Yesterday I biked eight miles out to the western edge of town and bought myself a car. Before I left the dealership, I folded down the back seats and slipped my bike in, without taking off the front wheel. This is why they call it the Fit, and why we wanted it as our new car.
In Europe and Asia Honda calls it the Jazz. We know this because it was all over the streets of Thailand and Cambodia when we were there in January. We were already very interested in buying one, but seeing its prevalence across poorer countries — where gas mileage is even more of a concern than it is here — heightened that interest. The problem was the visceral disdain both Sarah and I shared for the car buying process.
Fortunately there was Jerry. Jerry is the father of our friend Scott, and Jerry is apparently a car buying maven. Scott enlisted him to help us seek out a Fit in the area, and even whip out that patented Jerry charm and haggle the guy down to a reasonable price. It turns out that the Fits are so hot these days that even getting them at sticker is a rarity. After much calling around to dealers, calling me back, calling them back, calling me back, and calling them back, he finally nailed the guy down at sticker on a new Silver Automatic Sport model Fit. All I had to do was go pick it up.
It was, all things considered, relatively painless. There was only one point of contention — those stupid pinstripes. I was warned by Jerry and everyone to not pay for ANYTHING extra, especially pinstriping. Well, they got me. I tried haggling them out of it, but because they were already giving me a bargain, I really had no leverage, which, as any good haggler knows, is the cornerstone to any successful compromise. So I relented. He also apparently threw in rubber strips on the door for “free.” Whoop-dee-do.
The most painful part was the waiting, most of which was in the lobby of the finance area, waiting for a rep to see me. For this, I had come prepared. I called my bank to see what kind of loan they could give me, and when the rep threw out an interest rate, I was able to whip out mine — only .1 percent lower, but still — and get her to match. Then, suddenly, it turned into a game of Jewish geography. She not only personally knew our car insurance agent, but she also was friends with Sarah’s aunt and uncle — they all went to summer camp together. She got nostalgic a little bit, and I didn’t mind, because I was sure this would get me a discount on the extended warranty or something. After all, isn’t that what having the Jewish connection is all about? Alas, no dice.
As I drove home, I would casually roll the window up and down — oh, sorry, did I say “roll”? How quaint. Those days are over, baby. I got me electronics. It’s all over this Fit, unlike the old-century Neon, which was one step up from a pinebox derby entry, and not nearly as fast.
At home, I met up with Sarah, who’d been spending the evening at a work meeting then reading at a cafe, counting her blessings that she somehow got out of this whole endeavor. She showed up, god bless her, with a coookies-n-cream milkshake for me, as my prize for conquering this mountain alone. I slurped it down as we swapped over the plates and marveled at our new beauty. We named her Jerry.