Jennifer (gaaneden) wrote,


Abstract Thoughts has been updated with The Mouse Roars - which is all about my car buying experience.

March 26
The Mouse Roars

Most of you are aware that I have this tendency to let myself be run over but stand up in prickly mode for my friends. I've been wondering why this is and why I don't say, "Hey! Don't treat me like that. I don't like it." So, I've been working on it. Not always so successfully, but baby steps and all that.

Lucas film wipe to my car buying experience at Toyota of Kirkland.

So, I decided I should buy a new (to me) car. Diane pointed out this great car buying program through Costco. It really is a good deal. I signed up for it and was called by Nick from Toyota dealer. Nick Shami at the Toyota of Kirkland gets my "Highly Recommended" stamp of approval. He listened to what I wanted. He treated me with respect. He answered all my questions and, based on my wants and needs, he recommended the cheaper, lower end Matrix. Looking at the prices of the used Matrix cars available and the price of the 2006 Matrix on the Costco program, I would actually pay less for the brand new car.

That's what I decided on. However, I also have the rule that I need 24 hours to think about any new (to me) car I buy. I will not buy on the day I first go in. I've done this for every car I've bought. I've even lost a car to this rule. I know what I'm doing and why I do this. Nick was very nice about it all. After he asked me, "Is there anything I can do to have you sign papers today?" and I answered, "No." he dropped the matter completely.

His manager came over to talk to me but fumbled his communication skill at being visibly shocked at the amount of money I was willing to put down on the car (about half). He thought it was a mistake; that I had accidentally added an extra zero. No. That is a five digit number for a reason. Yes, I have excellent credit. No, I am not buying this car today. No, there is nothing you can do to change my mind.

Nick called me on his day off - exactly 24 hours later - to ask me what I had decided. I told him I would be in on Saturday to buy the car. Saturday rolls around and I go in with my room mate (he wanted to see how much his old car would go for since I'm selling him my Saturn.) I did have to go with my second choice in color, the dark cobalt blue, because the shadow/phantom gray is exceedingly popular and has a 90 day waiting period. Nick and I confirm the deal and I'm sent into the accounting part of things.

This is when the trouble started. I got the one female in the accounting department and she was a very hard seller, up-selling the warranties. It's her job. I know it. But, after Nick's respectful and pleasant demeanor, this was like a slap in the face with a wet fish. I went into "miserly, worried about money, nervous woman" mode. I ended up negotiating the best warranties I could get for 7 years, 70K miles and general maintenance for about $300/month. That was my hard limit. I did not want to go over $300/month for a car payment. Period. She finally agreed to it with many disbelieving looks and much eye rolling. Ron mentioned that she was getting on his nerves because she went into "baby talk for the stupid woman" mode.

In the end, I did get what I wanted but it really pissed me off. It ended a good car buying experience on a very bad note.

Lucas film wipe to this morning where the Costco rep and the main manager for the dealer emails me in a follow up.

I wrote him this email.

Hello Curt,

I did have a good experience for most of the time I bought the car from your dealership. Nick Shami is an excellent, no pressure sales guy who listened to me and respected my wishes. I'm very glad I got to meet him.

However, when I went to sign the paperwork with Vanessa (I believe that was her name); it was a shock to be slapped in the face with her hard sell tactics to up-sell the warranties. I am certain that this is part of her job but the contrast between Nick's approach and her approach left a sour taste in my mouth. I became extremely uncomfortable in her office to the point of considering calling the whole thing off.

She did, in the end, work things to my wishes and the budget I had set up for myself while selling me a decent warranty. I just could have done without the disbelieving looks and eye rolling.

Jennifer Brozek

An hour later, Curt called me, profusely apologizing for her behavior and wanted to know what he could do to make it up to me. He couldn't take back the experience but he could try to make it better. He offered me free oil changes. I told him I had accepted the best warranties Toyota had and I have almost no out of pocket expenses for the new car except the most basic uncovered wear-and-tear (windshield wipers, brake pads) on the car for the next 7 years. He promised me he would look at the deal and see if there was anything he could do. He would call me back Monday evening at let me know. Would that make it all better? I told him that I could not accept it until I knew what he was offering but I did appreciate the effort he was putting into it.

So, we'll see what happens. I probably should have just shut her down but I think I did get a pretty good deal in the end, even though I had to work at it and put up with the woman's attitude. My new car gets here next week with all the bells and whistles and I can't wait!

Tarot Card for the Day: Page of Pentacles, Inverted

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