Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I never did buy a new car.

The very one I wanted - color, engine, accessories, etc., is hard to find. Maybe too popular? There's ONE 2009 with some accessories I don't want plus the ones I do - left anywhere (say the salesman, but I did get that from two dealerships.)

The cars offload at the port of Houston... they store them there until shipped out to the dealers throughout the south and midwest.

I know I lose bargaining power but, if my current car is any model, I'll have this one for ten years or more and want it exactly right.

The 2010s come out in June, or July, or August. Nice specifics, huh?

My car - in remarkably good shape I believe, is only worth $3500 on a trade, which means I have sqeezed about $50,000 out of it so far. I'll try to sell online - it's in good shape... drives well, etc. It could probably go another 100k miles on that engine, and it's been serviced at all intervals - actually - early on each of those. Major service (almost $3000) assures all should continue to work well. No rust. I really LIKE this car, but it's time. Or will be.

The price I got from the dealer was inflated. I am disappointed in them.

I may be forced to go to four or five dealerships (though would prefer local) and let them fight for my business.

I'm wary of brokers because you can't find their hidden agendas or associations.

And the whole car buying expereince has taught me how many BAD sellers there are working in car sales. They communicate poorly and don't listen well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


There's a supermarket or whatever they are called these days, up the street about a mile. Until now (after - what? 20+ years of marriage) Terri (who still works) has done all or almost all the food shopping. The division of chores has me doing other stuff - pool, yard, cars, etc. Now, finding myself semi-retired, I have agreed to do the "make-up" shopping midweek to pick up the stuff we run out of, etc. To be fair, I must admit it took some prodding.

Today was my first day.

Guys should not shop in stores with other people. We see everything as an obstacle or distraction. We will buy crap we don't need. I eyed the ice-cream cakes with interest. One wasn't on my list. But then I remembered that I almost die on my bike daily to try to lose a little fat so, no ice cream cake. This time. Note to self: there are some aisles I should avoid always!

I figured: go early in the day, avoid crowds.

Yes. No. The store seems to have a restriction - you have to be a young mother with a little toddler either running amok or being held. Nice arms, there, girl! Or you must be a doddering old person, shuffling along at turtle pace. In middle of the traffic. Too bad there aren't turn signals they could leave on.

I must remember not to snarl when someone blocks the milk cooler with their cart.

They've remodeled the store and put things where you wouldn't expect them - Q tips? In the cotton ball aisle? Noooo. Papaya tablets? In the vitamin aisle? Noooo - plus, the new 'health' section (they remodeled and messed everything up!) is a mile from the vitamin section.

I'll get used to it.

But not all of it: the older women are just so friendly and chatty with the checkouts who are either the slowbaggers they wouldn't dare put online in busy times, or hung-over younger folks.

I did crash into another cart - the woman was looking the other way she said and I was distracted by something or someone (some of the young women are lookable.)
No damage. VERY happy it wasn't done with cars! A good smack, though!

Now I begin to have an idea what things COST. And they all cost too much! Seems like everything small is $4.

They put toy junk right at the end of the checkout so little toddlers can slow things down by grabbing an item and trying to guilt-trip mommy into buying the widdle furry troll. These stores are surely designed by cunning bastards!

As a man, I must quickly visit, and conquer. This, this, this, DONE! It goes back to caveman genes: kill food, drag to cave, drop.

They should have a checkout for guys only. Or type As. And why is the 10 item guy standing there with no takers when the sign should change automatically... who says 10? Why not 18 when traffic makes it so?

Organic milk? Yeah. I trust them. Those cows... they watch them.

Strangely, this store has a poor section of cookies! This is ONE area with which I am reasonably familiar - but in the redesign, many went away. They also split up the cookies with crackers in the middle. A cracker can never take the place of a cookie. Are the cracker people trying to fool the Oreo eaters? Don't think so!

