Random Observations on Life

Random Observations on Life

Over time, owners do resemble their dogs!

This is a blog about a dog. Well not really. This is the more about the ramblings of the dog's dutiful owner, Blue's Dad. Although Blue might be the backdrop of this whole experiment, there's no telling where this trail will lead me. I apologize ahead of time for the randomness of my observations. I've always tended to color outside the lines.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Professor Bluesdad's Perfect Method for Buying a Car

This post is going to be completely out of character for me. It has nothing to do with my observations on life, or how much people can irritate me (or I them) but it is a chance to sit at the feet of Bluesdad and learn :-) Class, this is a fool proof way of getting the best deal on buying a car. I developed it about ten years ago and have successfully bought (or helped buy) at least 6 autos using this method, always getting thousands off the advertised price.

If you're one of those people who love to have your sales person go back and forth with your offer to 'their manager" in the other room, then this is not for you. On the other hand, if you feel like you want to be in control of the situation, you should give this method a try. This system works whether you are buying used or new from a dealer. Here are the basic steps:

1. Visit dealers with the purpose of finding at least 2 or 3 cars that you would be happy to have from different dealerships. You CANNOT get so emotionally attached to any of the cars that you can't walk away from it. The cars don't need to be the same make or model. While visiting the lot, let the sales person lead you around and give you their card. You need a contact person for later.

2. Tell them that you plan on buying a car today, but will need to look at all three cars and get prices before you decide. They will not want to let you leave, but be strong. Let them know how this plan works. Feel free to fully disclose my method to them. They will not like it, but tell them this is the method you use to buy cars.

3. After you have chosen 2 or 3 cars you would be happy with and have a contact person at each lot, call the salesperson back or even go back to the lot. Follow this script when talking to them:

"I buy cars differently than most people. I don't do any of the back and forth games. I have looked at three cars today. Each of them I would be happy to have."

"You have ONE CHANCE to give me your best price. I don't want to talk about incentives or rebates, I just want a number on a piece of paper." (it is best if you don't have a trade in, that muddies the water a little and they will let you think they're giving you a good deal on your trade-in when their really jacking up the price on the car you're buying) "After hearing all the prices, I will either accept or reject your price, but there will be NO more negotiations.

"If I reject your offer, I would not expect you to go check again because you already told me it was your best. Accordingly, I will not try to negotiate your stated price. If I accept your offer, I will purchase the car today."

4. At this point, the salesmen will try to say things like, we don't do it that way. At which time you should say, "well, that's how I buy cars, so if you want my business, that's the way you'll do it". And if they refuse to do it this way, leave. You don't have to pay more just to do business with them.

5. You must keep your end of the agreement, by not trying to negotiate further.

6. When all the dealers give you their rock bottom price, you can choose which car and price you like best and purchase the car.

Just in the last three years, I have used this method on two cars in my family. One was new and I walked out with an SUV for 25% under the listed price. The other was a slightly used compact car that we bought for so far under the original asking price (and even what I was willing to pay) , that even I couldn't believe it.

The basic theory behind the method is as long as the dealership has you make offers, they are in control, but if you can get them to make the offer, you have the control.

Try it if you dare. After you've done it once, you'll find it's really quite invigorating.

Now, I realize the chances of your buying a car right now are slim, so send this blog to everyone you know, I want to turn the auto buying experience upside down!

Now class, do you have any questions? Bueller? Bueller?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lessons Learned in Church Basketball

You wouldn't know it now, but as a teenager, I liked playing basketball a lot. My friends used to joke that I had tried out for basketball in high school, but they already had one.

My friends were the driving force of my love for basketball. My four best friends were well over 6 feet tall and any of them could've played school ball (and a couple of them did). We all played on a church league team together.I wasn't any good, but I loved to play.

Since I was a year older than three of my friends, when I graduated high school and was no longer eligible to play in the league, I coached the team instead. Our team was very good. It consisted of the three friends who were outstanding players, three or four average players and....Duane.

