Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do Overs

So hey, guess what I did on Monday? I bought a new car. And I got a green one.

I took a half day at work on Monday so we could drive down to San Jose and buy the Outback before their special financing ended that night. I ended up leasing so my monthly payment would be lower and had every intention of buying it at the end of the lease.

We left the dealer with the car around 9:45 p.m. We weren't even halfway home and I knew I'd made a mistake. I had opted for the CVT transmission even though I wanted a manual (they're scarce and finding one with the options I wanted was near impossible; there were only 18 in the entire US) and the CVT makes this annoying non-stop whiny/whirry noise (think of the space-car noise from The Jetsons, but a little more quiet).

I'd noticed it before during the first test drive a couple weeks ago, but when we test drove again this last weekend we didn't hear it and we were specifically listening for it. Anyhow, I thought this Outback CVT would be fine. (3 different cars.) I really should have test drove it.

By the time I got home I was making plans to call the dealer first thing in the morning and cancel the extended warranty and had resigned myself to having this car until the lease ran out.

But Scoob said I should let the salesman know I wasn't happy. I'm generally of the opinion that you make your bed and you lie in it. But I really, really wasn't happy. Really. So I started to write an email.

Now mind you, I've completely broken down into tears at this point, it's late, I'm tired, I haven't eaten, and I'm too upset to think about eating. I know how I can be sometimes, and I wanted reassurance that I wasn't imagining the noise or overreacting, so I made Scoob get dressed again and took him out for a spin.

Scoob heard it, though he did think it was as bothersome as I did. But he said, what he hears or doesn't hear doesn't matter, it's my car and I hear it and it is going to annoy me every day for the next 3 years.

So I went back to writing my email but was at a loss; I couldn't come up with the written words to convey how upset I was, but that I wasn't upset with the salesperson, the car, or the dealership. That's when Scoob said I should call the salesman, Page, who had said "Call anytime, as long as it's before midnight." It was 11:48 p.m. I checked. I'm pretty certain he didn't expect me to take him literally.

But Scoob convinced me that Page needed to hear how upset I was, so I called. Thank god I got his voice mail because I could hardly speak between wracking snotty/soggy/sobbing fits. I was a mess and I knew it. Even though I knew it was just a car, you'd think somebody had died the way I was going on.

But Page called back within 10 minutes and told me not to worry. I could bring the car back and they'd find a manual transmission and make sure I was happy. I was not expecting that. For him to call right back or for me to be able to take return the car.

My Forester is in seriously bad shape and I need to get it to Modesto one more time to sell to CarMax (the Subaru dealer noticed the engine knocking and only offered $4000 for it, and CarMax offered $7000). So Scoob and I headed to Budget rental cars this morning to pick up a run around car for my commute (since I knew I was returning the Outback, it just didn't seem right to put more miles on it), the drive back to San Jose, and the trip to Modesto to sell the Forester because we'll need a way to get home.

I rented an economy class car for a week for $140! That's a super good price! I was looking up coupon codes for car rentals and ran across Rental Car Momma. The same one-week rental ran close to $300 when we were in Raleigh a few weeks ago. So I wanted to pass along that link. The guy at the Budget counter said the discount was even better than his employee discount. As much as I'd rather not be spending money on a rental at all, at least I found a good deal.

So I worked another half-day today and we took the Outback back to the dealer. They were able to locate the dark grey manual Outback I mentioned earlier and are having it transferred. I should be able to pick it up tomorrow evening.

I know it's a bit more than I wanted to spend and it has options I just really don't care about, but I will be much happier with this car than the one I took home Monday night. And the dealer gave me the same (now expired) financing/leasing specials they'd been offering on Monday when I made the first purchase. All told, the switch between cars only increased my monthly payments by $11.

Obviously I'm a super happy camper at this point. But wait. There's more. The dealer sent Scoob and I home with a loaner so I wouldn't need to pay for a rental. Not only that, but they specifically pulled up a 2011 dark grey Outback as my loaner. It's a CVT, but other than that, it's the car I'll be driving for a long time to come.

You would think that the dealer has gone above and beyond at this point. But they're not done yet. The finance guy let me charge my down payment to my credit card. They'll have to pay a fee for such a large charge, but since my credit is good (I knew it was good, but even I was shocked when he told me my number) and I'll get 2 points per dollar, they agreed to do it. And that's going to go a long way toward helping me accumulate points to get reimbursed for OAK<–>RDU airfares.

So Page (salesman), Rusty (sales manager), and Gus (finance guy), thank you, thank you, thank you. No really. THANK YOU! I already sing praises for Subaru cars and service, so you didn't have to win me over. And I was contractually obligated to keep and pay for the car I came home with. You guys are outstanding.

If you're ever shopping for a new car in the Bay Area, be sure to visit Page and the sales team at Capitol Subaru in San Jose. He will take good care of you, and you'll feel like you've made a friend by the time you leave. That either makes Page one really good actor/salesman, or one genuinely nice guy. I'm going with the latter.

This picture makes me think of wedding photos from the early 1900s. You know the ones where neither the bride nor groom can seem to muster a smile. It's a partnership that you can tell from the get-go is just going to be awkward.

It's not you. It's me. We can still be friends. Promise.

Love it when a relationship is this easy to get out of and ends amicably.

I made Scoob take another picture when we were about to leave for the dealership. I was tearing up off and on all day whenever I would think about the situation, but it's all smiles now. I hope Mr. Green Jeans finds a good and appreciative partner. He's a good catch. Just not for me.

My poor silver Forester is parked on the other side. We packed up its contents this afternoon.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow, and after his morning meeting Scoob and I will drop of the rental so we'll only need to pay for 1 day, then we'll take the loaner and the Forester out to Modesto and get this wrapped up. The CarMax offer is only good for 7 days, so it is a priority to get it done since it makes up the bulk of my down payment (that has already been charged to my credit card, yikes!). I'm afraid if it goes past 7 days and they have to do another inspection they'll notice the knocking and the offer will be a lot lower. If we make it in before the deadline, they'll honor the original offer with no additional inspections as long as it wasn't in an accident.

So I'll get one last drive in the Forester going over the hill to Modesto. My favorite car ever. I'll probably cry some more tomorrow when we say good-bye.


  1. Isn't it nice when you not only get great service, but with a smile? Seems like that's hard to come by these days (at least in my town).

    Have fun with your new car! Who knows? Maybe you'll love it even more than your Forester!

  2. I'm happy that your dealer is a nice guy, I remember the one from whom I bought my new car. It was really nice to read this post.