How I Almost Became a Car Salesman — Just So I Could Buy a Car
My first ridiculous revelation: I could afford a leased new car, one even better than my Matrix, and the monthly payments would be less than my old monthly payments, which were $316/month per the deal my ex-husband made.
What I could not afford: a used car, even with financing. The monthly payments were too high; the down payment was too high.
So I could afford a new Nissan or a Hyundai or a Rav4 (but not a new Matrix, because there was no “special incentive” that month. My second ridiculous revelation: those auto company financing incentives, which impose a sort of specious urgency – because the incentive might end – and drive you into a car you never wanted). I could even afford a Prius – I test-drove one and loved it. I have wanted a Prius since they came out, and thought they were too expensive. They’re not!
The various car dealers would try to get me to buy on the spot, but not that hard. They realize that car prices are available on the Internet so tricky pricing and pressure don’t work so well anymore. Or so they said.
It turned out my credit report wasn’t bad at all, despite the ex-husband’s shenanigans. I pay things like student loans on time, with the help of my family and my dwindling 401k.
But I was missing one thing to achieve car financing: a job. You must have a consistent job that actually makes money to put on your credit application. You can’t say, “I’m a freelance writer who sometimes gets paid.”
So I started asking for jobs as I searched for cars. At a local Nissan dealership they took me seriously. The saleslady and I hit it off pretty well, and the dealership was relocating and expanding. Hiring! So I waited the requisite hour until the sales manager finally found the time to talk to me. He was not wearing plaid polyester pants but he did have a missing tooth right in the front of his mouth. Undaunted, I told him all about my sales experience and my interest in cars – I am from Southern California where everyone is interested in cars. I told him about my teenage dream of owning a 1968 Mercury Cougar with the turn lights that blink one-two-three across the ass end of the car. Sexay!
The manager was most encouraging. He told me (insisted again and again) that car sales was no longer sleazy. That I could make $40K to $100K. I really wanted the $40K to $100K.
I had test-driven a Nissan Rogue at the dealership where I was seeking a job. I liked the car a lot but it was too expensive for me without the car sales job. So I decided to wait, hanging onto my Matrix until Mr. Gap-Toothed Manager made a decision. I didn’t want to lease something else, because I felt it would lack integrity to be driving a new Toyota, eg., and selling Nissans.
So my Matrix lease expiration date came and went. I had overpaid so I wasn’t particularly worried.
Meanwhile, the Toyota sales guy contacted me and said that they would be able to give me financing on a new car without the job after all. I had paid the Matrix lease (in the ex-husband’s name) dutifully. So a Toyota Rav4 or Prius would be my safety net if I didn’t get the Nissan job. I had everything covered.
Then my trusty Toyota wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. I called AAA (yes, I am a dutiful member of AAA) and had it jumped. It lasted a couple of days and then died again. I did not want to spend money on a car I was about to turn in. Every time I really needed a car I would have the Matrix jumped – otherwise I pretty much stayed home waiting for the Nissan sales manager to return my numerous messages.
I could have bought my Matrix for under $8,000 cash (from the old 401k) and put in a new battery and brakes and it would have been fine. But I was probably going to be working at Nissan and if that didn’t work out I could get a new Toyota for less money. My luck was going to change!
I had a second interview with the Nissan manager in which he told me basically the same things he told me during our first meeting only in more detail. I was actually excited about the prospect of selling cars. I was looking forward to working with people and not being stuck behind a desk all day (in the interim I was working a temp job that was mind-numbingly dull. And I had almost turned down the temp job because the Nissan sales job seemed so imminent.)
Per the Nissan manager, I went to the dealership at an appointed time to meet the owner. I sensed this was to close the deal. So I appeared, but the owner didn’t seem to know who I was. He didn’t have any questions for me. I introduced myself, shook his hand, made small talk for a little while, and then left.
I exhausted my AAA roadside visits, so I finally turned in my Matrix and rented a car from Enterprise. I thought it would only be for a couple of days. I continued emailing and phoning the Nissan manager – no response. Days went by. I dragged my daughter in one Saturday to see the Nissan manager in person. I was counting on her magical charm to help my cause. We waited around for the amount of time required to remind me that I was a supplicant – then he finally took me into his office for two minutes to explain that he was still interviewing people and that he would know Tuesday.
Tuesday came and went. My emails to the manager went unanswered.
I decided to give it another week, so I continued hemorrhaging money on the rental car. I never heard back from the Nissan guy. He didn’t even contact me to say I didn’t get the job.
So I went to Plan B – a new Toyota. I went to the Toyota guy and filled out the paperwork. It turns out it would take a day or two to get everything approved, even though I thought I had already been approved. So I kept renting the car.
And lo and behold, I was Not Approved. The Toyota guy had said I could get the car without the job, but he hadn’t really checked into it.
So, in an agony of haste, I determined to crack my 401k to buy a used car cash. Since I had had such a good experience with the Enterprise Rental Car people I went to Enterprise used car sales.
By the time I got there I’d been renting a car for almost two weeks and I was in a panic. My salesman, Nate, told me to relax (I was perched on the edge of a chair in his office – in a state, you might say). He helped me find the most appropriate car – a 2009 Pontiac Vibe, for around $13,000 plus all the fees and insurances and whatnot. The killer? It’s essentially a Toyota Matrix, except two-wheel drive instead of my old all-wheel drive. I could have bought my old car and saved myself all of this grief and about $6,000 (additional cost, fees, and the g.d. rental).
When you take money out of your 401k you have to pay 30% tax and a 10% penalty – 40%. That 401k represents my last-ditch emergency money, and I had hoped to use it on some kind of housing. For me a car is a necessity, especially with my son so far away. There’s nothing like spending $15,000 (car, fees, rental car) and feeling badly about the whole thing.
My friends would say that this was God’s way of saving me from being a sleazy car salesman.
Photo by aldenjewel
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook