Thursday, January 31, 2008

I have a confession to make

I know a lot of Christians would think this is just wrong, but I have a fascination with poker. I don't actually play it, but when it's on TV and I surf by I have to stop and watch. I'm fascinated (Hi Alicia!!!) by the math - the odds that I have a better hand than you, the memory it takes to do that. The most interesting thing to me is that it is a ritualistic kind of game. Opponents look for certain weaknesses in each other, and betting and raising and calling and checking becomes part of this whole involved ritual that makes the game more than anybody with just a passing interest will ever master. There are a million versions of it, but everything comes down to perception, weakness, and math.

So does car shopping.

I'm exhausted after my first day of it - all the stepping and sidestepping and what do you know, I found a typo on the web price for that 06 Altima with 26,000 miles, but we have to honor the price. And man where DID we put that car? I try not to be cynical, but I am also not stupid. After two hours of exhausting, side-stepping dance I finally went home completely angry.

But, I have realized after a night of tossing and turning and being totally offended that the whole car industry is based on debt and emotion and occasional thievery. And, it reminds me of poker. Some things I have learned: don't say your final number is $12k when you brought in an ad for a car that's $14k. They will get you to 14. Believe they are watching you and listening more to what you say than you are listening in your own head. It's their job. Nobody gets a deal at a car lot. "Fair" is good. "Deal" isn't going to happen.

I called back. We'll see if there's a deal to be made. If not, an identical car is in a private listing in the paper today for $1500 less, and I think it's worth a phone call anyway.


Blogger Roadchick said...

You may want to try Carmax. I bought my car there without any hassle or heartache. I looked up the Blue Book price online before I went in and the Carmax price was right between the prices for "Private Seller" and "Car Dealer".

Good luck! Buying a car is NOT much fun.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

SWEET! Will try.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I was actually going to suggest Carmax as well- my husband has worked there for 10 years and it is a great company. An upside is that you can go to their website and shop from home- you can even have a car delivered from another Carmax to the one closest to you. happy shopping!

3:00 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

We were going to tell you about Carmax too! I think you've reached consensus so get thyself to Carmax.

Also, re poker, Tim wants to know if you've seen the movie Rounders yet.


5:13 PM  
Blogger sharon said...

What's wrong with poker - I love to watch it, and even play it occasionnally - but for pennies.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Alicia said...

Hi Jen!!! I think poker is great too, it's probably putting money on it that is the objectionable part. It really is a skill to understand the statistics, I love it when they do it for you on the screen :)

re: car shopping, I went through that a couple years ago.. Carmax only seems to be good on the buying end, they don't give you snot for a trade in (this statement is based on when my brother tried to sell them an Acura CL, and when my parents took in their Accord Hybrid and were quoted 10k less than blue book value..). Not to discourage, just sayin. I ended up getting a brand new car and finagling my way down to a monthly payment I could handle. Then I got all the warranty and roadside assistance stuff that came with it, which was peace of mind after my unreliable old car started into a series of major system failures (power steering pump, intake manifold seals..). I think if I had a nest egg saved up for a car, I'd go for new and put a huuuge down payment on it. Then the monthly payment would be reasonable (assuming they'd finance the remainder). If your heart isn't set on an Altima, you could get a Sentra with similar specs as an Altima 2.5S for an even lower price.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Roadchick said...

They actually did really well on the trade-in for me - I guess know what your car is worth before you go in.

Good luck!

9:18 PM  
Blogger SagePixie said...


the use of the car feature is totally worth a COSTCO membership. However, I LOVE COSTCO so there you go.

COSTCO has a website where you put in the car you want and the spec you want and they find the place closest to you and get you fleet pricing on the car. They send you a paper with everything pertinant on it and a salesperson from the dealership calls to see when you want the car. it's pretty slick!
I'll never buy a car the regular way again.

Love and Laughter,

9:55 PM  

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