I have this old car:
No, not that car. That car belonged to a friend of Tom, who lived next door. I mean this car:
I’ve had this car since the previous century, and when I retired over a year ago Barbara Jean and I agreed to sell the car and just keep hers. I mean, with nobody working what need had we of more than one car? I negotiated with a buyer, and that went nowhere, and in the end we agreed that we can still use two cars. We might not both always want to go to the same place at the same time.
Things worked along. Barbara Jean was thinking this car is now as old as some rock stars, although without so many miles. We should be thinking of replacing it. It would be the last car I would ever own. That was something else to think about.
We had always discussed that any replacement sould be a compact, and not a high-end model. It would be our town car. Cross continental trips would require using Barbara Jean’s Camry. We were thinking a Toyota Corolla.
So Barbara Jean started perusing the local pre-owned market. She showed me this:
This car was listed with six miles on the odometer. (?)
The local dealership had four LE models. Three of them were white. This was the only sliver. She did not want another white car. I agreed. We couldn’t just hop down to the dealer to take a look at the car. We had arrangements for an outing with Nancy and Gary. That’s another story. But before we left to meet up with our friends I did phone the number listed, and I talked to Richard. He said yes, they still had the car. Would I like to come down today (Saturday) and look at it. I explained we had other plans, and we would come on Monday (closed on Sunday). I did ask how a car with six miles was being listed as pre-owned. A car rolls off the production line with six miles. Richard said this sometimes happens when another dealership orders more inventory than they are allowed to. (?) We went off to the Arts and Jazz Festival with Nancy and Gary.
Cavender is a huge dealership in San Antonio, selling multiple brands at locations spread across the city. I watch Time-Warner cable TV a lot, and spots between entertainment are often filled with adds by the company. Famous singer George Strait lives in the area, and he is often featured in ads for the General Motors brand, especially Chevrolet. I often wondered what part of any automobile purchase would go toward what must be a sizable advertising budget. That is going to remain a mystery.
As the other story (above) tells, our adventure at the festival didn’t pan out, and we ended up having a nice lunch at a place called The Cove on Cypress Street. As we wrapped up lunch we realized the dealership was along the route home. We could stop and take a look at the car. Barbara would treat everybody to a yogurt afterwards. We arrived at the dealership:
I told the lady who greeted me we came to speak with Richard. I had talked to him earlier about a car, and I was hoping he could show me the car today. She said she would get Richard for me. She went off. Somebody came to see us. It was not Richard. He said he would show us the car. We told him Richard said they had the car. He said we should go look for the car. It must be outside. I suspected it would be outside. We all went out side and looked for the car.
We looked in the lot by the sales office. We went to the lot across the street. I’m telling you, I don’t think Cowboy Stadium ever parked this many cars for a game. “How about this car?” the man asked. No, that’s not even a Corolla. This one? No, that’s not silver. Well, where is the car? We all went back to the sales office. It was a warm day.
The man went away. Another man came. He would find the car for us. I said, fine. Please do. He said we should come with him to look for the car. I said no, we would wait here in the air-conditioned show room while he went to look for the car. The second man went off “to look for the car.” We waited in the sales area and discussed the science of selling cars.
Gary had in a previous life done this very thing. He explained what was going on. The first man (not Richard) had first dibs on making the sale. He had failed. He could not find the car. The second man was lower on the totem pole and he had been given the shaft, rather the job of “looking for the car” and conducting some kind of business with us. We waited in the show room:
It was comfortable there. And pleasant. Maybe that’s why Barbara Jean had told the second man we would wait 30 minutes for him to find the car. I mentioned I would have given him only ten minutes, then we would have been off to get a yogurt. Besides, in 30 minutes it would be closing time at the dealership.
I don’t recall if the second man ever came back, but a third man, wearing a red shirt, came and explained they were having trouble locating the car. Gary later told me, and I firmly believe, a dealership always knows at all times the location of all its inventory. I remarked that if Barbara Jean were running this operation there would be a computer spread sheet and a relational database identifying the location and status of all high-priced inventory such as automobiles costing many thousands of dollars each. We were long past concluding the dealership no longer had the car or else never had the car to begin with. Their aim was to keep us around until some kind of business could be conducted.
I told the man in the red shirt “Richard has my phone number. He will call me on Monday, and we will come down and look at the car. We live just a few miles up the road.” Goodbye, out the front door, to my old car parked a little ways down the lot. We all trooped over and started getting into the old car. The man in the red shirt rushed up to tell us he just heard from the office that the car had been lent to a customer. We thanked him for the information and left a message for Richard to phone me on Monday.
At the Yogurt Zone near the house we all had big cups of frozen yogurt, and Barbara Jean picked up the tab. Everything worked out just fine in my assessment.