Happily, the new food stage wasn't operating at this time of day, so I didn't have to endure the overloud PA system for the Magic of the Wok con gusto.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Jaguar - known for its fast and luxurious mobiles, must have realized, as did I, on my test drive yesterday, that they aren't really THAT fast. The 2010 KF will come with not 300, but 380 (CORRECT!) horses under the swept hood. The 2009s will be forgotten, or at least passed by. Wave goodbye to 4.2 liters and shout hello to 5.0! Or maybe you shout CHEERIO, though the British company is now owned by an Indian Company, TaTa motors (no, not the casino guys - the other ones.) This is possibly a presage of the flip of the earth's magnetic poles, as colonial karma has somehow swept into the auto industry.

If you've followed this thread for a couple posts below, you might be interested to learn that the winner (pending the DEAL) is an Audio A6 3.0T. The T is really an S (Supercharger) but Hooked On Teutonics translates that to a T.

By the way, never ever buy a demo car. I know some people who drive them hard.

Since the dealers are all certified numeric-magicians, they play hide the pea under the three cups of LEASE term and rate, Selling PRICE, and TRADE-IN. Within these three foundations of the deal, you can hide any number and 'tailor' debt to fit any qualified circumstance. The principle is easy to explain: When you have hands in three of your pants pockets simultaneously, then you are easily distracted from what is really going on.

"So what number would you expect..." is a common inquiry to get some idea of how to tailor the other variables to match your fantasy (within reason, and subject to TT&L.) My response, "In this economy, a VERY ATTRACTIVE number!"

We've attempted to thwart this sleight of hand: "You get my car, and cash. Tell me the final final final walk-away cost of that car, this color, with these options."

The salesman promised to get back to me with the number on Monday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's Notice Car Colors Day as I get closer to the purchase decision.

Here in mid-Texas, there are many many vehicular whites: Ivory, white, Betty white, white wedding, white of eyes, egg white, bright white, piano key white, tusk white, tooth white, pearl white. This is because for the 5 months when it's really hot, you don't want a black car trapping heat and melting your ass off when you sit down. Which doesn't explain why there are so many black cars here - black, licorice, black flake, black as night, crow. Then there are 'almost' colors hidden in the black - hint of blue under black, hint of red under black, etc. They have better names, though - Sapphire Black, Ruby Black, Stealthy Garnet, etc. Color namers are creative folks!

I don't want black. I don't want white.

There are a million variations of silver and grey. Elephant grey. Old Age Grey. Mercury Silver, Liquid Silver, Cloudy Day, Quartz Grey, Silver-grey, Grey's Anatomy, Dirty Grey.

Grey looks dirty.

Maybe grey is smart - you never have to clean your car because it never looks clean.

There are also a batch of metallic goldens - gold, wheat, melange, sundust, etc.

You know who has the most car colors? BENTLEY. I guess all of their work is custom and you sure pay for it. The colors are BEAUTIFUL though.

Saturday is the day I hope to test drive the final three. Lexus has been forced out as the dash is beyond the boundary of what I find acceptable.

Finally you pick the car exterior color and when you get to the interior color... it doesn't come with THAT exterior color.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Several; heavy glossy car brochures should arrive today. Apparently (wink wink) none of the marques I am considering have been affected by the GLOBAL RECESSION. Saturday we will do the tour de dealer and hopefully narrow the field. I'd do it on a weekday, but Terri wants to go too.

I have been reading up on car sales tactics and might hire a car broker - they shop the country, have backdoors into dealers, apparently, and for a fee can get just about anything. Or so it is said.

It's amazing how perception changes when you are in the market - I have gone from BLIND to most cars (except the Bentley Continental GT which a neighbor drives - more on that in a sec.) to eyeballing every one, rejecting sameness at every chance and chassis.

A neighbor drives the Bentley - I saw him the other day and perhaps made a fool out of myself: Me: "Hey, Mark, you know that "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods" commandment?" Mark: "Yes?" Me: "It ain't working for me. I have to have a ride in your Bentley!" He was very nice and said just stop by when you see I'm home. If the roles were reversed I think I'd draw the blinds and arrange to be "out" when the pushy neighbor came looking for his ride.

