Friday, September 28, 2012

Adventures in Automotive Acquisition

So, we are in Wood River, at Keya's parents' house.  We came straight here after picking up her new car.  She is now the proud owner of a beautiful 2009 Pontiac G6.  If you want the specs of the car, I'll be happy to share elsewhere.  I'm guessing most of my loyal readers (HAHA!  Reader) care not for such trifles.  Here's the deal, though.  There's a reason I stick with one dealer when I find one I like.  We looked at nearly every dealership between Grand Island and Council Bluffs.  That's not the part that threw me.  Now, this blog is in response to a couple of friends who wanted funny back in the blogs.  10-4.  File this one in both "If only you knew who you were talking to," as well as, "Did you really just say that s**t to me and expect me not to find out?"

I am doing my best to only repeat what was said to me/us.  I am not doing this to bad mouth a specific dealership or dealerships.  I am just sharing honestly.

First dealership - H&H Kia in O-town (Bro, don't lie to me):
Our salesman claimed to be a former Marine.  Now, he was built about like me.  I'm not saying he WASN'T a former Marine, but he neither looked or acted the part based on my experience with Marines.  Not the point.  While driving the car (A brand new Kia Forte), we were talking about this, that or the other.  I mentioned that I had seen very few USED Forte sedans, and he said they're hard to find based on the fact that they have a phenomenal warranty (Which is true.  10 yr/100,000 miles powertrain) and that they hadn't had one in quite some time.  Really, I think the reason is because the model's only been around since 2010.  However, he promised that if one came in, he'd call us.  As we re-mount my motorcycle, we realised we were parked right in front of a USED KIA FORTE WITH H&H plates!  WTF?!  Dude, seriously.  You BLATANTLY lied to me!  Now, it's possible that he didn't know, but there was no hesitation, no "I don't think we've had one for awhile," just a "No."
I had also asked him about any new 2012's still on the lot.  Nope.  They hadn't had one in over a month as the 2013's were coming in.  Upon returning to my place, I looked online and, low and behold, they had a 2012, brand new Kia Forte in stock.  WHAT THE HELL?!
Brandon had already lost me by this point, but then, a week later, they got a used Kia Forte Koup in stock.  Keya wasn't particularly interested in the Koup, but had mentioned that she'd drive one.  What does he go and do?  Schedule a test drive presumptively.  I.  You.  WHAT?  Never, NEVER in my life has THAT happened.  In other news... they'll be getting a politely worded, but anger-ridden email later.  I swore I'd never buy a car from them because their ads irritate me to no end.  Their salesman only helped re-assure me in that decision.  Don't lie to me, bro.

