After coming home from Sweden three years ago I got the idea in my head that I wanted a Volvo. I traded my sporty little green MINI Cooper (6 speed! supercharged!) for a solid grey Swedish brick. And I liked it just fine.
We leased the car (my taste tends to run on the more-expensive-than-I-can-afford side) and the lease ended this month. We decided to go with Volvo again, but to exercise some fiscal responsibility (and lower our payment and increase our travel budget) we decided to buy a used car. We picked one out at the Volvo dealer here in town. It was a sweet car — twin turbo, all the nice features a girl could want, and some for Brian, like the DVD player and refrigerator (!) in the back seat. But it had over 100,000 miles so it wasn’t eligible for my CapitalOne Blank Check car loan deal.
Our car salesman couldn’t accept that he wouldn’t “close the deal” (his words) so he checked on financing through the dealership. Again the high mileage made things complicated, but with a $1500 down payment we could close the deal.
Well, if you’ve ever spent 21 days in Europe you may sympathize that we came back pretty penniless. Certainly not in any position to shell out $1500. So we declined the car and found one with fewer miles (albeit fewer fancy trimmings) elsewhere.
The story doesn’t end there. The salesman — let’s call him Brad — called and talked to Brian a few days later. “I’ve got some good news on the S80,” he proclaimed. “We’ve come down Several Hundred Dollars on the price.” Before Brian could remind him that we weren’t making a down payment, Brad went on. “AND, you don’t have to put any cash down. We’ll take assets in the form of jewelry or weapons.”
Jewelry or weapons as a trade-in on a Volvo — yes, you read that correctly.
I was flabbergasted when Brian told me, and not a little offended. “Would he take a freezer off our back porch?” I asked, “or an aquarium, waterbed or big screen tv?” Seriously, I can see maybe if we were buying a used 4wheeler from Jim’s Fun Cars, but a reputable dealer selling European cars? Really? And let’s not even get into the likelihood that I would own weapons.
I left it alone though, until Brad emailed me:
I was just curious if you are still interested in my S80? I had talked with Brian and shared some really good news. I just need to know if you are still interested? Please advise.
I couldn’t resist.
Thanks Brad, but I have to say I was rather put off by your offer of allowing us to bring in “guns, jewelry or other assets” in lieu of a $1500 down payment. I’m not sure whether you were kidding, or whether Sam Swope Volvo has turned into a pawn shop/check advance business, but either way I’ll have to decline this unusual offer. We have no assets available for a down payment, weaponry or otherwise.
That was that until we dropped off our lease-end car. While completing the paperwork the gentleman helping us asked if we’d found another car, etc. etc., and did we shop here? I told him I had indeed, and asked if he would care for the whole story. When he expressed interest I shared the details. I assured him over his protests that I was not in fact kidding. His eyes popped. He picked up his phone. A man appeared. “Tell him what you told me,” he said.
I relayed the details and waited for more aghast exclamations. But no, as it turns out, this dealership, back in the old days (don’t know how far back we’re talking) took on trade items ranging from farm implements to livestock to yep, guns and jewelry. This particular gentleman found nothing untoward in the offer I’d been made. He stiffly apologized “if” I’d been offended and excused himself.