I can has wheels? o^_^o
We stalked a Camry XLE, the only car I had test-sat and found spine-friendly, for two exhausting weeks. But as negotiations droned on, answers dribbling slowly in uncommitted bits over the course of four visits, the Toyota dealer was expressing disdain for my precious aging Buick, and he failed all week to cinch down a trade-in offer for it. So Saturday we went to another dealer, just to see what they’d give us off the street for my car. And there, laughing and smiling, I drove my first Audi, a Quattro Allroad. Love at first flight.
The salesman with the Audi made a binding trade-in offer within a few minutes–one figure if we bought a car from him, another if we didn’t. And the trade-in wouldn’t effect the negotiated price of the car if we bought it from him. We didn’t even have to wait around in a lobby for 20 minutes while he conferred with his manager behind closed doors–an infuriating recurrent practice we’d endured at the Toyota dealership on all four visits. This salesman actually had authority to set prices of cars and trade-ins. He worked on salary; the Toyota salesman worked on commission. The non-brand dealership crew seemed to have a happier sense of life, they communicated well, they were efficient. They didn’t operate with an internal hegemony that got in the customer’s way. What a concept.
We were not impulsive. We went home and researched the 2001 Audi, as we had the two Camrys formerly under consideration, and my Buick. The Audi’s mileage was good, the condition was beautiful, and the seats were adjustable everywhere; it even had adjustable front and back seat heater controls. Everything: value, maintenance, reliability, all checked out well. I wanted that fetching mossy-olive-green car.
We decided we had simply been on the long route to the right place, and a little over an hour later, we returned to the dealer that had the Audi. I signed over the Buick for a fair trade-in value, signed a sale agreement promising to bring in a check this week, and we drove our new Audi home.
The prospect of owning the Camry had given me a sense of closure, of resolving a necessary task: find a comfortable car that works. Riding in the Audi was that and more: it was fun, I felt happy.
No, even its incredibly comfortable seats and thoughtful layout won’t cure my fibromyalgia and arthritis, but I can ride comfortably for the amount of driving I must do, and that means a lot. I will be more comfortable on road trips when my husband drives than I was on the Buick’s worn-out seats. And I have reasonable hope that Liberty Towing will miss our business.
My pastor referred to “living by halves,” while recapitulating the deficient life of Joash, King of Israel. The Audi seems to me to get the job of being a car done very fully and very well; it goes beyond the margins of being a car. Suddenly any other choice of car would seem a matter of living by halves.
Nor was ours an extravagant choice; the Audi was actually priced slightly lower than the Camry because of an Internet special, and it had a higher Kelley Blue Book value than the Camry.
My pastor made another point as well: that poverty is not sinful, but poverty due to debt is sinful. The Audi is a competent car for us, among other reasons, because we can afford it. And I do appreciate competence.