Monday, October 24, 2016

"There is nothing permanent except change" *

As I've gotten older, I've noticed I'm ever increasingly resistant to change.  I've got my routines and I get irritated when I have to change them.  I like things to be predictable.  

For instance, I want to leave home at 7:15, drive 70-75MPH and arrive at work NLT 7:30.  It bugs me that the highway has been getting upgraded for the last 18 months without a lot of noticeable progress.
TXDOT=Capt Obvious!
Liars!
Even though the sign says "expect delays 8AM to 5PM", I still get stopped for 1 lane traffic at 7:15.  It bugs me even more when I hang around the office until 5:30 then head home, only to get stopped in 1 lane traffic again.  I mean c'mon!  If you mean you're going to be working on the road from 7-7, say "Expect Delays 7AM to 7PM"

But....I digress.

So, a few weeks ago, Mrs Juvat announces that she has sold my truck.  Just like that...

"Honey, I sold your truck."

I'm dumbfounded.

I like my truck.  It's just like me.  Not pretty to look at.  Needs a bit of coaxing to work.  Runs better with a little encouragement and TLC. However, it's comfortable and mostly reliable.  Yep, pretty much exactly like me.

Oh, yeah.  It's 15 years old and has 223K on it.

One other thing.  It's paid for.

I like my truck.

"Did you hear what I said? I sold your truck."

"Why?"

"My sister needs it for the contractor who's building her house."

I recognized immediately, with logic like that, I've already lost the argument.

So,  that means I'm going to engage in one of my least favorite activities, buying a car.  With respect to WSF, I truly loath the whole car buying process.  From the "let me go talk to the manager" then disappear for 30 minutes to let you stew, to the "do you want to add this option, it's only $20 per month?"  No, it's $960 plus interest.  

I don't hold it against the salesman, they're trying to earn a living.  I just want them to tell me what the price is.  

When we bought Mrs. Juvat's car, in 2006, we bought it through USAA's car buying service.  We "built" the car on their site.  USAA then gave us a price for THAT car.  We tinkered with options to get it down to where we wanted.  They then gave us a certificate and we walked into the dealer and drove out with that car. 

So, that's where we started last weekend.  I'm on their site and "building" my truck.  Except, I don't get to select the options I want.  Just the Make and Model.  Then I select which packages I want, except there's not really any explanation of what is or is not included into each package.  So, I've got multiple pages open and am looking at package contents, finally getting something I think I want.  

I push the button and I get a certificate that says I can buy any truck in stock for $8800 off MSRP.  

Huh?

I'm a bit confused, but not to worry, as soon as I pushed the button to get that certificate, my email and contact info got released to the various car dealers within a 100 mile radius of home.  All ready to answer any questions I might have.

Seriously, the first email arrived before I'd logged out of the USAA site, asking me to call and set up an appointment.  They had a vehicle that had 81% of the features I wanted.  What does that mean?  

In any case, I get one from a dealer in San Antonio that's got 95%, so I give them a call.  The lady that handles the USAA car buying program for them takes down the information about what I'm looking for, but I notice she doesn't ask for a VIN for the vehicle I'm interested in, which the car buying program included.  

The appointment was for a week ago Saturday.  Little Juvat is in town, and as my truck is no longer MY truck, I'm sans wheels.  He graciously offers to provide a lift for his old man.  We get to San Antonio around noon and decide to postpone the agony for a bit by having lunch.  

BTW, the Yardhouse, in La Cantera is a great place for Lunch.  The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale was a nice complement to the fish and chips.

Now fortified, we arrive at the dealership and meet up with our sales person.  We introduce ourselves and she says she's got several trucks for us to look at, are we ready to go?

Yes.

Truck #1 is a VERY nice truck.  Fire Engine Red, 5L V-8.  The dashboard was outfitted like the cockpit of an F-22.  We take it out for a spin.  Interestingly, pushing hard on the gas pedal, there's a very noticeable pause before the truck begins accelerating.  But it's quiet, smooth and well equipped.  In other words, expensive.  List price was north of $53K. 

Which, BTW, is the loan amount I'm pre-approved for.  Wonder if that's a coincidence there?

And before, any of you start with the Ron White "Loadddddddddedddd!" routine, No, that's about 45% more than I want to spend.

