Misconceptions and Challenges/Buying a New Car

So I have spent the last 10 days slogging my way thru insurance forms and accident reports. Getting a rental car arranged and trying to find a new to me car. Not to mention the mountains of mail I have received from attorneys wanting to represent me in a law suit! Oh Joy!

I loved my car. I remember when I first saw it on a web page thinking to myself wow, could this really be mine? Could I afford this cute sporty and sassy car? Would it be big enough for my needs of hauling clients stuff around and the occasional piece of furniture I might need to toss in the back. Would it be comfortable for a road trip. Hmm let’s go find out.

The year was 2019 September, before Covid, and this magical car was in Lincoln NE at Lexus of Lincoln. The car, a 2016 Cadillac SRX. I remember so fondly the day my dad brought home his first Cadillac. A 1968 blue convertible with a white rag top and white leather interior. He was so proud of himself. A traveling salesman by trade this car was a status symbol for him. And, this was the car I learned to drive on, and this was the car my girlfriends and I would drive up and down Dodge Street (the main drag back in the day) with the top down and the wind in our hair, trying to impress all the boys who were doing the same thing! But I digress.

I pulled into the parking lot of this brand new dealership in Lincoln and there she was. Like a beacon, sitting there just waiting for me. Yes she was a she, and she was sassy and a beautiful red, and she had attitude. And before I met the salesman, and before he unlocked the door, I knew she would be going home with me. The very young, as in fresh out of college salesman hit the button on the door and I sat in the drivers seat. Sitting next to me was not the good looking young salesman but, it was my dad. The car felt like home. It embraced me, and made me feel welcome and I could just hear my dads laughter saying Oh Darlin she is the one.

I really felt that she would be my last car. I hate buying cars and at 65 at the time I felt very fine about keeping this sporty little car forever. I don’t care about changing body styles and the next best thing. But then the unexpected happened. I totaled my car and I mean totally totaled it.

I head over to Enterprise to rent a car while I go thru the process. He gives me a Toyota that is the most hideous shade of blue I have ever seen. I don’t want to offend blue lovers out there, I love blue as you all know but, this particular color for a car was just not my jam. I drive it off the lot and I notice a funny smell, I know I’ve smelled this smell before but I can’t place it. The carpet is badly worn at my feet and there is an indicator light telling me to service the car for something about 2 wheel drive which I ignore. I won’t be putting too many miles on this car because I should be able to find a car in a couple of days right?

Faced with having to make a decision on a new car quickly, I wasn’t sure what I would be able to afford. After witnessing up close and personal how a car can protect you if it is well built and thoughtfully designed, I wanted to see if I could find a Cadillac XT4 within my budget. Of course I have no budget because I wasn’t planning on doing this now! The XT4 is the replacement for the SRX, it too is a bit sporty and not too big for an SUV. Knowing I couldn’t afford a new one but, feeling I might be able to find a used one with low miles, which was the SRX. I spent days online searching and only found 2 in the entire city. So then I began to troll used car parking lots that were empty. Oh sure there were plenty of cars to be had but nothing I was interested in. I considered trying to buy one on line but even there, the pickings were slim. Besides I’m a touchy feely person and I just didn’t want to pick a car out from a picture.

With enthusiasm I get in the rental, what is that smell! I headed out to test drive an XT4 I found locally and I liked it very much. It wasn’t the color I wanted but I could live with that, but what it didn’t have was particular bells and whistles I was used to in my SRX. Onto the next, and though I loved the color and overall look it had the same issue, and neither of these cars were Certified Previously Owned. This was something I learned with the SRX. A very important feature.

Now desperate, I get into the What is that smell Rental, I go over to Woodhouse Cadillac in shorts and a t-shirt and my hair in a ponytail to combat the 100 degree heat. I am frustrated because we are now on day 8 of this search. I always took the SRX to Woodhouse to be serviced but had not bought a car there. I am not a high end client that can come in and write a check for a car. I am just a working girl, and my fear of highhanded salesmen kept me out of there to begin with.

Greeted at the door by Scott Carlson made me feel instantly comfortable. Taking me into his office he offered me water and asked what I was looking for. I told him I had been in an accident and that I needed a new car, was looking for a low mileage XT4. He gets on his computer and informs me he doesn’t have any (of which I already knew) but asked me to keep an open mind. Wanting to know what I was comfortable with investing, he informed me he had just received a 2019 XT5 with only 24000 miles. XT5 is a bit bigger but, he tells me it is a smoother ride and he thinks I might find it very comfortable. I agree to take a look so we go in search. It’s gone! We can’t find it as we traipse over the various lots in 100 degree heat. He’s very apologetic and we tuck into yet another building to speak to someone about where the missing car is. We manage to locate it, now at one of their other dealerships. We go over all the stats and it seems to have all the bells and whistles I am wanting and they agree to have it brought over so I can test drive it. I make an appointment for 10 the next morning.

The next morning I get into the What is that Smell car yet again, and head over in shorts t-shirt and yet another ponytail to hopefully end this search. It is hot and I am done! We take it for a drive and finding that it has all the bells and whistles that I want I am ready. This is the one. Going thru the buying process I discovered that all these guys that work at Woodhouse are friendly and easy. They all became part of the experience, putting me on a first name basis with all of them. There seemed to be no territorialism that is so prevalent in other car buying episodes. They all came in at various times introducing themselves and checking on my comfort, making me laugh, and sharing funny travel dilemmas. In the 2.5 hours it took to finish the transaction we all bonded over our love for a beautiful car and shared experiences, and paperwork. I would pick the car up the next day after they had a chance to certify it.

As we prepared to take the What’s that Smell car back to Enterprise I was confident in the choice I had made and so relieved to be rid of the rental. With California license plates I finally figured out what the smell was. It was Pot. The previous renter must have driven from California all the way to Omaha lighting one joint after another. I informed the gal behind the desk that she might want to fumigate that car. She took me outside to go over the car to make sure I hadn’t damaged it in any way. She turns to me and asks me if I will give them a 5 star review and I say no. She said what do I have to do to get a 5 star review. I tell her there is nothing. She tells me she can’t let me leave until they have the 5 star review. Are you kidding me? I just grumbled and walked away.

My new car is now safely tucked in my garage and I know I will love driving it. As I told my new best friends at Woodhouse, this was truly the best car buying experience I have ever had. It is fun knowing that I will be able to tuck my head in when I get the car serviced and say hi, and everyone will know my name.

Thanks for stopping