I believe the Bentley comes in more colors than any other car model! Of course the base color is the color of money - lots of it. It's beautiful.

As I have mentioned before. I have only been impressed with one over-the-phone salesman (Jaguar) who attempted to form a relationship. The others are without a clue. Perhaps a clue is only an option on the higher-up-the-chain sellers.

The local frenzy is all about getting rid of the hail damaged cars from a few weeks back - there are great deals on cars that look like golf balls. I don't want one.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Terri suggested that with her magic mortgage manipulation, we could see our way toward a new car for me. This took me from "All the other cars are invisible" to "what's THAT?, what's THAT?, what's THAT?"

I like my old Audi quite a bit, and have come to like their new noses. We drove an hour and a half last night to test drive a few.

I COULDN'T FALL IN LOVE. What a head-check! The thing that is just CHEWING on me is the now - ten years later - much cheaper-looking interior. The A6-T really GOES. I like that. That would be a winner - if I could throw a bag over the interior.


These are major companies with quite a varied web-experience of walking you through their pictures and stories of each model. Often confusing, slow, incomplete - here I am guys - $50K or so IN HAND... someone should step out of the crowd and make it that I'd want to do business with them.

My experience with Audi locally also turned me cooler. The Internet rep said he'd get right back to me, but took my reminder and that came after 3 hours. He never sent the brochure. When we visited, another salesperson offered NO SALESMANSHIP!

Sell benefits, or price, or whatever, but sell - DEAL! Amazing!


I have now heard from all the contenders as a result of sending them the "sheets of desire" - my term - which indicate this is a HOT LEAD with some specific choices in mind. I told them all I will try to get in for a visit and test drive perhaps next week. The more I think about it, the more I think wait until fall when the 2010s come out. The more I think about the ride in the Audi 3.0T - it kicked ass, the more I want a car that'll do that, even though I struggle with their interior.

As for the Jag XF - I would definitely wait until the 2010 model since it's risky to buy the first try at a new model, which the 2009 IS. I know - we have one in our garage - it's the one that needed the new transmission!

There was a terrible hail storm maybe two weeks ago and since most of the dealers are in the same area where the storm hit hard, they got literally hammered. Many cars have multiple hits all over the hood, roof, trunk - they are being sold deeply discounted, but I don't want one. This IS diverting their attention. One dealer had 450 cars affected. If the windshield broke, the rain got in so they total those - the others, they fix and sell at a price drop after sucking the dents out.

At this point I am thinking Audi, Jag, Lexus and Infinity thoughts. Will a car sell me, or a salesman/woman? Will they deal? Will I wait until fall?

Fall signals a better sense of the economy, gas prices, and brings better deals on 09s and opens up hopefully 'new and improved' 2010 models.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I just got back from the local big food store. I wandered through the Easter candy aisles. Yes, aisles! This year we received sad news from my mother-in-law that the Milk Chocolate Covered Coconut Eggs at her local candy shop have been discontinued. Awk! And so I wandered the aisles. Did I find a suitable replacement? No. In fact, there are NO large eggs, no centerpieces of eggdom for baskets, both build-your-own or pre-assembled. What is this world coming to? The crap they now put into the little eggs! The multicolored peeps!

Crap: along with fillings I never heard of, there are what appear to be colored hard boiled eggs. They come in an egg tray. They contain... confetti! "No, no, Roberto, you don't eat... oh my god! He's gagging - quick - somebody help me!"

The perversion of all perversions: plastic wrapped pre-assembled baskets topped by... a BASKETBALL! I get the final four timing, but come on!!! At least little Roberto can't get his widdle mouth around it.

All the major candy brands are available in little eggs - Butterfingers, for example. And the HERSHEYS company is popping out eggs and kisses by the billions. You can get eggs of... bubblegum! Yuk. Poo.

Even the choco-rabbits seem smaller this year. Is this a response to the economy or just a pricing issue (keep small, charge less, fool people.)