I tried to buy a new car yesterday. This has been something that I have been mulling over for the last few weeks, so when I stumbled across a little silver convertible number on the Mini website, I waved it under the husband's nose, and said to him, 'Look at this one. It has my name written all over it'.
And it literally did, as the number plate almost spelled my name out, which was a minor thrill. This wasn't the only reason for wanting to schlep down to Surrey yesterday, but it helped, so dragging the husband with me for some kind of support, we tipped up there full of expectation. A small confession at this point. I had even taken my car's log book with me, just in case we could do the deal and I could drive the new one home. How naive of me...
The thing is, I used to sell cars for a living, probably foisting around 2,000 vehicles on to the unsuspecting buying public over eight years. So I know the game. I know the tricks, of running to the manager to ask for deals, the good guy/bad guy act. For heaven's sake, I even understand how to work out APR. I had done my homework on the part exchange price of my car, and was expecting to be offered somewhere between 11,000-12,500 for it. As everyone knows, it's the gap in the middle which counts, and £12,000 was the gap I was after and could afford.
A snip of a gal called Jo was the sales person who looked after me, and I thought it only fair to warn her that I'd done her job before, so I could probably teach her a few things. (New mats in the foot well, winding the clock back - or don't they do that now?) Anyway, she checked my lovely little car over, and then took me out in the new one. We put the roof down naturally, and Jo came out with a priceless little saying.
'Who doesn't love the breeze between their knees?'
I nearly mounted the kerb after that, but thankfully managed to bring the car back to the dealership unscathed, which is when the negotiations started.
She scuttled in to see the sales manager (overweight spotty, bad suit, scuffed shoes - wouldn't have happened in my day I'll tell you) and then out she came and thrust her iPad under my nose.
I was slightly confused as to where she got a part exchange on my car of £9,000. Mind you the husband had been loitering by my car for much of the morning, munching on a Mars Bar, so perhaps she was mistaken as to what I wanted to part exchange. Just to reassure you, there's no sum of money big enough to persuade me to part with him as long as he's still got the Mars Bar.
I didn't get the car. Having said that, I didn't get any of the Mars Bar either...