Monday, July 13, 2009

Oh, you're ganna want to hear this one

Here is a story of how our first car buying experience together went....

The back story here is that my poor Protege came to an early end when she was rear-ended back in May. The car was totalled and my dreams of continuing to not have a car payment seemed teetery at best.

In reality, getting hit was probably a blessing because my transmission was going out anyway and getting the settlement for the totalled car would help us purchase a new one...which was coming anyway.

We decided to purchase the salvage title for my car thinking "Hey, it still runs, at least this will give us time to shop around for the best deal" and it ended up giving us about two weeks.... last week the transmission started failing on me and we have to jump start my poor girl to life every morning so we have been frantically searching for another car.

I have never had to purchase a car before, my first and second car (the only two I've ever owned) were both given to me by my parents so I have been very lucky to have someone else do the dirty work. Sgt. spent the entire week searching through private vehicle listings and discussing with me what I was looking for and what I would love, because he wanted so badly to make me happy and to also get me something that would be a good deal.

He really was a life saver in all of this. I don't know what I would have done without him. I tend to deal with stress in the "Ostrich method" When I see it coming I walk along until it gets so close I stick my head in the sand hoping it will disappear and then I have a breakdown (much like sitting in front of the computer crying after looking at cars online for 4 hours) and THEN I am able to attack. Once all my other defenses are spent.

Sgt. on the other hand, deals with stress in the "Cat method." You know that poster where the kitty is barely hanging onto the tree limb? Stress pushes at him and he pushes back. Hard. He will dig his claws in without a second thought and attack head on. Which he did in this situation and I am immensely grateful.

Like many things in life, he is my rock, and this was no different.

We were getting into a situation we didn't want to be in, which was NEEDING to buy a car SOON. We decided on getting a cash car. Using the money we got from my car being totalled and searching for a good deal. Just something reliable that will get me to and from my 40-min-one-way commute and something I would like.

Then we come to this weekend. And we do NOTHING but look at cars, and talk about cars, and sigh with frustration about cars, and maybe a few tears on my part about cars, and call people about cars, and lower our standards on cars... blah blah blah.

It's Sunday now.

Sgt. worked from 11pm - 8am. He came home and we ate a donut together, and he slept for ONLY an hour and a half. Then he woke up and got back to helping me search for cars. We called 4 different people yesterday morning leaving messages. We went and looked at one car which was owned by a typical former used car salesman who was really wanting us to pay WAY over KBB value for a car with a bad transmission. No thank you.

Then we find this car.

This car on craigslist which is posted by a father selling the car for his deployed son. His deployed mechanic son. His deployed mechanic son who just replaced this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this on the car before deploying. His deployed son who just replaced this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this on the car and then had the radio stolen out of the car while it was in the hold lot. His deployed son who just replaced all this and then had the unfortunate luck to have his radio stolen out of the car by some other soldier. His deployed son who just replaced all this, had his radio stolen, and who also has the difficult situation of having his young wife at home who really needs to sell the car because she needs the money.

and our hearts swell with the hope of helping another soldier and his family while still getting something we need.

And we EVEN asked to get his APO address so we could send him a care package.

Because after Sgt. had only slept 2 hours in over 24 and I was at my wits end looking at cars and we DID find a car that drove better than anything else we looked at, we didn't question the story. We didn't really think about all the details lining up. We bought the car at KBB listed value and drove home happy as clams. After a night of sleep, a weird feeling, and highly tuned facebook/myspace/and AKO white page stalking skills.... we find out the real story.

The unit his son belongs to just got BACK from Afghanistan, they're not deployed nor deploying. And the guy listed on the title, the "Army Mechanic Son", in fact states his job as an infantry man in the training room.... not a mechanic at all. It looks like he and his wife just got married. If he was married when he deployed (as he said he was) why would his car be in the hold lot on post? But hey, still could've gotten broken into, right? But there is no sign of forced entry. Then again, the car was probably in housing since he was married (if he was) and if it was in housing it's still likely that his wife could have left her door unlocked and some poor soul just opened the door and took their stereo. However, whoever did that really took their time clipping all of the wires off so you can easily install a new stereo with an install kit. (thinking, they wanted to keep their radio... how about you?)

So yeah. We got dooped. On the "deployed solider in a bad way" story. The only things that really make me mad are 1. those details are things we KNOW.... but we just trusted because it sounded like a worthy cause and we were tired. 2. It makes Sgt. feel like he failed me in some sort of way and he didn't. He was my life saver and God-send in all of it. 3. I was going to send a really good care package. I was looking forward to it.

Do I still like the car even though the people I bought it from are less than honest? Yes. Especially if it works exactly the way they said. Do I think I paid a fair price for it? Yeah... I probably would've offered him a little lower but I didn't want to low ball some soldiers wife so I just offered KBB value and took it. What probably happened is they wanted to sell their 98 Toyota Camry but weren't able to easily around Ft. Campbell because all of those soldiers just got back and soldiers who just got back from deployment are usually much more eager to jump in to something they can spend their hard earned extra cash on. So in the end I suppose I still got an ok deal... and we came out the good guys which I'm always ok with.

That's alright though. Luckily, I'm in love with a man who actually is connected to the Army and was a deployed NCO, and knows better. Spc. will get a call later on to make sure he's not running some kind of scam. And to make sure that my newly purchased car isn't going to blow up this week.

Some people. I swear.