Conclusion: The search for (sexy) cars

Friday (April 6th) I went to the Rivertown Honda dealership. I wandered around the parking lot in the extreme cold prior to talking with a new car sales person. I test drove the Honda Civic EX w/ Navigation and LOVED it. It beat all other cars I had been in right on the spot. Great fuel efficiency, power sun roof, automatic everything, 6 disk CD changer, touch screen LCD with GPS navigation (which is voice activated too), comfortable seats, and decent back-seat leg room! The entire car felt very well made whereas other cars I had been in were not as nice.

After I returned from my test drive the salesman and I sat down to discuss financial matters. She, as expected, played the Four-Square technique on me, but I just went along with it to see what to look forward to at another Honda dealership. 😉

She began by asking me things like, “Do you have a trade in,” and “When will you be purchasing this vehicle?” The Honda dealership doesn’t use a “Four-Square” worksheet, but they do have a computer program that they type the same information into to calculate values. So, she started saying that if I got $500 for trade in, and put $3000 down with an APR of 7% my monthly payment would be X. However, she never mentioned the ability to negotiate the MSRP. I knew this was because she wanted me to argue the trade in and down payment prices. Because this experience was for education purposes anyways, I played along and asked her other questions; like: “Are there any other fees associated with this close” and “What will the final cost be after all charges and taxes are applied?”

Eventually we got to the MSRP and she said, “What if we got the price down to 20900? I doubt my sales manager will be able to do that, but let me go talk to him.” A minute later she returned with her manager, miraculously he was able to get the price down to 20300. I began to think about it after he left and realized I was being played. She knew what the lowest price is they would go, and she knew it was less than 20300. She only said 20900 so I’d feel better when he proposed 20300. Bastards.

I left shortly after then. I was aware what an “easy” price to accomplish would be. I went home and looked up the invoice price for that model (20154.67). The price they proposed was only 150 more than the invoice price. However, I know they get manufacture rebates every time they sell a vehicle.

After this, knowing how much I would have to take out in a loan, I went to my credit union to get a loan estimate. I showed her my acceptance letter through GV, and explained that I do not start until May 7th. I guess I have pretty good credit, but my debt to income ratio is too high for them to give me a loan right now. She said I could come back in a couple weeks and they’d be happy to give me a loan at 6.25%.

Saturday morning I found a listing of all the local Honda dealerships. I wrote a script that I was prepared to say (in my professional telephone voice) to each dealership to see what price I could persuade them down to:

“I’m looking to purchase a 2007 Civic EX Sedan w/ navigation (Automatic)

I’ve been in contact with the Rivertown Honda dealer who has offered me the car for 19,300.

Is there anything you could do for me to bring my business to your dealership?”

I realized that the price I stated was a lie, and that it was extremely low. I also realize that if a dealership cannot match that price then I can only hang up otherwise my intentions would be obvious. I started off by calling the Muskegon Honda dealership for practice. Originally when you call a dealer they ask how they can transfer your call. Each time I would say “New car dealer please,” and they would transfer me. I read off my script perfectly, and the guy took a moment to look up their cost. He sounded alarmed that anyone would ever offer me the car for that low of a price. He said that he would be loosing money on that sale, and he couldn’t come anywhere close. I then, knowing I couldn’t now say “How low could you go” without being obvious that no one really quoted me that, I concluded our conversation.

I then bumped my script’s price up to 19,700 and called the dealership near 29th street in Grand Rapids. This time I got a bite. He said he’d beat them by $200, asked me when I’d be in (I said later next week), and gave me his name. He never asked if it was an automatic or manual transmission, never took the time to look up the cost to them in his books, and only gave me his first name. I was kind of worried that his statement was only to get me in there to con me into a higher/different price.

Having a better estimate at what the car was worth to the dealer, I changed my script’s price to 19,500, and changed the dealership’s name to Fox Honda. I then called one more Honda dealership in hopes that I would get a full name, a better response, and a quote for an automatic. I read off my speech (mentioning it was an automatic), we exchanged names and numbers then he said he’d have to call me back in a couple minutes because he was not near his computer/books.

A couple minutes later he called me back and said that 19500 was unheard of. That he could not beat that price, but they could match it with no loss or gain to the company. He explained that he would give me that price in hopes that they would have my commitment to Honda in the future. However, he wondered what would entice me to go there over the Grand Rapids location? I mentioned that Toyota sometimes gives away free oil changes. He said that Honda sometimes gives a card for 4 free oil changes and tire rotations to people who are purchasing a second Honda through them. He said he would include that in the sale for the same price as the Honda dealership in Grand Rapids. He then started talking about making a down payment of $250 to show my commitment, and I just said I’d need time to think about it, and would get back with them on Monday.