Second dealership - Anderson Auto Group in St. Joe, MO; Lincoln, NE; and Grand Island, NE (I was neither born at night, nor was I born last night):
Anderson was of particular interest to us because they have stores in both Grand Island (where her parents work and live 10 miles west) and in Lincoln (there are two stores there, and Keya lives there, I'm working there and soon to move there).  Browsing their website, I find a 2012 Ford Focus listed for 14,900 with an MSRP of just over 22,000.  OOOHH!!!  YES!  She was interested in the Focus, this store was in GI, her parents could go look at it.  YES!  DO IT!  I immediately emailed the store using the link on the website.  I get a message back fairly quickly.  The message said (in short, as I no longer have the message, and it was fairly verbose, as was my response) that they knew the car I was talking about, and indeed, it was still there, and that will all of the discounts it was 19k.  Wrote back and asked why it was listed at 14-9.  I didn't hear back and didn't hear back.  About a half hour later, I refreshed the page and magically, the price was 19k!  WHOA!  Welp, guess I brought that to their attention.  I expected a contrite, but gracious email telling me that they'd fixed the price and sorry for the confusion. No, NO!  That's not the choice this dealership made.  His email said that he'd checked the website and the price was, in fact, 19k, and he wasn't sure as to how I'd been confused, but he was sorry for the confusion.  I know this is getting old, but WHAT THE HELL?!  Seriously, dude?  Yeah, both my girlfriend and I (combined IQs somewhere north of 270) mistook a 4 for a 9.  Oh, did I mention I didn't receive this email for over 5 hours after my previous reply?!  (That last sentence makes me uncomfortable, but I want to you to share that with me, so I'm not changing it)  Yeah, 5 hours.  I wrote him back, letting him know I didn't like being treated like an idiot, that I'd bought WAY too many cars in my day to be treated like I didn't know anything.  I used as many big words as I knew/could look up on in the email to prove to him I'm all SMRT and junk.  I also told him that I'd have had a hell of a lot more respect for him if he'd just said, "You're right, thank you for bringing that to our attention, and we've fixed the problem."  The next day, he sent me an email saying that they must have fixed the problem over the weekend and it had taken 24 hours to update on the site.  Now, my computer friends out there, tell me if that's realistic that a car dealership with 4 stores wouldn't have the technology to instantly update the website.  I feel like it's too much of a coincidence that within a half hour of me bringing it to their attention, it then updated.  IDK.
ANYWAY, in spite of that, Anderson continued to come through with vehicles that were interesting to Keya.  I had time to kill between work and volleyball practice and ran over to their Lincoln North store to see what they had.  Saw a couple of cars I really liked and got to talking to a salesman who mentioned that they move cars between stores all the time.  I asked if there was a transfer fee, and he said no.  They had a couple Kia Fortes at their store in St. Joe's, Missouri and I knew those would be at the top of our list.  He indicated it wouldn't be a problem.  I had to run to volleyball.
The end of that same week (last week, then, I suppose) Keya had found two cars at the North store (still Anderson) she liked.  We went up to look at them and drove three cars, a 2010 Kia Optima, a 2010 Hyundai Sonata (they're the same car, different manufacturers) and saw this 2009 Pontiac G6 on the lot.  It turns out, it hadn't been on the website b/c they'd just taken it on trade.  We drove it.  It was great.  It's got 32,00 miles on it.  It's cherry.  It's her new car.  ANYWAY, the dealership in O where I bought my car from had a similar G6, and I wanted to look at it.  Nissan of Omaha has been phenomenal with the way they've treated me.  We scheduled a test drive of the G6 in O for the next morning (Then H&H Kia told us we had a scheduled test drive we'd not solicited.  It ended up being the same time as our test drive at Nissan of O).  We liked both G6s, but the one at Nissan of O had 11,000 more miles and the paint wasn't nearly as clean.
So, as the day goes on, we decide we definitely like the G6 from Anderson the best.  The saleswoman had been great so far, outside of the fact she told me I was wrong about Ford ever owning Mazda (they don't any more, but they did once upon a time).  Mikeal Hocevar, do I know my stuff? I looked it up.  DON'T ARGUE CAR STUFF WITH ME!  Sorry... side track.  So, I get on the phone with her to set up a "Plate and Pass" wherein we will get to borrow the car to drive to York to show Keya's parents.  She starts telling me that we should have the loan in Keya's name with her dad as a co-signer to help her build credit.  The difference in APR will only be like 7.99% vs. as low as 2.49%.  No, I don't think we're going to do that, I tell her.  It'd be a good idea, she says, and an easy way to help her build her credit (her credit's not bad, she has just always paid for things with cash).  I said it'd be as easy to get her a credit card she puts a small amount on every month and pays off every month.  This is a point of contention, I can tell.  I get to Lincoln, and she is working on the paperwork, including getting us some basics on financing, trade for the Neon, etc.  She again brings up the co-signing thing.  She shows me the difference over three years.  Yeah, it's $650 over three years difference (Not much! she says).  Yeah, lady...  $650 is a lot of money no matter how much time we're talking about.  I tell her, again, that we're not going to do that and she says (direct quote) that's the stupidest thing we can do.  I damn near walked, but it's a really nice car.  She pushed it, and pushed it, and pushed it.  Again, lady, I know how financing and APR work.  Admittedly, $650 over three years (less than $20) isn't a TON of money, but it's still money, and not the best way for us to do it.

On the other side, I will tell you that I wish I'd bought from Nissan of Omaha, but there was no way they could match the deal on this car.  It was amazing!  My boy at Nissan of O wanted us to buy his, but it just wasn't nearly as nice, was the same price, and had way more miles.  Oh, and Anderson gave us $300 more than Nissan offered us for the Neon.

Also, Duteau Chevy in Lincoln has a really great salesman named Tom who probably is part of the reason we bought the G6.  We drove a Malibu down there, and the fact that Keya liked it so much is a big part of the reason we looked closely at the G6.

Okay, that's it.  I hope it's funnier!!! ;-)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tell me all your Thoughts

I've been ruminating this one for quite awhile.  I've been ruminating this one because a) it sounds nothing like the me that moved from Colorado and b) a LOT of my friends will disagree.  I'm open to it, and I'll listen to your impassioned disagreements, so long as you're willing to listen to mine, and you've read the entirety of this blog.

For those of you who expected a religion-themed post from me... I'm shocked.  I'm shocked that you expected it.  Me in 2010, I'd have been shocked.  Me in 2012?  I'm more than comfortable talking about my beliefs.  They haven't changed dramatically since my move.  It's more that I've actually spent time thinking about it and realise that the words that I've always had are fine.  I don't have to use "proper" words to express and defend my beliefs.  My beliefs are built with my words.

