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Look. Do You Want To Sell A Car Or Not?

, , , , , | Working | December 2, 2021

My wife and I have been looking for a particular model of car for a while, and suddenly, a local dealership has three of them! They’re all used but made within the last couple of years, with mileage varying from 14,000 to 60,000. We go through the nonsense of testing them all and choosing one. The one we decide to buy has 40,000 miles on it and is three years old. The only problem is that the initial asking price is at or above how much it’d cost if I bought a brand new one, made this year as a custom order, from the factory. Time for negotiations.

Salesman: “So, what’ll it take to get you in this car?”

Me: “I want it, but the price is way too high. I could buy a new one online for that much.”

Salesman: “Oh, but that’s because it’s the [Model] S edition, not the [Model] X edition. The [Model] S is… [blah, blah, blah, blah].”

Me: *Pauses* “No, that’s not what I meant. This [Model] S from [three years ago] with 40,000 miles on it costs as much as a [Model] S from this year with zero miles on it. I’ll buy it if you can sell it for a fair price. Somewhere around [75% of their asking price] is much closer to the [Industry Standard Website] suggested price.”

Salesman: “Oh, you can’t trust [Industry Standard Website].”

Me: “Again, though, I could just leave and buy a brand new one for your asking price.”

Salesman: “The price is non-negotiable.”

Me: “C’mon, you know that price is nonsense for a used car. Why can’t you negotiate?” 

Salesman: “I don’t set the prices.”

The salesman suddenly makes an excuse to leave and sends in his colleague.

Colleague: “Hi there. I hear you want [vehicle]. We can get you monthly cost of—”

Me: “I don’t care about the monthly. I care about the overall cost. Are you able to negotiate the price?”

Colleague: “The prices are firm but let me get [Other Employee] in here to see about financing options—”

Me: “Are we seriously gonna do the salesman hokey pokey, where you and a couple of others jump in and out of the room to try to exhaust and confuse me into agreeing to a bad deal? I’m not here to play children’s games. I want you to sell me a vehicle that I’m ready and willing to buy, right now. How is that so hard to sell under this circumstance that you need to get three separate men and—” *checks my phone* “—two hours to negotiate? Does it take this many men to change a lightbulb around here, too?”

The colleague stutters for a second before regaining his composure.

Colleague: “Well, uh… Let me get [Salesman] back so you can talk about finances with him.”

Me: “No, thanks. I’ll just buy a brand new one online, customized how I want it to, for that same amount. Bye!”

I left the office, followed closely by [Colleague]. [Salesman] looked mad at [Colleague] but didn’t say anything about it in my presence. [Salesman] called me once a day for the next three days but I brushed him off each time. On the fourth day, he sent me an email with prices a few thousand dollars less than the non-negotiable price, begging me to come back and make a deal with them. I simply replied asking how he had the authority to change the prices now after he was so sure he couldn’t change prices before. He didn’t reply.

Some Landlords Just Aren’t Good Lords Over Their Land

, , , , , , , | Legal | December 1, 2021

Ages ago, before the Internet and cell phones, I shared an apartment with three of my buddies near the university we attended. When we first looked at the place, there were some obvious issues with the building itself and with the particular apartment we were looking at. We were assured that everything would be taken care of. Yes, we were naive.

The building supposedly was “secure” in that it had a lobby separated from the interior of the building by a locked door that could be opened by key or by a button in each apartment. There was a phone in the lobby that would ring the phone in an apartment if you entered the apartment number. The door worked as advertised except there was a missing glass panel in the lobby where, by ducking through the opening, you could get into the secured area. The phone also worked, but the phone numbers it rang were never updated, so entering our apartment number rang some poor folks who happened to have the number of whoever lived there years ago.

The first winter, we discovered that the fans on two of the three electric heaters didn’t work. We reported it to the superintendent (who lived across the hall from us) but it was never fixed. Eventually, we got them to work ourselves, but they were really noisy.  

The toilet tank leaked into the bowl which would then eventually flush after about an hour and repeat. Yeah, reported and not fixed, so I figured out how to replace the seal on my own.  

There was some damage to the walls and inside doors; one area looked like the previous tenants had a dartboard and were very bad at darts. That also was reported and then never fixed. There was cracked glass in some windows, there were doors that didn’t close properly, etc., etc. Always the same thing: reported and never fixed.

After about a year, the building was sold to a different company. This had no effect on any repairs.

Oh, remember that superintendent? One day, I came home from class and there was a big lock over their door handle and an eviction notice stapled to their door. I happened to have parked in front of the main window into their apartment, and the next morning I noticed it was broken and their stuff was all gone from their apartment. I guess they did a “midnight move”. This led to some confusion for a while as that is where we were supposed to drop off the rent.

Eventually, we all graduated and moved out. A while went by, and we were informed that we were not getting our security deposit back “because of the damage you did to the apartment”. Fortunately, we had documented everything, and the one guy who was still living nearby managed to get them to issue checks to each of us for our part of the security deposit.

