Saturday, November 22, 2014

How Not to Buy a Car

After an eventful moving-in day, we had a very productive Friday. I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and got my driver's license in 20 minutes, in and out. After that, we got a new toilet installed, and other repairs to the house took place without a hitch.

Then -- get this -- the cable guy came when he said he was coming and installed cable and wifi.

It was almost as if the mafan of the day before paved the way for a day of ease. Other than some mysterious rashes that Bob and I both developed (contact dermatitis? stress?) the day was great.

Too great, it turned out.

In what must be a cosmic recalibration, our Saturday went to hell. It started out in a promising way. Bob went to Enterprise and rented a car, which we drove to the first of three dealerships we were going to visit. After that, we thought we might hit Target and the grocery store and make good use of wheels.

We spent some time test-driving cars at Ourisman Honda in Bethesda. And had a nice long chat with the salesman, and then with his manager, a Chinese guy whose family was originally from Shanghai, after which we popped over to Bethesda Bagel to get some lunch, and then went back to the Honda dealership.

Except our rental car had disappeared. Enterprise came and took the car back. The Honda dealership was also a dropoff point for the rental agency, and some fellow, probably eager to get started on his Saturday night, grabbed our car and returned it to the Bethesda lot, after which he locked up and went home.

Following all this?

The valet at Ourisman informed us that we needed to go to Enterprise and get our car back. The salesman at Ourisman brought in his manager, and the two stormed through the office, trying to help us get a car and get out of the place.

"Wo bu zhi dao sheme shuo," the manager said. (I don't know what to say.)

Someone at Ourisman suggested we check and see if our contract was still in the rental car, so the salesman drove us to the Enterprise lot. There was our car, unlocked, with the contract in the glove compartment. Bob helped himself to his contract, checked unsuccessfully to see if there was a key (and yes, this is starting to feel illicit), took pictures of the car, license plate, and registration number, and left.

We're back home. No car, no groceries, no nothing. Bob is on hold with Enterprise, and "Ventura Highway" is playing on the hold music.

I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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