Unexpected side rant - Why do we have to defend our beliefs?  Unless my (your) beliefs are hurting someone else, live and let live!  I cannot, and will not here, defend the actions of many Christians and Christian groups in God's name.  Nor will I address the atrocities committed by many extreme groups of other faiths, Islam being the example most readily available.  I won't address either of those, because those people represent such a small portion of their respective faiths, that I think I've already given too many words relative to the size of this post.  That being said, I have so many friends of so many different of so many different faiths who are wonderful people, that I get sick of the idea that we have to defend our spirituality.  Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Pagan, Jew, anyone else who I'm forgetting, let's just acknowledge that we all believe differently.  If you want to explain your beliefs to me, great!  I'll be happy to explain mine to you, and where they've come from.  If, however, you want to belittle me or mock me for being a Christian, I'm done.  I will pay you the same courtesy and not mock your faith.  I'm sick of people calling Christians stupid in particular.  My IQ is well over 130.  My Faith is based on life experiences and conversations with God, not ignorance or naivete.

God.  I invite my friends of other faiths to replace that word with your deity (or deities), the world, the fates, or the word "coincidence."  In thinking on this, I've been trying to decide if there are coincidences in the world.  Does crazy s**t just happen, or is it part of His grand design?  Honestly, I think there still have to be coincidences (this morning, when I'd decided to write this today, my answer would have been no).  Free Will is the basis of Original Sin.  God gave us Free Will knowing full well that we'd blow it.  Almost immediately.  We did that, very nicely.  In Deuteronomy, God says we'll forsake him(31:16).  He knew.  He gave us the gift of Free Will anyway.  My relationship with God is stronger because I chose to walk with Him.  He loves us, even when we don't love him (like our parents!).  That being said, I have a hard time seeing a lot of coincidences.  The BIG things in my life?  I just wasn't listening.  I could list the things since I've moved here, but I won't bore you.  The biggest things of late, Markeya and Lincoln?  God's been loud.  I moved here for a reason, and I listened when he suggested this to me.  I'm glad I did, as I've been very happy here (I still want to come back, don't worry).  It's renewed and revitalised me and is still doing so in ways I didn't think it would.

I also started listening.  I have not asked Him to show Himself to me.  Thank goodness, because, as Father Mark said this morning, you have to be careful if you do, He might just show up!  Not just trying to read the signs that God put in front of me, but also asking for him to talk directly to me.  He doesn't always do it, but it's remarkable when he actually does.  My key has not been asking for things, but telling Him that I'm listening.  He wants us to be happy and successful.  He gives us the tools.  Look in the previous paragraph (that's an imperative sentence, kids).  He gave us Free Will.  We have to do the right things with those tools.  I've effed up repeatedly.  My life's not always been great.  He was, probably, sad when that happened.  I can't say that for sure, but I'd imagine He was sad.  I'm trying to make him happy now.  He knows I won't always do it.

One of my players last year drew it out for me.  We started one of my (to that point) most uncomfortable conversations because the Westboro Baptist Church was protesting at a high school in Iowa we drove past. Balls (her nickname, and I've never met a girl who was farther from her nickname) asked me about my faith... and I talked... a little.  She talked a lot.  A bit of background.  This girl is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.  She's also naive to the world, to a point, and is incredibly forgiving.  She sees nothing but good and does nothing but good.  She is devout.  She is, in almost every way, what you would picture if I told you she's 20 years old, grew up in a small midwestern town, and is devoutly Christian.  What she said was NOT what I expected.  She tries to live a Pious life.  She tries to do exactly what God would ask.  Her words?  She can't.  She will never be able to live up to His expectations.  She's not perfect.  She sins daily.  He knows she will.  He sent Jesus because of that.  Jesus died for sins committed and yet to be.  I don't live a perfect life, by any means.  I am, however, making fewer mistakes than I used to.  I still cuss, drink, have the occasional cigar and FREQUENT unclean thoughts.  I'm working on it.  He's talking to me.  He forgives me because He loves me, and I love Him.  I don't pray for everything every night.  I do, however, always tell Him of my gratitude for the plethora of ways He has blessed me.  I am in awe and humbled by His power, His grace, His benevolence, and His goodness!

By way of a disclaimer, I am not, nor will I ever be, a creationist.  I am still scientific-minded and see the logic in things like Evolution and the many and varied scientific theories and proofs out there.  Fundamentally, I don't think I've really changed.  I've been a Christian for quite some time, but am more confident in my beliefs.  I found a church I love with a priest and congregation that is just wonderful.  I was asked to participate in a prayer group, and I'm glad that I did.  Really, all it did was make me more comfortable as a Christian.  Knowing that I didn't have to know, that's not a key.  Knowing that the most important part of this faith is love and gratitude for Him.  I try to show Him I love Him, and will do my best to lead others to him.  I'm not here to demand others follow Him, but if you ask the way, I'll do my best to show you.  I'm here because He wants me here.

Want to know more?  Just ask.