And — drum roll — the checks were returned when we deposited them because the checking account had been closed — for quite some time as it turned out. Oh, well, they would issue new ones… if we stopped by their offices in person. They were open Monday through Friday, eight to five. As the individual amount was only just over $100, it was not worth it to take time off from work and drive there from my current living location, which I would guess was their plan all along.

A few years later, I read about the companies that had owned the building while I lived there. They had a scheme where they would sell their buildings to each other every so often which “reset the clock” on repairs that the city housing inspectors had ordered. From talking with other people who had lived in their other buildings, apparently ours was better than most, which is hard to believe. At least the city eventually caught on and changed things so their scheme didn’t work.

The last time I was in that neighborhood, the building was still there, and I was tempted to peek in the lobby and see if that glass panel was ever replaced.

Well, That’s A New One

, , , , , | Working | December 1, 2021

I’m ordering two burritos. I go through the first one. It doesn’t have many fillings but the worker seems pretty new, so it takes a long while. It doesn’t exactly look great, but I guess it will taste okay. The second burrito has nearly everything on it and takes even longer. Again, they are new, so I’m being super patient. 

Eventually, it gets to rolling, and after four attempts and swearing several times…

Worker #1: “I give up.”

And the worker walks off.

Me: “Err, what?”

A few minutes later, and still, no one is there.

Me: “Hello? Anyone?”

Worker #2: “Sorry about that. I didn’t realise no one was here. What can I get you?”

Me: “Well, that was my order sitting there.”

Worker #2: “D*** it, [Worker #1]. I am so sorry. This looks a bit of a mess. Do you want me to remake it?”

Me: “I’ve been here a while now. If you can save that one, I will take it.”

She rolls the burrito, packs my food, and checks me out. She applies some discount as it comes out a lot cheaper.

Worker #2: “Again, sorry for the mess.”

Me: “Oh, no worries. We got there in the end. It’s difficult being new at any job.”

Worker #2: “Oh, he’s not new, just useless. Have a good day.”

New Moms Need Stronger Support Systems, Part 2

, , , , , , | Related | December 1, 2021

A new mom’s story reminded me of a time I, too, almost murdered my whole family. At the time, I had two kids. My son was almost four and my daughter was a few months old. She was going to have open-heart surgery soon, so we visited my folks, thinking they might want to spend a little time with her in case the worst happened. My sister came to visit, too, and to meet my daughter.

At one point, we planned to go out to a nice brunch. I got the kids dressed and ready.

Me: *To my father and sister* “Will you two watch the kids while I shower and get ready?”

Father & Sister: “Yes.”

I set my daughter in her carrier on the deck between them and went upstairs. As I undressed for my shower, I could hear my daughter crying and crying. I looked out the window. Dad and [Sister] were simply talking, not even looking at the struggling baby between them. The louder the crying got, the louder they talked.

I got dressed, went back downstairs, and picked up my daughter.

Me: *Sarcastically* “Thanks.”

My sister seemed surprised that I was suggesting anything was wrong.

I stripped the baby, took her into the shower with me, got as clean as I could, wrapped myself in a towel, and got her redressed. Then, I got myself as presentable as a semi-clean, tired, angry mother of an ill baby can be.

I went downstairs to find my son completely covered in sidewalk chalk about six feet from my sister and father.

And then, my mother came out and asked why I wasn’t ready.

Related:
New Moms Need Stronger Support Systems

They Forgot To Put The “Naptime” Sign On The Door

, , , , | Working | November 30, 2021

I’m shopping for a particular part for my car. It’s a big chain with a massive store that pushes their help and advice as part of their service. I quickly get stuck with all the choices and wander around looking for a member of staff. I find no one, not even at the till. 

I find someone at the audio desk. He apologises as he can’t help, but he calls for someone on the tannoy. When that doesn’t work, he calls an internal number.

Worker: “I’m sorry, no one is answering.”

Me: “Where is everyone? Is there some sort of emergency?”

Worker: “No, I really don’t know. Sorry. There should be at least three people at all times.”

Me: “Thanks. I’m going to wait by the till. If they get back to you, can you send them over?”

I wait and wait. I need the part and have a long drive ahead that I don’t want to do without it. I go back to the audio desk and he tries again. He starts to get visibly annoyed at his coworkers and cannot apologise enough.

Fed up, I make a call to the first regional number I find.

Me: “I’ve been at [Store] for… thirty-five minutes, and I haven’t seen any member of staff outside of the audio guy. No one is on the tills or watching the exits. Can you help?”

Whatever they did worked, as three members of staff were suddenly available, even if they looked like they were half-asleep. The kicker was they knew less about cars than I did, so they were no help!

I guessed and bought what turned out to be the wrong thing, but I managed to make my journey anyway.