Because it was church ball, we invited and encouraged all that wanted to play to join us. Duane was a skinny kid with unkempt hair and no coordination. He had some mental problems which resulted in him being an outcast in most social situations, so we all tried to include him and let him be part of our group. He had an ear to ear smile when he was with 'the guys'. As a coach, I had made a deal with Duane that he could play a guaranteed two minutes each half. That was plenty for him and it didn't get in the way of our 'serious play'.

That year, our team was especially successful. We made it through the state tournament with little challenge from the other teams. When we got to the regional tournament, we met our equals and each game was more difficult than the last. It wasn't easy, but we made it to the championship game against a team from Memphis. As we neared the end of the fourth quarter, the game was switching leads with every basket. With just a couple of minutes left in regulation, I felt a tug on my sleeve. I turned to see it was Duane. "Randy," he said sheepishly, "I haven't got to play my two minutes this half." My mind reeled with the possible results of letting him play. The other team would surely take advantage of him. It wouldn't be fair to subject him to that treatment, would it? But honestly my resistance was the chance it could jeopardize the game.

"I'm sorry Duane," I replied while keeping my eye on the game in progress, "The game is too close, we could win the championship!"

"I understand, Randy. It's ok" is all he said.

It's been thirty years since that game. Believe it or not, I don't remember if we won the game. I don't remember where we ate after the game, I don't remember the car I was driving. All those unimportant memories have faded, but I do remember one thing: I didn't let Duane play.

I didn't see Duane much after that year. The team and the game had been his chance to be part of something big, and I had let him down.

It's always a challenge in life to know what's really important and what's seemingly important; what's important in the moment and what's important in the long run.

If we could teach our kids (and ourselves) anything, it would be to make decisions that will make the long term difference and not focus on the immediate reward.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thoughts on the Election

Every four years about this time, I get REALLY excited for the presidential election....to be over. It will take a couple weeks of Monday morning quarterbacking about the election, then we can get back to normal.

As we get closer to the elections, I get tired of people being encouraged (chastised) to get out and vote. Is this what we really need, a bunch of people who don't know anything about the issues voting? Do we really want Marvin Mullethead voting for McCain because he thinks Obama's name is Obama Bin Laden or 19 year old Miss Pris voting for Obama because he's "Oh so cute!". Yes, it is our opportunity and privilege to live in a country that we are able to vote. Soldiers have died to preserve our right to vote, but didn't they also die for us to have the right NOT to vote. There have been countries where citizens are required to vote (of course, there is only one name on the ballot). So, in a way, some people are using the rights when they don't vote.

Now, lets look at the candidates:

John McCain touts himself as a maverick. Those of you who were of lucid age during the 70's will remember that a Maverick was a car made by Ford. It was the big brother of the Pinto. Need I say more?

Besides, isn't a Maverick someone who does not go along with the status quo but bucks the trends. Hasn't he been in congress like a thousand years without bucking the trends? Why start now?

I wonder about his choosing Sarah Palin (affectionately known as Caribou Barbie) as his running mate. Don't get me wrong, I was excited when he chose her and I've watched SNL for the first time in a decade. I think it would be really fun if she were president, but not being a pip to Gladys McCain.

Barack Obama-I worry about a guy who goes to a church for 20 years where the pastor spews hatred against America. Wouldn't he have been better off staying home on Sunday and watching NASCAR? At least he could've gotten Marvin Mullethead's vote! I hear on the news that Obama is widely popular amongst Junior and High School students. Well that should be reason enough to vote him in! They certainly have well developed political acumen, don't they? And his running mate Joe Biden. Well who really cares about the VP (unless it's Palin. At least she's cute). If you couldn't tell, I have become a bit cynical over time and I'm not sure who we elect to the highest office really matters a lot.

I would guess the majority of you have never heard of Weevils, they are a type of beetle. Well, I had one of my unusual dreams the other night where two Weevils were taunting me. "Vote for me", the larger one said. "No, vote for me", the smaller one replied. This went on for quite a while. Finally, I decided to make a decision and finally voted for the smaller one. I chose The lesser of two weevils (rim shot).

But I have to make a decision, so in case you're wondering, I'm going to vote for....

Jorack Mcbamacain!