“No, no, no! You don’t compliment the guy, you compliment the car”, I said.
“You did a very good job buying that car,” said Maggie, starting again.
“You’re still missing the point,” I sighed, “A guy can’t accept a compliment directly; he has to be given the opportunity to show off his prowess by someone admiring what he’s gained.”
“I’m still not really with you,” Maggie persisted, “Are you saying that I’m supposed to say ‘nice car’ rather than ‘well done’?”
“Exactly!” I replied. “You say, ‘nice car’ and I say ‘thanks – I managed to get a really good deal on it’ and that gives you the chance to say…”
“I’m sure you did – you’re really good at that sort of thing!”
“Nnggh! No! That’s just given me a direct compliment without allowing me to show off again. You’re supposed to say something like ‘did you? How did you do that?”
“Did you? How did you do that?” Maggie asked dutifully.
“Thank you. Well, the book price is £12,800 with another £300 for Metallic Paint, although that’s a bit of a con because they don’t actually stock any cars that don’t have metallic paint so it would cost them more if I actually asked for a white one. But the ‘What Car’ target price was about “11,900, so I know that I should be able to haggle them down to at least that. But it turned out that they had a special offer on and were selling them for only £11,600 including metallic paint, so I’d already beaten the ‘What Car’ target price.” I said with a certain air of smugness.
“But the only reason you got £1,500 off the new car was because the dealer had it on offer?” asked Maggie, as perceptive as ever.
“Well, partly” I explained, “But I did manage to chose the right dealer to go to, because the one in Falkirk was only knocking off £500.”
“Do they all offer discounts?” asked Maggie.
“Not always but a mate of mine, Barry - who works in the car trade - had told me before that the best time to get a bargain was in December because no one wants to buy a car then because of resale value – if they hang on a month then their car is registered in the following year, which will add a couple of hundred pounds on to it when they come to sell the car later. So the dealers struggle to meet their targets in December so are much more open to making a deal.”
“So you’re mate told you this and you phoned a couple of dealers and found the one with the most money off. So having a mate called Barry and making a couple of phone calls is what I’m supposed to be impressed with?”
“But Barry’s in the car trade” I protested.
“You see you’re missing the point again. A bloke would be impressed with the fact that I had a mate in the car trade.”
“Because it means that I know someone who had inside information. Listen, it’s a bit like saying I know a celebrity – one of the ITV weather girls, or the guy who reads the sport news on the radio. I know someone who knows something important that most blokes would like to know, and so some of that coolness rubs off on me! Anyway,” I continued, trying to move on to more solid ground, “I also managed to get a good trade-in value on the old car.”
“No, no, no! You’re doing it again! You’re supposed to ask me how much I got.”
“So how much did you get?”
“£2,800… you’re supposed to look interested at this point… no, try and look a bit more like you want to know the rest of the story – I haven’t finished yet… yes, that’s better.
“Where was I? Oh yeah, so, according to my research, I should really have been expecting anything between £2,100 and £2,500. So when I was in the dealer’s showroom, he asked me about the car, punched it all into his computer and said he could offer me £2,575 which he’d round up to £2,600 and I managed to haggle him up another £200, knowing that he’d got these December targets to meet.
“So, in the worst case scenario, I could have ended up paying £13,100 for a new car with metallic paint, and only getting £2,100 trade in on the old car, leaving me to pay £11,000 difference. Instead, I only ended up paying £8,800 difference, making a grand saving of £2,200 by my heavy negotiating skills!” I said triumphantly, “OK, this is where you look impressed and nod meaningfully.”
Instead, Maggie said, “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You went into a dealer and managed to negotiate better deal worth £200 on your old car. The other £2,000 was to do with the dealer’s computer assessment of your car and the special offer they already had on.”
I sighed. “You’re not supposed to work that out until after I’ve left. And if you do, you’re not supposed to point it out. You’re really not getting much hang of blokey talk are you? Go on,” I continued, “ask me about the 0-60…”