the car, closed the door and started the engine. Why did we go back there? Why? Why? Why?
Driving away, my pulse and blood pressure began to slide down. The throbbing in my head had started to ease when Jimmy’s phone rang. He checked the number and didn’t answer. “It’s them,” he hissed as I continued with my stress-reducing deep breathing exercises. Five minutes later his phone rang again. Same number. I was chanting mantras now, peeeeace and serenity, calm, calm, caaaalm . . . . .
I’m sure anxiety over car purchases is now firmly fixed in my cell DNA. I may need therapy.
There is, however, a happy ending. A few days later, at a Chevrolet dealer just a few miles away from where we were staying in our RV we encountered a polite, laid-back salesman who offered Jimmy $13,000 trade-in for the Tahoe. Better still, he did a deal with the previous unmentionable dealership and got the truck we wanted, at the price we wanted. The icing on the cake was that the unmentionable dealership diddled themselves out of $1500 on the paperwork transaction which came off the final price!!!
We love our Chevy. Car salesmen? Not so much. Not all of them.