• 55°

Dislike of haggling leads to facing fears head on

By JACK GODBEY

Community columnist

A few months back, I needed to purchase a vehicle and began the long and tedious process of trying to figure out how to get the vehicle I wanted without being charged an arm and a leg. I have never enjoyed the process of purchasing a vehicle. 

Some enjoy the song and dance of negotiation but I never have. I suppose that’s because I was raised to mean what I say and to say what I mean. 

It seems that I may be alone in that belief as most people’s word is worth about as much as an expired Arby’s coupon.

If my budget for the car is $10,000 then that is exactly what I mean. If the car is priced for $15,000 then either I pay it or I walk away. 

It appears that I am expected to haggle the price down. 

Can you imagine if this was the case at the grocery store as well? “Yes, excuse me sir. I see you have this 12-pack of Coke priced for $5. Will you take a dollar for it”? The clerk would think I had lost my mind. 

It seems that if you’re at a car lot I’m supposed to offer a price I know they will not accept and they are supposed to counter with a price they know I’m not going to pay until we finally stop pretending and agree on the price it should have been all along. 

I began to look over the car which consisted of raising the hood and pretending that I knew what I was looking for, and I had a flashback to a time long ago when I purchased my very first vehicle and the important lesson I learned from it.  

I was barely 18 years old and I was working a full time job and decided that I wanted to purchase my first new vehicle. I found a shiny red truck that I couldn’t stop thinking about. 

I stopped and kicked the tires on it a few times and the salesman asked me if I wanted to drive it but I chose not to. It was new so I figured there were no mechanical problems and something that beautiful just had to be perfect for me so I signed the papers and it was mine. 

My dad dropped me off to pick up the truck but when I got in I saw something that struck fear in my heart. The truck had a manual transmission, which I had no idea how to drive. 

In my haste to purchase the truck, I paid absolutely no attention to this before I purchased it. 

I looked over at my dad with panic and asked him to drive it home for me. In his usual calm and collected voice he said, “No, you bought it, it’s yours. Now get in, face your fears and drive it home.” 

I did get in and started home. I am amazed I didn’t get whiplash before I got there though because my head jerked back and forth the whole way home as I jammed through the gears and the engine stalled at least 50 times in the five-mile trip home. 

My dad was on guard and driving behind me to protect me from being run over by speeding drivers until I figured it out. 

If you find yourself in a situation that seems scary to you then remember that you can’t avoid it and you have to face them head on. Hopefully you won’t get whiplash while you figure it all out.