Ed has a life philosophy that relies on getting the last scintilla of service out of anything before letting it go. So when his Mazda was being driven without air conditioning, several attempts to fix things having not worked, including scavenging parts of junked cars, and with over 186,000 miles on it (and you thought I was kidding) and with no hub caps, because they kept bouncing off, and with the reek of thousands of cigarettes, and scarred upholstery, it still took a while before it dawned on him that he should replace it. Also, we had by then committed ourselves to moving to Florida, and it had be be able to make the trip.
So at an Isuzu dealership on Staten Island, he made a deal for an Isuzu Rodeo a year old with 15 miles on it, the story being that the previous owner had run out of money and returned it to the dealer. The Mazda was accepted as a donation to a charity for a tax write-off. We were moving so we said "register it in Florida" and the sales guy said, "Oh, down there with all the SMOPS." And we said, "SMOPS?" And he said, "Slow moving old people."
The Isuzu did have a problem that was never solved except sometime last year when it finally stopped on its own. This was that the lubricant in the doors in the front of the car constantly leaked and it took me a long time to figure out why my clothes were always getting tar on them. When I discovered the source, I applied electrical tape to seal off the bottoms of the doors and periodically had to replace the tape.
The Isuzu, suffering in the Florida sun because we can’t garage it, due to the garage being a 3rd world country, slums included, had gotten to look so bad that Edward had it repainted a couple of years ago. The sunset was not yet on the horizon that he could ride this car into. Elvis, the body shop guy, said the roof had rusted through and he fixed that too, and it looked newish after that and Ed was happy. He said it was worth the expense because it was riding very well and got good gas mileage. We had also replaced the ignition mechanism, but the replacement was for a Honda, so we held on to both keys because the Honda key couldn’t open the doors. I personally never locked it because I thought who the Hell would steal this car? And we had the gas gauge fixed because it stopped telling us how much gas was in the tank, so we had to keep a written record of mileage to know when we needed to fill it with gas. And recently that, again, stopped working.
Meanwhile, for some years the car had been leaking oil, dribs and drabs and then got worse. Mike, our auto guy added something to make it stop, but that didn’t work. Then the oil totally got used up and Ed got some oil in cans to add to it, and then he used my car, while I drove the Isuzu to the auto shop and read a book while they changed the oil and Mike promised to order something better, more expensive, that might work. Meanwhile, our newly paved driveway has a HUGE OIL STAIN on it and Ed bought something at Home Depot that was supposed to get it off, but that was three months ago and he hasn’t gotten to that yet.
So even though the Isuzu ONLY had 143,000 miles on it, last Wednesday we drove to the Toyota dealership on north 41 in Punta Gorda, recently bought by a hotshot entrepreneur named Gettel. He has to be a multi billionaire because he has dealerships everywhere in Florida. This guy bought all the dealerships on auto row, something like eight of them. He is trying to revitalize the auto sales business. Punta Gorda is, apparently, not a location that is heavily patronized by people with lots of money. So Ed got a good deal on a silver Toyota Highlander LE Plus. We got there at 1 p.m and left about 6 p.m. in our new car. There were more bells and whistles on a higher-end model, but we'd never use them.
Ed drove a hard bargain and I am not a fan of his negotiating personality, so I found lots of reasons to wander away from the conversation. I had some great chats with other employees.
What does amaze me is how much Ed knows about cars, about car sales, about dealerships, and sales strategies and practices. They were taking Tylenol and checking their wallets before we left. I would have just probably said, oh, this is the price? Okay.
I need a tutorial to drive it because of all the electronics. It is also a bit longer than the Isuzu, and a bit taller and wider, Ed wants to train me on it in an empty parking lot first. Understanding how to use all the electronics commands is also (for me) a big deal. Since it has collision sensors and will brake for you if it has to, and a rear-view camera (I really love this feature and it is automatic once you go into reverse), I see it as being less prone to driver mistakes than the Hyundai I am now driving. It also beeps when you are changing lanes, as a warning in case you are falling asleep or have lost concentration. But I am happy with the Hyundai and not at all upset with waiting.
The salesman also hooked up Ed’s smart phone to the Bluetooth feature and now all he has to do to get me is say, “Call home.”
Today I left a message with Mike to let me know when he gets the new oil remedy because the Hyundai has a minor leak that should be addressed.
I am a little surprised that Ed closed the deal in one day instead of driving around to a dozen places.