I mention the acceleration and she suggests a different engine.  So we test drive Truck #2.

Truck #2 is also very nice.  A bright metallic blue with a 3.5L V-6 ecoboost engine.  We take it out for the same circuit.  Out of the lot, about a mile on the access road (50-60MPH), on ramp with a quick acceleration to traffic speed (mach .93) out to DeZavala, back on the interstate back to the lot.  

#2 accelerates a lot faster.  The turbocharger really helps.  #2 still has a lot of bells and whistles which contributes to a MSRP and resulting sales price much higher than I'd like.  Nice vehicle though.  Solidly in contention for "when I win the Lottery."

We are getting nowhere fast.  The salesperson is showing cars that are more expensive than I want to buy, and I'm trying to tell her that I don't need all the bells and whistles.  Finally, I just tell her that I'm not going to spend any more than X dollars driving it off the lot.

Oh.

I do want the ecoboost engine, I don't need any of the Star Wars cockpit.  I would like my phone to connect to the music system and I do want a crew cab.

Finally, she shows me the right vehicle with most of what I wanted.  It didn't have heated seats, which are very nice around here on winter mornings, but....I'll live with the hardship.


No, Sarge, I don't have a name for it.  Suggestions may be left in the comments below.  Right now, I'm leaning towards "My Truck"

First time in the 16 years we've lived on this property that we've had Green Grass the end of October.  Need to get the Hay Guy here for another cutting.
Just to continue that scene.  This will be where Sarge will be staying when he comes down to visit.  Nice little firepit in the front, by the barbecue.


* Heraclitus - Some dead white Greek Dude
















31 comments:

  1. Kind of a short box on it. When I bought my F-150, it had all three FORD ovals bleached out by the sun, to just gray ovals. I found I could replace them with PETERBILT ones for less than FORD ones. So I am tooling around with an extended cab 7 foot box red over gray PETERBILT F-150.

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    1. Yeah, it does. I needed to make a compromise between hauling people and hauling things. Should be able to tie down a sheet or two of plywood,which should suffice. Lots of friends with trailers if more is needed.
      I bet the Peterbilt emblems turns a head or two.

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    2. I have gotten several comments, all positive. My favorite is the one from the cashier at a local supermarket, who said that was the smallest Peterbilt she had ever seen.

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    3. And at that instant, a drum went Bah-Dah-Bump!

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  2. Hey Juvat;

    For what it is worth, you did get a good truck. I do know the sticker price and I m thinking "I am buying a truck that cost the same as my first house?" When I paid with taxes included $26000 on my 2001 Sports Trac in 2001 and yes it was loaded. And 2005 bought for the spousal unit a 2006 Freestyle that cost $31000 with Ford discount I was amazed. They were good vehicles but the sticker price got me. And the price isn't unusual, all the car manufacturers charge around the same price for the rides. I am just glad all my cars are paid for. Although I bought my 1999 F150 lariat early this year for $5000 and it was a good price for what I got.

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    1. Truck/house ran through my mind several times. I started out looking for used, but the cost there wasn't much better than new. It's a racket I tell ya!

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    2. Good used vehicles of a certain vintage were wiped out by the whole Cash-fer-Clunkers scam. The used car/truck market really hasn't recovered.

      A sure example of the Law of Hidden Consequences.

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    3. Or, as I've become more and more convinced, it worked just as intended, not as stated, but as intended.

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  3. "My Truck." It has a certain ring to it, not quite the panache of "The Juvat Mobile," but I think it'll work.

    Nice post.

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    1. Too reminiscent of "The Gnome Mobile" I think. Eagle One might work, but seems a bit uppity for me.

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    2. Hahaha!

      Don't want that. Eagle One does seem odd. Juvat One? Hhmm. The more I think about it, "The Truck" does have a certain gravitas to it. Also, what Joe said (further down).

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    3. I'm all about gravitas, really!

      Stop laughing!

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  4. We've still got green grass here too. Cows are loving it and still putting on condition.

    "Only the dead have seen the end of car dealerships." George 'Salesman of the Quarter' Santayana

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    1. Great quote! Hadn't seen that one, but apt, very apt,

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  5. I think we may be in the same place routine wise. Sold your truck? My head would explode, though she probably did you a favor. With that many miles it was due for a situation.

