A Confederacy of Dunces
Recognizing that unless you're buying and driving '57 Nomads or '63 split window 'Vettes as your daily mode of transport it's always going to be a money losing equation, my normal process through the years has been to buy something 3-4 years old, drive it 3-4 past the payoff, rinse, lather and repeat. Nothing too fancy, nothing embarrassingly cheap, don't get above your raisin' types of vehicles, and that's always been a good system for us. Spend less than you make...what an amazing concept. We as a country should look into that...
So, 3 years ago the local Studebaker/DeSoto/Hudson dealership runs a special on 36 mo. leases for Family Trucksters (both the SL and SLE versions!) and I'm intrigued. I've never done the lease thing, I like the thought of driving something brand new for a change, and especially like the $179/mo. payment ($198 all in with taxes), so I do it and have 36 mo. of mostly carefree motoring. A couple minor issues all covered under warranty by a very obliging service dept. staffed by guys that always seemed to go the extra mile, a nice visit each time I'm there for oil and service, etc.
With the lease approaching its end, I had to weigh all the options...turn it in and walk away, re-up with the new '10 Truckster Ltd., exercise a trade allowance for brand loyalty on a different unit at the dealership, or buy the vehicle for the pre-contracted price, plus a $150 lease termination fee, as stated in the lease agreement. I enjoyed the previous 36 mos., was still under 36,000 miles, knew everything about the vehicle and wasn't repulsed by the thought of continuing the relationship longer, so I decided to exercise my call option at the strike price and date previously agreed upon.
I call the 800 number on the lease paperwork, thinking I'll be sending them the payoff and motoring off into the sunset. I'm informed by Rajmajnikkinikkirohitkumarnadalama on the other end of the customer service line that I need to go to the local dealership, and they'll handle everything there. Ok, no problem.
A little more background...this local dealership just recently changed hands and has all new people, big media campaign going, lots of flash, sturm and drang. I've had all the service on the Truckster from day one done at their service dept., as well as purchasing 3 other cars from them through the years, so I'm solidly in their data base. I've spent money there, and plan on continuing that exercise as I stride purposefully past the high kicking cheerleaders, fight through the balloon arch, avoid the 3 monkeys and a pony dancing to M.C. Hammer remixes, shrink back from the "Count the Moles on My Back" contest being held using Thelma from Finance, and enter the dealership lobby.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm very straightforward when doing the Car Dance. I tell them what I do, that I consider myself a "sales guy," and as such, I won't waste their time and appreciate it if they don't waste mine, work the entire deal backwards off the net driveaway number, and generally have been happy with the lack of hassle this dealership has given me on previous purchases. With that as my background, I explain my purpose to the first guy who approaches me, and he immediately disappears from the face of the Earth in a flash of smoke, apparently called back to help Moses haul the tablets down from Sinai. The rest of the sales staff begins to circle me slowly at a safe distance, speaking in hushed grunts, squatting low on the lobby floor picking up handfuls of dust which they then fling up into the air, spinning around, striking themselves on the chest in unison, and bending back down to slap the floor with their open palms, over and over and over. Apparently, they've never seen The Man Who Wants to Buyout His Lease, and this frightens and confuses them.
I stand in their midst as this Cirque de Salesmen undulates around me, unsure of the next step, when out of the F&I office emerges a squatty man clad in a breechcloth, his chest smeared with Vicks, a drape of magenta Rich Corinthian Leather tossed over his shoulders and clipped together at his throat with a zip tie, and a tall headdress made of rolled up and stapled Extended Warranty contracts crowning his greasy dome. "Silence!" he shouts, and the wildness ceases in the showroom. "You," he points at me with a pink highlighter, "Come, sit with me. We talk and learn."
Again, I explain my purpose there, present my original lease agreement with all the numbers, and take out my checkbook to complete the transaction.
He pokes the lease agreement on his desk a few times, slides it around, picks it up and holds it to the light, puts a corner of it in his mouth and chews for a second, puts it on the floor and stretches his squatty body out full length upon it, rises up with it sticking to the Vicks on his chest, looks around as if baffled by its disappearance, holding his hands out palms up like, "Lease agreement? I don't see no stinking lease agreement..." He turns around three times, peels it off his chest, flings it on his desk and drops back into his chair.
"This is not done," he finally says after a prolonged silence. "You come to my land with these strange words and symbols," he prods the lease with a chicken bone, "And I say to you that this is not done. You will look upon my goods and you will buy from me my goods at my prices. You will not buy your own goods from chiefs who are no longer living in my land. My land, my goods, my papers, my prices, my dancing monkeys. Do you not see???"
Ummm, no, here's the payoff amount listed right here, plus the $150 lease termination fee, so let's light this candle.
He begins to shriek, spin around, bang into the filing cabinets, empties the trash can over his head, staples his nipples together, writes on his tongue with a black Sharpie and then collapses across his credenza and weakly begins to load a "Retail Sales Agreement" into his printer. He thumps a few keys on his keyboard, and the contract rolls out onto the floor. He kicks it over to me, I pick it up and read through it and see "$599 dealer doc fee" listed about eight lines down. I point out to him that my original agreement allowed for $150 lease termination fee, and I'm not paying any $599 anything fee, and he jumps up on his desk, pulls his scrotum over his head, does a backflip, urinates into his hands, drinks it and spits it out at me, and then he grabs a push broom and begins swinging it at me, all the time wailing, "Everyone pays the doc fee! Everyone must always pay the doc fee!"
"Out, out, go, go, you never come back to our land. Take your evil papers and wicked ways away from us," they all shouted at me as I retreated back to the Truckster, dumbfounded with what I've just witnessed and been subjected to.
So, I call around until I get the zone regional dude, raise a stink, send the check directly to
Studebaker, without the $599 or even the $150, and get the title. Why must those idiots at the dealership make it all so difficult? And they wonder why everyone hates car salesmen.
I can't believe I just read that whole post. Wow.
Are you sure you weren't in an Edward Jones office?
OMG THAT IS PRICELESS!!! Hunter S. Thompson could'a learned a few things from you.
Where the HELL does this come from? "...chest smeared with Vicks, a drape of magenta Rich Corinthian Leather tossed over his shoulders and clipped together at his throat with a zip tie..."
"...empties the trash can over his head, staples his nipples together, writes on his tongue with a black Sharpie and... "
Need I say I sittin here friggin LOL? Would love to have a couple beers and free associate about the industry, car dealers, motorcycles etc. What model BMW? Any other bikes?
a great story, a great homage to the original work in like style.
Thanks for the humor.
I have to say that the pulled his scrotum up over his head line made my sphincter pucker a bit.
The rest was awesome. Question: Will you ever lease another vehicle? Stude or otherwise?
Seriously, did the lease work well. I drive 4 miles to get to my office and have thought a lot about a lease. Curious if you thought it was a good deal.