Monday, April 13, 2015
Watch Out World... Here Comes Chris
Wow... What a crazy and hectic weekend. It's not often that the weekend is more stressful than the week but that seemed to be the case this past weekend. I think we all needed a "break" from this weekend!
We had found out about 2 weeks prior that Chris's 1999 Nissan Altima was fading and fading fast. This was a car that we purchased through one of Chris's friends in Oklahoma a few months before we moved to Houston. Chris's previous car, a 2003 Mazda Tribute, has been totaled and un-drivable by the trash company in 2010 and we actually went about 5 months with just 1 car. Then we bought this 99' Nissan Altima for $1,000! This Nissan was also totaled from hail damage but was in good running condition. This ended up being the BEST $1,000 we have EVER spent because we were able to drive it to and from work (in Houston) for another 4+ years. In late March Chris needed an oil change so I offered to take his car to school for a day to use the auto center close to my school. I took it over there and within an hour the mechanic had called back and told me the laundry list of things that was wrong with the car and also gave me a HUGE estimate of repairs. Of course, I relayed that information to Chris and I think we both realized it was time to start AT LEAST thinking about a new car. Chris is very much like my grandfather who drove all of his cars until they died. Chris had all intentions to do the same with this 99' Altima. But what really stuck in his mind was the comment the mechanic made "this is not a safe car to drive in with yourself let alone your kids". We spent the next few days and weeks just researching what Chris would want.
Friday, April 10th
I had seen a billboard at the Nissan dealership on the way to work this week advertising a 2015 Nissan Altima for a GREAT price! I looked it up online and sure enough it was listed at $8K off MSRP. I read up on reviews and did some more research on Nissan and Altimas that afternoon on my lunch. When I got home I told Chris about the offer and the car and after dinner we decided it was time to go and look at it and take it for a test drive. We immediately took the kids over to Chris' parents house and headed to the Nissan dealership. It was already 6PM so we knew it would be a long night but we had no idea what was in store for us.
We arrived at the dealership and within seconds there was a salesman squirming to get our sale (Naturally, right?). I immediately exclaimed that all we wanted to see was the car that was in the online offer while I pulled up the info on my smartphone. The salesman said "That is all of these base models over here" and sure enough there was what seemed like 100's of these available at this price. We told him we wanted to drive one so he went and got the information for the test drive. This salesman #1 also had another couple arrive from the previous day who was going to by a car so he passed us off to salesman #2. Chris got into the car and started to play around with it and noticed the light was on for the gas so he told salesman #2 and he was flippant about it and said "We are just going on a short drive so we should be fine". We took the car and about 3-4 miles out we decided it was time to switch drivers so I could get a chance to drive it. It was at that point, at the entrance to a neighborhood, that the car died because it ran out of gas.
The rest of the night became awkward at best. Chris was so mad because he really wanted to test drive as many cars as he could since we literally had no idea what we wanted. We waited about 15 minutes before salesman #3 shows up with a gas can. Unfortunately, salesman #3 was not the brightest crayon in the box and did not bring enough gas to turn the car over so we had to wait yet another 15-20 minutes for him to get back and get a FULL CAN of gas. By now it was about 7:00PM and we are finally back up and running (literally) and headed back to the dealership.
We got back to the Nissan dealership and asked to test drive a smaller car, the Nissan Sentra. This test drive went much better but we were not impressed with the Sentra as much as the Altima. We came back and decided to look for an Altima that we would want and we found one with the help of salesman #2. This car was RED and a step-up from the basic base model and had LOTS of bells and whistles. However, it had just come off the truck and did not have an inspection so we were not allowed to drive it off the lot for a test drive. Salesman #2 gave us an estimate of what our interest rate and monthly payment would be but because it was so late, the dealership was about to close so we were not able to get an actual number but rather a "guess-timate". We left the dealership with a full list of emotions including; frustration, excitement and confusion just to name a few. We were not sure what the next day would hold but we knew that we wanted the test drive the RED Altima after it had been inspected on Saturday.
