Car Buying Experience = Life Sucking Event

Lately, it seems as if there is a little, black rain cloud is over me.  Nothing terribly catastrophic, just small annoyances to somewhat larger, time-and-money wasting events.  For example, when we were heading into Canada last Thursday, there was a queue at the frontier.  Two lanes opened into three lanes, then the third lane periodically opened into a fourth.  We were in lane two.  Lane one moved faster than us (we ended up being three to four cars behind where we would have been had we been in lane one.)  Lane three moved really fast, since every so often, the agent in lane four would take a few cars.  We lost count, but we were probably six to eight cars behind.  After an 50 to 60 minutes, it was finally our turn.  The agent that quizzed us was possibly the most (only?) unfriendly man in Canada.  After 20 questions or so, we were on our way, to the restrooms 100 metres down the road.  Coming back on Saturday, Eliz asked which lane.  I said, “Whichever lane we pick will be wrong, so just get in one.”  Sure enough, we were in the ssslllooowww lane.  However, unlike the unfriendly Canadian that greeted us two days earlier, we had the most friendly agent in U.S. history.  He was smart too.  He keenly knew that “the one all the way in the back” was the troublemaker…  All of us except Jane laughed at that one.

Today, we thought we had better finally try to purchase a new car to replace our almost 11 year old Durango (with over 156,500 miles on it) while the CARS program still had some money in it.  We have been looking for over a month.  We’ve driven seven different SUVs (five on test=drives, two rentals-one for each trip to Canada.)  We’ve settled on the Honda Pilot.  I emailed Ken over at Piazza Honda in Drexel Hill, even though he never tried to make contact with us after our test-drive in late June.  Within seconds, I get a mail-daemon, no such address.  So I call him.  I tell him what we want, he calls me a couple of times with questions, then finally calls and sets up an appointment for 6:00PM tonight with Eliz.

We get to the dealership at five to 10 minute early and see he is with a customer.  A “receptionist” asks if she could help us and we tell her we’re here to see Ken.  She says she’ll let him know and to take a seat anywhere we please.  I begin to think of where Jake would sit and wonder what they would do if I sat there.  (Jake likes to sit on the roof of our car while waiting for us to leave my parent’s place.)  There were two cars on the showroom floor, both four door sedans (different models.)  I think: “Would that car support me?”  “What would the people there say?  ‘Hey, what’s that bald, fatty doing on that car?,’ and ‘I think he’s retarded…'”  It brought a smile to my face.  The smile didn’t last long though.

After waiting about 25 minutes, the “receptionist” asked us if we needed help.  Eliz told her, again, that we had a 6:00PM appointment with Ken.  Her reply?  Did you tell anyone?  Uh, yeah, we told YOU.  She tells Ken then lets us know he’ll be over once he’s finished with the paperwork for the customer he is currently helping.  10 minutes later, he comes over to help us.  He has no idea who we are and why we’re there.  He fakes it, but fails miserably.  Once we remind him, he goes to get some information and we don’t see him for another 10 minutes.  In the meantime, his 6:30PM appointment is asking how much longer.  On his way back to us, Ken sees him and tells him to come back later.  When he gets back to us, he asks Eliz and I for our Registration Card, Insurance Card, and both of our drivers’ licenses.  I remind him that I don’t have one.  The light bulb that went off was as bright as 1000 suns.  (Maybe you saw it?)  He then says, because you’re legally blind.  Now I know he remembers me.  He then disappeared for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, his 7:00PM appointment arrives.  He comes back to us asks us a quick question and disappears for another 15 minutes.

The next thing we know, he is with his 7:00PM appointment (at roughly 7:25PM.)  Eliz and I are now pretty irritated.  He then leaves his 7:00 and disappears for yet another 15 minutes.  He comes back to us and asks what engine we have in our car.  I told him I thought it was a 5.7 litre V8, but I was unsure.  He literally runs out to our car to check, then disappears for 10 minutes.  His 7:00 is now just as angry as we are, so they leave.  Ken comes back to us with a price for the car we are looking at (a 2009 Pilot EXL with the entertainment system) and mentions that we qualify for $4500 in the cash for clunkers sweepstakes.  I question the price of the new car and he, yup, disappears again.  Eliz and I go look at the car from the outside, since it’s locked.  We come back in and Ken comes back and asks if we’d like to see the inside.  He grabs the keys and we head back outside.  Looks good.  I ask him if they are able to move a bit lower on the price.  Away he goes.

When he comes back, he tells us he gave us the wrong price.  No kidding.  They had priced an EXL without the entertainment system.  The sales manager comes over and explains it was an honest mistake.  Whatever.  Ken and the sales manager are off again.  I call my friend (Ken Stock) and ask him to go to to gather some additional info for me.  After four or five minutes on the phone with Ken, I go back to the table we were sitting around.  Neither Ken or the manager are there, but the new price is and it’s $900 more that before.  When he finally comes back, we tell him we’ll think about it.  It is now 8:18PM.  We were hungry, tired, and sitting in a car that we hope will start…