Friday, August 14, 2009

back-to-school shopping

This is a follow-up to my previous post about MP1's new car. I think anyone who has purchased a car in the last 100 years knows what a hard sell the business office begins once they've got you in the office to sign the loan papers. This person, who checks one's credit, draws up the loan papers, obtains one's signature on 40 different documents (at least that number, when cashing in a clunker) etc., is motivated by commission to sell you an even better (i.e. more costly) warranty, on-call road service, anti-theft this-n-that, and the famous inside and out sealant. Having been through all this quite recently, with the purchase of my Prius (2 years ago counts as recent in our family--especially where new cars are concerned), I was fully prepared to keep this guy from a) selling us stuff we didn't need, and b) trying to fold what we did decide to buy into the loan price. He was pretty disappointed when I related that the Toyota finance agent had a big snit-fit when I refused to purchase the already-installed-by-the-dealer anti-theft device (he had to send someone out to remove it from the car and was absolutely furious that I wouldn't pay for it). I realize these folks need to make some money on their side of the car sale, but it is our money they are going after. So the other night, this guy realized pretty quickly that we weren't going to be suckers for all these add-ons that would effectively raise our purchase price by the very same amount we'd gotten through their rebate: $3,000.00. But he did try, and I suppose he has too. I could just feel his pain as he was forced to delete item after item that he had ever so hopefully added onto our loan. We ended up going for only 1 add-on, the sealant. I did this for my Prius and it does help to protect the car (especially the exterior finish, which is very important when parking daily under sappy trees, or--in the case of MP1--without benefit of garage). Both our cars have white leather interiors and in truth, I don't think we needed them "sealed." We buy leather for its durability, versus its resale, since we tend to drive our cars till they are literally all worn out. However, there is no option to go for just the exterior sealant, so we got the price knocked down by $100.00, wrote a check for that amount, and then made an appointment to have the job done that Friday.

This day also happened to be TH's first formal "furlough Friday," and given the fact that a) the dealership would need the car for quite a few hours and b) there is a very nice mall nearby, we decided to turn this into a back-to-school shopping day for MP2, who needed a few special items for when he performs. He has been wearing the same dress-shirt and couple of ties for several years, so I was thrilled that he actually wanted something new (he is a committed non-consumer of everything, but music).

Once we got to the mall, TH and MP1 went one way (blue-tooth device shopping), and MP2 and I headed off to Macy's. I had the sales clerk take his measurements and here is what we bought. I love it all, but especially the paisley.

Very jazz-musician worthy, I think. The white shirt has french cuffs,
so we found some very stylish cuff-links for that.

New shoes!

These handsome, Ecc* Berlin, bicycle-toe, dress shoes will be very comfortable for the long hours of standing up, playing the horn. [Side note: they were a little more expensive than some similar brands, but they've got great rubber soles. It was easy to justfy buying them for that reason alone. But I also felt like they were practically free because they cost almost to the penny the same amount of money that I had just, a few nights before, emptied out of one of our many change jars and rolled up to take to the bank. We throw all our loose change into one or another container--we've got several around the house--and then TH and MP2 inspect it for old or rare coins before we turn it in.]

This was my big purchase for the day.
A new Paul Fr*nk silicone iPhone case. Isn't it cute?


Anonymous said...

OK all good things to hear/read as we get closer to our D-day on car; LOVE the i-Phone case. Love paul frank. Back to the car: Are there places where we can get an exterior sealant (only) since we, too, don't want any add ons and if we did want exterior sealant we are going to do the interior sealant ourselves!

auto ethnographer said...

Honestly, I think it is all a big, big rip-off (i.e. you can wax your car regularly for a lot cheaper and achieve exactly the same results), especially if you use your garage to store your car. Coming from the land of salt-water humidity, where the underbelly of cars do over (long) time develop rust, I still hear the words "exterior sealant" and think even though our climate doesn't require anything of the sort. I just googled the brand name of the sealant on MP1's car and all the discussion on the car geek boards was about how it was "easy $ for the dealer." I don't what brand I let them put on my Prius, but I paid $95.00 more for it two years ago than we just paid to have it applied to her car. PLUS, in digging through my car sales paper, I see that I also let myself get suckered into paying $1830.00 for an extended warranty on my Prius. I still remember the sales pitch: on the desk of "the closer" sits some piece of computer hardware that relates to the hybrid technology. "This is all very new and complicated," yadayadayada. I think both TH and I just wanted out of there, and apparently paid about 2300.00 more than necessary to make the jail-brake!(Only time will tell if I really need that additional 84 mo.s/100,000 mi. warranty; I'm guessing no.) The other night we turned this down very confidently on the Sonata. Really, I'd rather pay the big repair charge than front them $$ before I know I need it.

auto ethnographer said...

OMG--lots of words missing from that last comment. I should do a better job proofing this stuff. But you get the gist of it all. Will send the brand name in email.