In which, as a contrarian, I support the economy and buy a pickup truck.
I saw this picture in a New York Times article last weekend called A Sea of Unwanted Imports with the caption: "Imported Toyotas turn acres of port property in Long Beach into a parking lot. Unwelcome by dealers and buyers, the cars number in the thousands and are worth millions of dollars."
I decided it was time to buy the Toyota Tacoma truck I've been thinking about for a couple years. I drive a 14-year-old van and have joked with my mechanic for a long time: "Keep it on the road, Jay, I want to drive it until my son graduates from college."
Now, with Ezra on a leave of undetermined length, the date of his graduation is in question, but the van continues to get crankier. Like a two-year-old laptop computer, only a dozen years older.
So, armed with the optimistic idea that the economy is in the tank and Toyotas are on the loading dock, I went shopping. First I thought I'd get a 2004 or 2006 used truck, but they're hard to come by and priced high.
As a response to one of my inquiries, a dealer emailed me back: "I can put you in a new 2009 model for $14,900."
That was a good offer - the November NADA guide lists 2008 used models selling retain for $15,476!
I didn't want to drive to Winston-Salem to buy a car, so I took his offer around locally.
There's a Toyota place near me and they advertise NO-HAGGLE pricing, and their prices were about $1800 higher than this offer, but I wanted to see what the 2009s looked like so I went over there and talked to a nice salesman from India, now named Alex (I wonder if his actual name has many more syllables). He said, sorry we don't haggle, and I said, I understand, have a nice day and I went home.
The next morning I got a call from Alex: there was, suddenly, coincidentally, a manager's special - just one truck, just the kind I wanted, and a nice color too! (Barcelona Red), for $14,900. I guess this is how no-haggle places haggle.
I went by there and saw about 25 employees and about 5 customers. I felt the consumer reluctance associated with deflation: if it's this cheap now, how cheap will it be in a few months? But, eat dessert first, I got out my checkbook and that was that. The business manager said: "I never saw anybody buy a car so fast."
So now I have this nice red truck.