(Hint: This post should be read while imagining a laughing machine in use at the end of all conversations)
KL decided he'd get a new car that day, come no matter what. Eswar & I had to accompany him over to the dealer. When we hopped on to the metro, SN (KL's project mate) also was on the same train.
All of us wanted to interview KL about his choice of the car, why 'new', why 'used' etc and Eswar began to bell the 'cat'
Eswar : KL, how long have you been thinking of buying a car
Me : 3 years, 30,000 miles..but finally he decided to buy a car today.
KL : Yeah, kind of
Eswar : What car are you gonna buy ?
KL : Thinking of Corolla.
Eswar : Corolla, what is the freaking point. You might as well by a Camry. The resale value is anyway gonna be 3K lower the moment you take it off the dealership.
KL : Yeah, that is why I want to take Corolla
Eswar : Dude, Camry is the best selling car and you have more chances of selling it. Corolla does not have the 'horse power' to run it up a hill, take for example my car, it struggles to get up a hill. The pickup is bad dude.
By this time, we were all successful in instilling enough doubt in KL's mind about what car to buy.
Me : Eswar, that is no big deal. He will put the car in reverse and climb the hill. The pickup does not vary that much between cars, to go up a hill in the reverse gear ;)
Eswar : No seriously, KL, you should get a camry, it has better pickup that corolla
SN : I agree, Camry is better than corolla and has decent pickup, but it does not 'race'
KL : Yeah, am looking at driving a car and not racing a car and you know the resale value is important
Me : Then you should buy something like 'kia spectra', you pay only 5k to take the car off the showroom and you lose 4k immediately and you can drive the car with peace of mind
Eswar : And you can donate the car, claim tax deduction, which will be more than 4k and you actually endup making a profit.
Me : Buy & Donate couple of times and you would have saved enough to buy a Merc :-)
KL : Boss, all of you are confusing the heck out of me
Me : You are like vishwamitra meditating and we are like the 'distractors' and Eswar is the Menaka to completely change your mind...
with those words, we started drove towards the dealership and started taking a look at the car.
Eswar : KL, if you take some weird colored cars like bright yellow, the price will be lesser than the mainstream colors
Me : and yeah, your insurance rate will be jacked up to overshoot the savings :-D
We were examining the cars and came to Echo, which had very or little trunk space
Eswar : I think you should take the Echo, it will help you control your finances.
Me : Yes, even if you buy a trunk load of groceries, it is not much. and at the going price of gases, you will think twice about making another shopping trip, essentially keep in check the amount you spend ;)
We finally decided to meet with a salesperson (SP) and what a meeting it was. SP was apparently from West Indies. He recognised desis and started talking about cricket, cricketers, his ancestral parentage from India and Eswar was giving him good company by striking erudite conversations on the game. It could be sensed clearly KL was getting restless about this conversation and suddenly he was like
KL : Thats all fine, what is the price of the car ?.
KL looked like he was an emperor amidst a serious war facing his arch enemy. His dealings were all like 'I don't care'. He meant business
SP : Let us go and take a look at the car.
We went out to look at a blue corolla LE, which was KL's ideal buy. The sticker price was 17,645 + tax,tags & title. The moment SP started to explain the features
KL : We know about the car. We have the cash ready on us now. We will pay for it and take the car out right now, can you let us know your price ?
SP : Honestly (yeah, i bel that) am here to actually fight for you. (ethana paeru raaja intha maathiri kilambirukkeenga). Knowing 'our' culture i will not tell lies (asku busku, indha alwa ellam vera yaar kittayavadhu vechukunga). Why don't you give me a price that I can go work with the manager to seal the deal.
After thinking a bit,
KL : OK, I am gonna give you a price. But it is 'no-haggle' no-hassle offer. It is 13,800 + tax,tags..i have the cash and will take the car away immediately. This is a final offer, Take it or leave it, no negotiation. Thats it.
SP did not open his mouth. But everyone heard him say 'Excuse me, that is my dialog to say, who is the salesperson here...take it or leave it offer from a buyer ?'.
He was too stunned for words.
SP : Let me find a car for that price and walked to the next car and read aloud the sticker price. 13,400 - yeah you can take this.
And it was a ECHO :-)))))))) He levelled the playing field with KL
KL : Are you telling us we don't know the difference between Echo & Corolla ?
KL was still a man at war. And then we decided to have the SP deal with his manager for the price KL had 'finally offered' and obviously the price SP got back to us not even remotely close to KL's range.
Then we played our 'internet pricing' offer which was amazingly close to or even less than invoice price.
I'd like to recommend to all the readers that if you find some internet, no-haggle price, of course not the offer like KL's ;) but one from the dealer and it is considerably close to the invoice price, that is the best way to buy a car. You walk in and walk out with a new car in less than 2 hours no bargaining, you get the best price and a new car.
The post car-buying experience was also funny, like how KL got an insurance quote so low that everyone was joking around that the coverage may be for just wheels alone etc.
All along KL was worried about some safety issues with Corolla, where some one over the web had posted a message saying, when the car goes above 65mph, you get air draught under the car and the wheels don't feel like on the road, making the car wobble from side to side.
KL aired his concern publicly.
Me : Yeah, just make sure you got your pilot's license handy and beware of the no-fly zone restriction in DC area. For all we know you may drive the car about 65mph and the car starts flying into DC and F-16's will be scrambled to 'land' your corolla safely.
Finally Siva, asked KL about the tags.
Siva : KL, did you get a 'personalised' tag ?
Me : He is taking a 'person-i-liked' named tag. (This would remain cryptic to people who can't decrypt it)
Everyone in laughters, but we all felt that KL internally was thinking of how great this idea was.
Only time will tell what tags KL ends up displaying...he atleast does not have to get it right away ;)
Disclaimer : Don't try this at home. Have made all attempt to depict the events and conversations as happened. Narrator can't be held responsible for any 'missed' out oppurtunities. All the cars specified above are registered trademarks, copyrighted by the respective companies. Including the no-haggle offer by KL Inc.