Sunday, April 04, 2004

on today's menu: a heaping helping of crow

As readers know, a little more than a month ago I bought a new car. Back then, I noted that the weaselly folks at Jon Lancaster Toyota said that my trade-in was basically worthless, but that they would give me $100 as a token trade-in. Since I just wanted to get that car out of my life, I was going to take the $100. However, a friend of mine said that this was silly and that I could get a lot more than $100 for the car if I put even minimal effort into selling it into myself. I didn't believe that there was anyone out there who would actually buy my car, or at least not for much more than $100.

An argument ensued, which ended with her agreeing to take on the responsibility to sell the car for me, and me agreeing that she could have almost all profit over the $155 that I was losing for not trading the car in ($100 + $55 for not transferring my old license plates). I only demanded the rights to two malts with extra malt as part of the deal. Anyway, I remember cackling about how this would be a lesson to my friend not to interfere in my affairs, since she was now trying to sell a car that had (1) a (recently and intermittently) broken speedometer, (2) a broken driver's side mirror, (3) a broken automatic seat belt mechanism, (4) a broken passenger seat adjuster (so it is stuck all the way forward), and (5) the "SERVICE ENGINE SOON" light always on (diagnosed as a problem with the sensors responsible for the light, rather than anything with the operation of the car itself). And all kinds of little dings everywhere. Granted, some of these problems might be easy to fix, but, still... who was going to give any money for a car with so many obvious things wrong with it?

My friend advertised the car at $1200 or best offer. "Good luck," I told her, "Nobody's even going to look at it for that price." Indeed, most people that called did not want to look at it after she listed all of its various problem. But, of course, she didn't need to sell the car to most people, but just one sucker out there. And, lo, one person came to look at it and offered $800 cash. "Take it!" I shouted into my cel phone, "Take it! Take it! No one else is going to be that insane! Take it now!" She smugly declined, saying that she thought she'd be able to get more from somebody else if she held out.

Sure enough, the car sold earlier today for $1050, cash in hand.

I don't know when was the last time I have been in such a situation where really nothing else could be said other than: "Hmm. It appears undeniable that you were completely right about that, and I was completely and profoundly wrong."

At least it was something about money. I'm always pretty free in admitting that I am clueless in many monetary matters. And, I'm certainly glad to have my friend get the profits from this transaction than having the profits go to the weasels at Jon Lancaster Toyota. I feel especially good that I pulled the trade at the last minute, because I can convince myself that I got a better price on the car itself because they thought they were going to get to screw me over on the trade-in.

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