|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 3:49 PM|
Wow. First off…just, Wow! OK, so my parents have been on the magnanimously generous giving streak of all giving streaks lately, and I have somehow managed to secure myself a First Class ticket aboard this gold and velvet lined gravy train. (The irony of this is that, as I’ve gotten older and – slightly – more successful and have needed their help and generosity less and less, they have become inversely more and more giving. It’s kind of like the reverse psychology of giving. “Dad, no, really, I don’t need anything.” “No, son! You must have this! Take it! I want you to have it!” Mind you, I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that I wish I could have cashed in on some of this gravy train back when I was in high school working practically full-time at Jack-in-the-Box, this existence’s version of the Mines of Mordor, with open, roaring flames and giant pits spewing grease and ichor on unsuspecting workers. Oh, and a white, racing pinstripe down the sides of your their-just-never-gonna-fit-right work jeans.)
So, part of this Gift Bonanza was a car. As in, my parents gave me a car. Now, it wasn’t a *new* car, but still. How many of you NOT celebrating a sweet-sixteen can say that your parents GAVE you a car? Even when I did turn 16, my parents didn't give me a car. (They did match my funds up to $3000, which was still pretty sweet. Not "here's your new car!" sweet, but sweet none-the-less.) And, while not new-new, this car is a 2008 Toyota which makes it 10 years newer than my car. And if you have ever heard those Urban Legends about the little old lady that kept her car in the garage and only drove the car down the road to play Bingo, that’s this car. Except the little old lady is my dad. And instead of just keeping it in the garage, he kept it in the garage covered with blankets. Two blankets. Which he only removed when it was time to rub the car down with a diaper. Sadly, I fear that this car’s lifestyle is in for a rude awakening…So, before I continue, many BIG THANKS to mom and dad for the Toyota! I only wish that you'd splurged for the keyless entry! (I kid because I love...)
So, I suddenly found myself having one car too many this past weekend and my dad suggested that I sell my car – a ’98 Honda Civic – to get enough money to put some new tires on the Toyota. Now, I have never sold a car before so I wasn't entirely sure of the procedure or best way to go about it. My previous cars both met with sudden, untimely endings. (Car #1, a Volkswagen GTI, ended up totaled after I rolled it into a ditch. Car #2, a Volkswagen Scirocco caught on fire while Dana was driving it on her way to pick me up. I’ll never forget the frantic phone call which interrupted me giving a golf lesson. “The car is on fire and it looks like it’s gonna explode! I’ve gotta go!” Click! As I stand there staring at the dead phone handset wondering “What the…?!?” We drove straight from my work to the Honda dealer. The Honda was Car #3.)
I have a friend, Chris, who works for car dealerships detailing and touching-up cars on the lot so I asked him if he thought the car dealer would be interested in buying my car. He said sure, but that I’d get a lot more going private sale. I didn’t really want the hassle of it, the car has 129,000 miles on it so I don’t want someone buying it and then coming back and saying I sold them a deathtrap that stranded their pregnant wife in the middle of nowhere and now how am I gonna feel living the rest of my life with that blood on my hands, but Chris said he knew someone who was actually looking for a first car for his daughter and he’d put the guy in touch with me. Yesterday the guy comes by, walks all around the car, drives the car and then comes back and asks what I want for it. I tell him I’d like to get $1500. He says he can be back in an hour with $1200. This is not the counter-offer I was looking for, so – world-class salesman that I am – I held firm with my $1500, telling him that since he’s the first person that has seen it I want to see if I can do better. On the way home, I swing by the Honda dealer just for a laugh. The used car manager comes out and he circles my car, gets down and looks under it, squeezes its udders and checks its teeth and tells me that he thinks he can get around $3000 for it, but he can offer me $2000. I ask if he can do $2500 and he says that would take all the fun out of it. I assured him that $2500 would most definitely *not* take any fun out of it for me, but he held firm.
At this point I’m a bit giddy with dollar signs. I’ve gone for selling it for new tire money, to $1200 to $2000 to…something. So this morning, I get a cell call while I'm in the shower. Turns out it is $1200. He asks if I went to the Honda dealership. I said I did and that they offered me $2000. Then he hits me with, "Who'd you talk to there?" So I tell him the manager's name. "Well, I told him you was comin' and I called him this mornin' and he said he dint see you last night." I assure him that I did indeed talk to him and that he offered me $2000 on the spot and that now, obviously, the $1500 offer was no longer on the table. But that I would be willing to entertain an offer of $2500. I can tell the guy is like seething on the other end and still somehow mysteriously thinking that I lied about seeing the Honda manager. So he says, "Well. Good luck to you then." Click! But the way that he said it came across as more of something like Clint Eastwood would say before sending a bullet into someone's head. In fact, I'm really feeling that instead of "Good luck!" he really means something more along the lines of "You've got to call it..." because the tone in his voice neither left me feeling either especially "Good" nor "lucky."
So this morning I come in to work and decide to list it on Craig’s List. Now, I’ve never used Craig or his list, but I hear he’s a right fair chap and that he has a way with the ladies and that he knows a thing or two about moving used merchandise. In minutes I create an account, type in a spiffy little description, shoot a couple of pictures with Lady Phone, and then, voila! It’s posted.
Within minutes, and I swear to God it was *minutes* of me hitting upload, I get an e-mail. Then while I’m going to open the e-mail, I get a phone call. “I saw your ad. I’m driving down from Loris right now (about an hour away). I am very interested. Please don’t sell until I get there.” So while he is on his way, I e-mail the other guy and he immediately jumps in his car and heads over. The ass part of me (which, let’s face it, probably makes up about 72% of the John persona) immediately thinks, “BIDDING WAR!!!” but I decide to ride the karma-love train and tell the second guy that he can come look, he may even touch, but he may not take my girl to bed until the first suitor has had his day. (The last time I jilted karma, I nearly got my leg sheared off by a US Air handicap golf cart in Charlotte. The stakes seem a lot higher here, and I don’t want anything above my leg getting sheared off for a few extra bucks...)
So, E-mail looks and says he wants it if the other guy doesn’t. Then he leaves and sends like three follow-up e-mails. This dude has a fever, and the only prescription is more Cow Bell! And my Honda. So Loris finally arrives – after a few “I’m on my way! Please don’t sell it!” cell calls – and this dude is clearly Jones-ing for the car. Loris was the total Nerdlinger of Honda Civics. He’s telling me about the history of this model, the problems with the automatic version, the improvements they’ve made, where you can look for – yep, right here! Oh, this doesn’t have it! Oh, man, it’s in great shape! – a tell-tale bulge that shows some problem or other. This guy is rattling off things about my car I never knew or cared to know. How he’s been looking for an HX – my special high-gas mileage model – for months and how he was going to drive to Tennessee to look at one and how he just couldn’t believe his luck when my ad popped up. Clearly, I have found my car’s new and rightful owner. So he makes me an offer about $250 less than I’m thinking. I explain how E-mail already has designs on her if he doesn’t want… “OK. Fine. I’ll pay!” So Loris runs to the bank and brings me back…$3250.
So, Craig’s List, my hat is off to you. You took me from $1200 to $2000 to $3250 and probably could have gotten me a bit more. I’ll be drinking your commission tonight out of a martini glass!