Adventures in Car Shopping

Earlier this year I had, what can best be called, an interesting car shopping experience, and I posted a small item of interest.

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.

I’m retired, and new car ownership is not in my game plan. However, a local dealership was advertising pre-owned Toyota Corrolas that seemed to fit my budget.


That would have been just fine with me, and Barbara Jean and I were prepared to make the deal for this car. If only the car had actually existed.

That experience put us off car buying for the near future. I was growing to love my old car all the more. Still, Barbara Jean had this notion. Driving a 15-year-old car was maybe not the wisest thing.

So it was Wednesday. It was the long awaited day. We were heading off to Boerne for lunch at Centinela Mexican Restaurant & Bar with FACT, the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas. On the way out (what was I thinking?) I casually mentioned to Barbara Jean, maybe we should check out the Toyota dealership in Boerne.

Lunch at Centinela was just great, as usual, and the conversation was lively and enlightening. Piling back into my old car after lunch, Barbara Jean fired up the Garmin navigator, and searched for the local dealership. It was right back south on the interstate.

What a refreshing difference. We were actually treated like adults. We told the salesman what we wanted. He did not have what I was looking for in a used Corolla. He told us he didn’t have it. What a grown up concept! He did show us what he did have. We decided to wait until they did have what I wanted and made a note to come back in maybe November.

But Barbara Jean saw what she wanted. Barbara Jean had this Camry she had bought used from the Plano dealer six years ago. Miles were piling up on it (66,000 and counting). Toyota of Boerne had some fresher stock. Would Barbara Jean like a new or newer car? Barbara Jean would.

We looked at several, and Barbara Jean decided she liked the demo model with 5100 miles on it at a reduced price. It had alloy wheels and a moon roof. Snazzy. And it was the right color.

One problem. Barbara Jean left home without her check book. And we needed to trade in her old car. We had ridden to Boerne in my old car. Barbara Jean’s old car was back in the garage in San Antonio. The title was in the file cabinet back in San Antonio. We couldn’t close the deal that day. We got ready to leave.

The salesman asked if we would like to leave a check to hold the car. I said I did not want to do that. It was maybe five p.m. I figured there was no way they were going to sell a floor model before they closed the doors that day. We made an appointment to return at ten a.m. Thursday morning with Barbara Jean’s old car, but I advised the salesman that if anybody wanted to buy the floor model before we got back, then he should not hesitate on our account. In total it was a very pleasant car shopping experience.

And we piled back into my old car.

In the mean time I had mentioned to Barbara Jean a conversation with a previous wife. She had purchased her car at San Marcos Toyota. Barbara Jean punched the San Marcos dealership into the navigator, and we headed out over back roads to San Marcos. 6:30 p.m. and we were there.


Another pleasant shopping experience. A salesman named Chambers took care of us. We were only looking for a Camry for Barbara Jean. The dealership in Boerne had given us turn-key price for the floor model, taking into account the trade-in they were prepared to give for Barbara Jean’s old car.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chambers informed us looking over his list of inventory, he did not have any pre-owned cars with Barbara Jean’s mileage limitations. And he told us so. How refreshing!

But the new inventory was most acceptable. Chambers invited Barbara Jean to drive the car. Barbara Jean and I said we did not need to drive the car. We had driven Barbara Jean’s Camry from Texas to Seattle to Key West and back to Texas, where it was now parked in the garage in San Antonio. We knew what it was like to drive a Camry. You push down on the gas, and you go forward. Chambers insisted, and I knew why. When you drive a car you bond with it. So Barbara Jean drove all three of us around San Marcos Toyota’s expansive lot. I told Chambers we would not really know how the car performed until we got it up to 85 mph on Texas 130.

We told Chambers we needed to trade in Barbara Jean’s old car. We told him it was in top shape with at least 64,000 miles. He gave us a trade in value. It was completely satisfactory. He gave us a turn-key price. Again quite acceptable. We decided to buy the car.

Problem was, Barbara Jean left home earlier that day without her check book. Also without her old car and the car title. No problem, Mr. Chambers, assured us. He would drive the new car to our house in San Antonio that night (it was by now closing time at the dealership), and he would take ownership of the old car and also pick up the check from Barbara Jean.

So it was that Chambers and Barbara Jean arrived at our house shortly after me about 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Barbara Jean sat at the dining table and signed over her old car and gave Mr. Chambers a check for the new car.

All together, it was a very pleasant car shopping experience. People, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

One thought on “Adventures in Car Shopping

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Car Shopping | Skeptical Analysis

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