Saturday, April 11th
This day started hectic as Chris had Saturday School all morning and Natalie had a soccer game that morning as well. The kids and I got ready and headed to the church for an early 9AM soccer game. Natalie won her game and then the kids and I headed out to do SEVERAL traditional weekend errands. By the time our errands were complete it was about lunch time and we had promised Natalie a trip to Chuck-E-Cheese for good behavior (all greens) for the 8 weeks grading period. This was a complete mad-house on a Saturday afternoon but we survived. Chris and I were both tired just from the crazy start and work load of the weekend thus far but we wanted to test drive the Red Altima so we sent the kids back over to the in-laws to head out to test drive again.
We decided that since Nissan was all we had test driven that we would begin the afternoon at the Toyota dealership to try to test drive the Camry. Toyota also advertised a great deal on both the Camry and the Corolla but once we got to talk to a salesman we discovered that they only had 2 cars on the lot at that price and they were sold in February. The salesman said "Yeah that is how we get people to come in and buy a car". And I quickly responded with "Well not me... see ya".
We then walked down to the Mazda dealership to test drive their mid and full size sedans, the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6. Chris had such great experience with his original Mazda Tribute and was able to drive it 315,000 miles before it was totaled by the trash truck so he really wanted to see how Mazda stacked up with their cars. We had no idea walking in but this ended up taking 2+ hours. We test drove both the Mazda 3 (WAY TOO SMALL) and the Mazda 6 (It was nice but didn't have all the bells and whistles as the Nissan and they didn't even have a base model. What we drove was a mid-level body style and Chris just didn't like it as much). We also were able to sit inside a CX-9 (Their large SUV body style) of which I LOVED! We told the Mazda salesman what the Altima was offered at and explained if he cannot beat that than we would just leave. Of course, a typical salesman tactic he left and didn't come back for about 20 minutes. After about 2-3 times of him leaving the room to check with his sales manager we finally got a quote and it was $3-4K above the Nissan price. We started to head out and the manager said "Wait I can get you Employee family pricing but Jeff is your nephew". We said we were not going to lie to get a car and left.
We immediately went back to Streater-Smith Nissan and took the Red Altima, which was legally inspected and ready to go at this point, on the road for a test drive. We then went back inside to sit down and complete the necessary paperwork to get OFFICIAL interest and monthly payment quotes. That too took quite some time. We sat down and negotiated with the salesman before finally getting a number we liked. Chris was still a little hesitant so we went and put the car seats in the Altima to help get a "feel" of how it would be. This helped and within 10 minutes we were buying a car. By this time it was already 6:30PM and we had just begun the paperwork process. It took all of 2 hours and were not out of the "Finance Box" as they call it until 8:15PM (15 minutes AFTER the dealership closed). Then Eddie, salesman #1, was so great and took time to literally show us all of the bells and whistles on the car again and even set up our phones for the Bluetooth feature. We pulled out of Streater-Smith at 8:37PM as the new owners of a 2015 Nissan Altima.
(And that is what 9.5 years of marriage will do to somebody! Boomer Sooner!)
(And that is what 9.5 years of marriage will do to somebody! Boomer Sooner!)
I am so impressed of and proud of Chris for stepping out of his comfort zone and purchasing this car not only new but also BEFORE his old one died. This was too good of a deal to pass up and an incredible car. This was 10+ years in the making and a well deserved reward for years of excellent car maintenance by Chris. We love this car so far and I can tell this will be a great family car. In fact, Chris purchased this car with Natalie in mind. He wants to drive it for 10 years and then give it to her for her 16th birthday! He is just a superb driver and I know he will take care of it for her!
This whole weekend was a whirlwind of events and stress but we got a car out of it and reliable car at that! Thank you Lord for allowing us to be able to get a new car and I pray this will help keep our family safe! Now our prayer is that my car (2005 Chevy Equinox) can make it for another 2-3 years so we save up enough for the much more expensive large Family SUV that I want.
God is good... ALL the time!