On Monday I plan on calling the Rivertown location, telling them what they have offered me, and trying to get a free extended warranty included. If that fails I will call back the better deal and schedule an appointment to close on that car before they change their mind. The only thing I am worried about is getting approved for a loan through the dealership before my two weeks are up for the credit union. I realize I could take a loan out through the dealership then refinance my loan through the credit union (The woman at my credit union suggested I do this if I needed the car ASAP).

Wish me good luck,
Daniel Slaughter

Edit: I thank Cheryl Slaughter for this sly advice.

Corelle Hearthstone and Cambridge Silverwear

Today I went to Meijers to discover they have Corelle Hearthstone Dinnerware on sale for 2/$5 (regularly $4-6). The regular price for a box set of four settings was $50. I spent a total of $33 on four settings.

Corelle Hearthstone Silverwear Corelle Hearthstone + Silverwear

The set includes the following:

  • Four large round plates – red, yellow, white, orange
  • Four small plates – red, yellow, white, orange
  • Four bowls – red, yellow, white, orange
  • Two green plates – green

Typically the two green square plates are not included in a set. Four coffee/tea cups are included in the regular set, but I didn’t get them. I figured that since they weren’t on sale I’d wait on those for now. I figured my coffee/tea cups don’t really need to match or I could just get them later. The only thing I have left to get is glasses.

Martha bought me the silverware for my moving in gift. I told her she didn’t have to but she insisted. They’re very nice stainless-steel full-body silverware. The knives could probably cut your skin, they’re pretty sharp.

When picking out the Corelle Hearthstone Dinnerware Martha caused 4 small red-plates to fall on the floor. Unlike the commercial, they all shattered. The people at Meijers cleaned it up for us as we felt embarrassed.

32 Ounces

Saturday I went to Brans Steak House and Grill for my first time. I ordered my typical tea, opened the menu, and discovered a 32 ounce alcoholic girly-drink called the “Mombo.” I had to have it, so I ordered it. I got the “Endless Summer” flavor, which was very similar to a strawberry daiquiri. It was delicious! I have a picture on my cell phone that I will post on here later.

Daniel Slaughter

I’m famous-er

Flickr: 500 GBFlickr: PizzaI logged into Flickr for my first time today in months to post some pictures I took with my cell phone. I uploaded newly taken photographs of the new 500GB WD5000YS Western Digital Hard Drive I purchased and installed along with some pictures of pizza I baked.

Flickr: Thank YouAfter doing that I looked at the record of what pictures people found most interesting. Come to find out this “Thank You” picture, which has a max-resolution of 384 x 288, was my best one. As of today this image has been viewed 174 times and 2 people call it a favorite. I’m amazed!

Flickr: PawnsThe second most popular photo of mine is titled “Pawns.” This picture has been viewed 40 times and has 1 person who marked it as a favorite. This same person marked another picture of mine as a favorite too, but that one doesn’t have as many views.

Have Fun!,
-Daniel Slaughter

Kidney Stones (They Suck)


Kidney StoneSaturday I had my third, and hopefully last (I wish), Kidney Stone. I woke up at 8am, felt a burning pain in my lower back on the right side. No matter what direction I sat, how much I cracked my back, or my use of the bathroom, there was nothing that could stop this constant pain. I knew almost right away that I was the third-time victim of a Kidney Stone by the symptoms the others had granted me. I was hesitant getting medical attention though I did have liquid codeine from my tonsillectomy. Unlike the two other Kidney Stones my body had produces over the last four years, this one followed other bodily symptoms I was concerned about. I wasn’t sure if it was something else, like my pancreas or something deep in my digestive system.

My hesitation to call for help lasted for about ten minutes. My parental units were off to their typical Saturday breakfast at an unknown location when I decided to call Martha who was to be at work at 9:30am. I ended up calling her initially at 8:30am stating that I may need medical attention, but not to worry. I then called her back at 8:45 (or maybe earlier) pleading with her to bring me to the Grand Haven Hospital.

The Far Side: Kidney StoneIt wasn’t long until she was at my house and we were on the road. I was in great pain as she drove me there. I was emitted into the emergency room (ER) right away and because the doctor was busy with another patient it took them another half-hour to get pain killers in me. As they were administering the pain killers and nausea medication I asked for a bucket that I then proceeded to vomit into. A lot of vomit came out. I filled that sucker more than half the way. I was impressed. The nurse said that most patients who have that amount of pain from Kidney Stones throw up; that was my first time ever doing it.

Whatever drug they gave me knocked me out. I slept for 24 hours on and off from 11am Saturday to 11am Sunday. During this time they gave me a cat-scan using a Panasonic dough-nut looking xray machine (from what I remember). They told me to hold still, and the machine randomly asked me to hold my breath as it scanned. I remember falling asleep as I was holding my breath and waking up still holding it. I wonder how long that would have lasted?

Well, I’m all better for now. I’ve decided to cut back on carbonated beverages (one of the top causes for Kidney Stones). My insides feel like I have been beaten and bruised.

Wish me luck!
-Daniel Slaughter