Thursday, January 20, 2011

The post I've been dreading - Why my Christmas wasn't as merry and bright as it should have been

My husband tricked me into buying a new car.
Now, I know what you're thinking.  A new car is fun and great.  Yes, it is - sorta.

Here's the whole story (in condensed form - yes, this really is the condensed form).

Two years ago I bought a new SUV, a Hyundai Santa Fe which is a smaller SUV, not a giant Suburban.
I got rid of my 7 year old Honda minivan which had 'issues'.  It took me months to decide what to buy and I test drove about 10 different cars and/or small Suv's.  I did tons of research and then decided what I wanted to pay.  I then spent about 2 weeks negotiating via email with 2 different dealerships. 

You should know that I don't do that sitting in the dealership for 5 hours while the salesman speaks to his "manager" about the price I want to pay and then just buy the stupid car at an unfair price just to get out of the dealership and away from these aweful car salesman.  I only negotiate via email now.  The only time I spend at any dealership is when I test drive and when I pick up the car.  It usually takes about 30 minutes to do the paperwork and then I'm out of there.  Plus, we finance through our credit union so there's none of that "being approved" crap.

Anyhoo, I bought the Santa Fe completely by myself.  My husband didn't even see it until he went with me to pick it up.  Having to deal with the car salesmen gives him stress fever blisters, so I didn't think he should have to suffer.
From the moment he saw the Santa Fe, he loved it.  He kept saying that if I changed my mind and wanted to get a Nissan Altima (my 2nd choice), he would sell his truck and take the Santa Fe.
Unfortunately, in the 2 years that I've had the Santa Fe, it's had several mechanical problems - which were all under warranty - causing me to take it to the service dept. of the dealership, to be fixed.  And, instead of ranting about my experience there in great detail EVERY single time I took my car in, I'll just say that I was disappointed by the service dept and fed up with going there.  I had never had to deal with a service department like that before.  It was really a bad experience for me.

At the beginning of December, my car had yet another problem and I was standing in my kitchen ranting and raving when my husband suddenly said, "there's a guy at my work who wants to buy my truck, I'll just sell it to him and you can go buy a new car."  Then he ran to the phone and within 5 minutes had made a deal with the guy.  I was still standing in the kitchen with my mouth open. 
At this point, I didn't really feel like I could say, "no thanks".

There it was, 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas.  I had gifts to wrap, a house to clean, Christmas dinner to plan, teacher's gifts to finish, a school party to prepare for, plus tons of other things going on - oh, and did I mention, a kid home sick with a temp of 101.6?  And there I was, researching current mid sized family sedans, making a list of the 4 I liked, deciding which features or packages I wanted and going to each dealership to test drive.  Oh, did I mention, our credit union was having a 'sale' on finance charges and I had to make a decision and purchase by Dec. 30th to lock in the rate.
So, no pressure or anything.

Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 30th, I was a little stressed.  Of course, there were glitches.  Guy backed out of buying the truck causing us to have to put an ad in the paper.  Luckily, it was not a hard truck to sell and we ended up getting a good price for it.  The dealership that had the car that was my #1 choice didn't want to negotiate at all - kept sending me the MSRP.  Bless their hearts.   I don't pay full price for anything.
Christmas was in the middle of all this.  I was stressed with a short temper.  My DH was stressed.  There was some screaming.  My sweet son had to put up with us.  Although, I do think that it's good for him to see us stressed and screaming because that's real life sometimes.  I think it's good for him to know that yes, we get angry but we still love each other.  And the bad times blow over.

Now the bad time has blown over and we managed to get the car before all the deadlines expired.  We got a REALLY good price on the car - WAY better than I expected.  I was actually shocked by how good of a deal we got.
But, to be honest, I think I would have rather bought later under less stress so that we could have had a nice quiet, relatively stress free Christmas.  All the stress and frustration takes all the fun out of the whole new car thing.  I've had it about 3 weeks now and I'm finally started to enjoy it.

So, that's my aweful story.  It feels good to get it off my chest.  Now I can enjoy the new year and figure out how to work all the buttons on my new car.

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