When the salesman said “we have a deal” and I filled out the paperwork, I never saw in writing the price we had discussed. So I was worried that day and the next that the paperwork would come back mysteriously incorrect.
Minivan shopping was day 1. This is day 2 now. We told Mr. Salesman that we would be back at 6:45 pm on day 2 to pick up the minivan. I knew there would be some more paperwork to sign, so I expected that they would have it ready at 6:45 so I could walk in, sign the papers, and get the van.
We all drive in the old minivan to the dealership. The kids were excitedly discussing who would ride back in the new minivan. I did not want to trade in the old minivan, since it wouldn’t be worth much and it is useful to have a third vehicle so that no one is inconvenienced by having a car in the shop.
We arrive at the dealership and I go in to start the paperwork. Mr. Salesman greets me and takes me over to the waiting area for the paperwork. Salesmen don’t do the paperwork stuff, that’s handled by a specialist.
“You’re next,” I’m told. I text my wife that information. She’s sitting in the old minivan with all the kids.
A little while later: “Soon”. Another relay text.
After 20-25 minutes, my wife texts me for help. Gamma fell asleep while not in his car seat. I leave the waiting area, expecting that my name would be called while I’m out, and move him into his car seat. “I still haven’t started signing anything – you might as well go home,” I tell my wife. So she leaves, and I go back to the waiting area.
After about 45 minutes, I am finally called back. It might be understandable if they were busy, but I was the only one in the waiting area. There was not a literal line that I was in – just me, a bunch of empty chairs, and a TV playing a very repetative CNN station.
I go back to Mr. Finance’s office.
I had been waiting 45 minutes for them to finish with the other (invisible) customer(s) and to get my paperwork drawn up.
But when I get in his office, most of the paperwork was not drawn up. Why not? Because he has to inform me about all my other options (extended warranties, protection plans, add-ons, etc.) No sense printing out all my paperwork because the numbers aren’t final until I decline all the options. Which I do.
I had paid the extra convenience fee for the dealership to handle the government paperwork too, which includes the license plate. Mr. Finance goes to arrange for my license plate, then realizes that it’s after hours (for the government office) so he can’t. “We’ll just take care of that tomorrow and mail you the new plate” I agree, but am skeptical.
I sign and initial a bunch of papers. They all make sense and the numbers match my expectations, to my relief. The last time I bought a car, the numbers did change from one day to the next. Different dealership, but I’m still cautious.
Mr. Finance takes me back over to Mr. Salesman, who gives me the keys, tapes a temporary registration paper in the back window, and shakes my hand.
It feels weird to drive the van off the lot and head home, but no one stops me so it must be ours now.
An hour and a quarter.
It took almost as long to pick up the new van as it did to pick out the new van.
The dealership may have been slow, but they were not incompetent. Nothing was wrong. Things were fairly straightforward. Don’t know that I’d be thrilled about going back, though.
Next time I go to buy a car, I’m going to bring a book to read.
P.S. The temporary registration was good for 15 days. It is meant to be short-term, until the actual license plate is obtained. After 11 days with no sign of or notification about the license plate, I called the dealership. “I saw your name on the list, so it should be tomorrow or the next day. We’ll let you know when it’s in,” I was told. Probably just like I was next in line for Mr. Finance the whole time.
So I wait. Now it’s the day the license plate expires. I call Mr. Salesman and leave a message in the morning. In the early afternoon, he calls me. “Your plate is in.” “Ok, don’t mail it. I’ll stop by to pick it up.”
Really, it shouldn’t take 15 days to get a license plate. But it did. We wonder if the people at the dealership don’t do anything unless the customer asks or complains.
If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you’; then we will stand in our place and not go up to them.
1 Samuel 14:9