I had to go out and buy a car the other day.
As one who cannot remember the last time he bought anything other than groceries and pints of Guinness, it was a major undertaking.
At least, it should have been.
What actually happened, was that I was a complete pussycat and bought a car in record time, embarrassing the salesman who had expect at least some attempt at bargaining.
What I was buying was an SUV.
Yes, I am aware of climate change, emissions, carbon footprints and the rest. Indeed, I do less than 10,000 kilometres a year. And I need an SUV to transport the two of us, our lovely daughter and our large dog.
So off I went to buy a pre-owned/second-hand/used car.
What I know about the mechanics of cars could be written on the head of a pin.
My options, therefore, are limited to well-known, established motor dealers who, I am pretty sure, will still be there next week, when the car will, inevitably, break down.
I saw a car on the internet I could afford, and off i went.
This was going to be a cash deal, no trade in. Straight forward deal.
In fairness, when I got there I DID actually look at two cars. I mean, fair’s fair. I didn’t just look at one and drive off. No fool me.
But after looking at two, I opted for the one I’d seen on the web.
I looked into the car. It had a radio and tape deck.
“Would you throw in a CD player instead of the tape deck?” I asked.
“Yes,” came the reply, half way though my question. Think it was a question they get asked a lot. The answer seemed a little, well, rehearsed.
And so we went into the salesman’s office.
And I wrote a cheque.
And I bought the car.
There’s nothing wrong with the car. I like it.
But I have this feeling, that the salesman will dine out on the sale.
I asked him if it was the easiest sale ever.
And he hesitated before telling me it wasn’t.
Since then, I have been told by friends that I did a number of things wrong.
Like the following:
1. Never put your chequebook and pen on the desk before you negotiate the deal.
2. Always sit in the car before buying.
3. Always, at the very least, ask one question.
4. Kick the tyres, or something like that.
5. Even ask if it has been cleaned.
6. Demand a service before you take it away.
7. See if there is some kind of warranty.
8. Check the mileage
9. Drive it before buying.
10. Offer him 75 per cent of the price and work your way up.
Alternatively, get someone else to do the deal for you.
And go on a long holiday with the money you save.