    As to naming the truck, given she sold your last one without discussion, I would name it "The Truck" don't get too attached.

    BTW, nice looking truck!

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    1. Thanks, Yeah, some of the TLC was starting to get a bit pricey. AC compressor, ABS etc. But I liked it. All that having been said, I'm growing to like this one pretty well. My phone finished syncing with it. Now it's MY music all the time.

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  6. Even if you hadn't found the truck you wanted [sic], te fish & chips woulda made the drive worth it

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    1. Yeah, they WERE pretty good. A nice jalapeno mayo gave just enough bite to it to give it a Texas Flair, and require a sip of Ale.

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  7. Sounds like you more or less got what you wanted...LOL HATE dealing with car sales people. Not planning on doing that any time soon.

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    1. Yeah, It's not the sales people, per se. I think it's the games they play, or have to play. I'd prefer it if they had competed more with other dealers over price rather than with us over what we pay. This car is $X,000. "Hmmm, I can get it over there for $X,000-1000, I'll buy it there". But you can't really find out what it costs until you're signing the papers.

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  8. You could call it LBT, for Large Blue Truck.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. LBT is solidly an option to be considered. My diminutive wife has difficulty stepping into it, so LARGE is operative.

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  9. After decades of retailing cars I started feeling sympathy for buyers (shocking, I know). When I started the average new car cost the average family 24 weeks income. Now days it is around 52 weeks. Thank the government for mandating fuel economy and "safety" features. Serious money. During that time, the pro salespeople got the hell out. The sales people got squeezed until it became a sales clerk job. The best earnings was in the box (finance office). One maniac I learned the most from was fond of saying, "I would rather have a sister on the street than a brother in finance".

    There are two customers in most transaction, the customer and the lender. The transaction has two parts, front and back. The front is the actual cost of the vehicle. The customer makes one or two payments and the lender eats the deal if the customer defaults. The back is full recourse. If the customer defaults the dealer eats the pro rated amount. Often the desk (manager) will do a zero profit front if the back end makes it worth while. I did this scores of times.

    The back and forth customers hate means the desk is trying to structure a deal the lender will buy (or, in the words of a one of my managers, "Trying to find someone stupid enough to lend these mutts money"). Factor in poor credit, a trade they owe more on than it is worth, little or no down payment, and it will take time.

    The smart move you made was using USAA. To me, they have lost some of their luster. The best I know is AAA.

    My advice? Buy a used car for cash. Yeah, it will be a P.O.S. The annual repairs will be less much less than the annual payments on that new, shiny, depreciating ride. I last had a car payment in 1984. Of course, I care very little for what people think of me based on my ride or vocation. YMMV


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    1. Interesting discussion on the front and back, that's what I suspected was happening. Thanks.

      Still like USAA, but they are becoming pretty big and not in a good way.

      Your last para was exactly the reason I didn't want to sell my truck. It did experience some pricey fixes, but they still were less than my new payments. I'm going to be staying with this truck as long as possible.

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  10. Thanks for the story and some advice I'll take from this. I'll be buying a Ford myself sometime next year. It will probably have more horses though, and one on the grille.

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    1. Pictures, we're gonna need pictures!

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    2. My sports car days are over, just too many things to carry around. Besides, I like being able to see over other vehicles. But, while waiting for things to proceed, the son and I did look over a couple of sweet Mustangs. The Cobra made the sticker price on my truck (I like the sound of that) look inexpensive in comparison.

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  11. Just tryin' to decide if that's AF Blue or Navy Blue...

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    1. Good question. Technically it's Blue Jean, but I think it's a shade or two closer to Navy than AF.

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    2. It also has a touch of metallic in it which isn't visible in the picture, gives it a nice sparkle, kinda like the silver wings on my dress uniform. (Yes, Sarge....or the gold ones on the WSO's uniform) :-)

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  12. I went to the same experience buying a car for my parents. I contacted seven dealers through the manufactures website and all but one just gave me a come on in and will talk routine. And one of them was trying to sell me a car that was a completely different color with none of the equipment I wanted and I noticed the brake calipers were rusty, meaning it had been sitting on the lot for quite a while


    One lone dealer said well we have almost everything that you want and this is what we want for it.

    Guess who got the business.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)