It’s a Deal

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Westway Autos
Scotsboro, AL

After the chance test drive of the Volvo V70 over the weekend I had officially caught feelings. But lord, Volvos are not exactly in lush supply in this area. There was only a single other model available within a 150 mile radius and it was located in Scotsboro, AL, about 45 minutes east of Huntsville. Scotsboro is a town I’m fairly familiar with as it’s home to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, a giant sort of thrift department store stocked entirely with goods that were literally lost (or “unclaimed”) on a flight. I’ve always thought of Scotsboro as a good place to score a deal.

This Volvo was being sold on a small used car lot called West Way Auto and the rep was far less toothy and slick than your average used car salesman. Dude was about my age and he was sort of awkward about the whole engagement. At one point while explaining the pros and cons of using a Carfax report to assess a car’s condition he caught himself and said, “lord, I sound like a used car salesman.”

This was a 2002 V70 XC (Cross Country edition, I shit you not) with 150k miles on it. They were asking $5,000. It drove smoothly, and most importantly, he was able to give me some straight answers about the timing belt and general condition of the internals.

After the test drive I dropped the keys back in his hand and said, “let’s talk.” His office was lined with cheap wood paneling and consisted of only 2 rooms: waiting room, deal room. Here’s the thing, I actually relish the bargaining process. My dad gave me a 12-tape audio series of Roger Dawson’s Power Negotiating when I was like 11 years old.

I put an envelop full of cash down on the table in front of him and said “here’s $4,000” if you’re ready to call it good right here. He hemmed and hawed and said at 4k he’d be losing money on the deal. “How ’bout forty-five hundred?”

I said I didn’t have that on me and that I’d have to return to Huntsville to think that over. I figured that if was willing to go anywhere south of that he wouldn’t let me walk out of his office. And yet, here we were shaking hands and letting him walk me back outside. My mother had driven me there and I had to pull her aside to catch her up on the deal. She asked me why I didn’t buy at $4,500, and I said that at this point I intended to but that I had to see how far he’d let me push it. So we hopped in the car and drove around long enough to provide cover for a story about having run to the ATM for the extra $500, even though I had it in a separate envelope in the backseat.

Honestly, I was a lot more shady than the dealer.

We drove out to take a picture of this gloriously rainbowed awning outside a general store called Hammer’s that I saw on the test drive, then turned around and parked back on the lot.

We had ourselves a deal.

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Posted: June 11, 2012

Author: marcus

Category: Alabama, Locations, Scotsboro

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