Sometimes, having a baby in tow helps. Yes, carrying a baby in the grocery store or to church can often be a bit hairy. But... let me tell you... bringing your baby car shopping is the way to go!
Chris's Jeep finally took a dive, after fourteen solid years. We new we couldn't afford to go buy a brand new car, but we wanted a quality used SUV of sorts.
As Chris takes 99.3 million years to make a decision (even if only deciding on a blender), I knew we were in for some trouble. The fact that the Jeep's driver side car door was refusing to shut increased the need for a new vehicle, and fast.
So... what did we do? We brought Gabe with us car shopping.
I know how car dealers work. The whole back-and-forth about the price and the "let me check with my manager" crap. Come on! Give me the real price already!
When you have a baby in tow, things have no choice but to progress at a speed faster than light. Just the view of a squirming, screaming child scares male car dealers.
So here's how we played it:
Me: "Hi! We have a really small window here to look at cars today. We definitely need a car, and if we can get the right price, we are ready to purchase today."
Dealer: "Wow. Okay. Today?"
Me: "Yes, preferably before Gabe wakes up from his nap." (Dealer looks at innocent, chubby baby sleeping in car seat).
We tell the dealer our specifics (having already researched online, knowing the dealership's inventory and list prices).
Dealer: "Well.. hmm... let me take a look and see what we can do."
Me: "Okay. But make it speedy! (I dramatically glance at Gabe, making it appear that I am looking at a literal ticking time bomb).
So the dealer comes back with some options, all of which are over our price range. We choose the car that we had researched online (checked the CarFax, compared the price to Kelly Blue Book etc.)
Chris: "Can I test drive that one?"
The dealer grabs the keys and pulls the car up. We brought an extra car seat base so all we had to do was transfer the car seat (with Gabe still sleeping in it) into the "new" car.
We set off for the test drive, asked questions while driving etc. I sat in the back next to Gabe, looking over everything in the back. Chris drove and checked out the front.
Ten minutes later, we were back at the dealership.
Chris: "So, what is your final asking price."
Dealer: "Well, ah, you can see it there on the sticker."
Gabe, as if on cue, miraculously starts waking up.
Chris: "Oh, well, if that is your final price, we thank you for the test drive, but we can't do that price."
Dealer: "Well, what price were you thinking?"
Chris lays out the specifics for him. Meanwhile, Gabe starts softly whimpering from the car seat. The dealer glances at Gabe, fear slowly starting to grab hold of him that this baby just might poop, cry, or spit in his direction.
Dealer: "Let me go talk to my boss."
Me: "Okay, but seriously, we have about a ten minute window here before we have to go. Gabe gets really mean, really fast!
The dealer comes back with a price, miraculously two thousand below his earlier "final" price. Chris says not low enough. I grab the diaper bag and start to head for the door to leave.
Dealer: "So you don't think there is any way to make this work?" (He stares at the now fully crying Gabe)
Chris: "Well, not tonight. Thanks for the drive. Please give me a call if you can get closer to our price."
We leave. Drive home. I feed Gabe. About 45 minutes later, we get a call with a now even lower price. It's in our ballpark. We accept. Done deal.
Ahh.... that was the fastest, most efficient car shopping experience ever. Thanks, Gabe!
Side note: Knowing Chris's car was on its last legs, we had been researching cars for about six months. We knew what we wanted (type, mileage, price etc) and pounced when the time was right. Plus, Gabe clearly accelerated the process!