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Surviving a Day at a Car Dealership


Chevrolet HHR

What can you do while waiting all day for your car to be repaired? Watch TV, browse through magazines, sleep, and people watch – or blog. I chose the latter to keep me busy at a particular High Desert auto service repair business. I didn’t plan on having my car repaired yesterday morning. Nevertheless, my car helped me make that decision when I heard an alarm and saw a warning message that let me know my plans for the day had suddenly changed. The turn of events made me think of another day when I was involved in a much worse vehicle scenario. It was also on July 26. I was about 13 and was riding in a Ford pickup with my dad and brother. We were towing my brother’s cougar to the Ford dealership that my dad liked to do business with. My brother had wrecked his cougar, and we were taking it to the dealership’s auto body repair shop. The cougar never got repaired. We were involved in a horrible accident. The pickup and cougar were totaled. But the good thing is the three of us lived. Honestly, I’m not superstitious with the date July 26. But if I had to choose between that July 26 years ago and yesterday, I’d definitely choose yesterday. A repaired car is better than a wrecked car that has been totaled.

After arrangements were made with the service department to fix the car, I settled into a corner of the customer lobby area convenient for plugging in my computer, charging my cell phone, and blogging. It’s for such events like this that I keep my computer with me. A blogger can wisely use an unexpected half hour, hour, or more while having to wait like I did. It does help when the auto dealership or repair place offers free wi-fi service to the customer. It’s even better when you have your own wi-fi.

Before adding a new blog post, I read a blog post by Tania L. Ramos, author of Be Still: A Novel. Tania blogged about Home Based Business Part I. How well I can relate to her post. She writes about economic plan for survival, a timely topic in my car repair circumstances. First of all, I had to figure out how much of the all-needed repairs to agree to without going broke. This is why you need what Tania writes about, acquired savings. Enough for a few loaves of bread. On that note, I dared to ask the service department technician to bring my lunch bag I had left in the car. Bless him. He actually did it. He walked all the way from the service area to the lobby carrying a gray bag with pink handles and pink, orange, and white polka-dots. He expressed to me that he felt quite manly carrying the bag with pink. I love it. It’s not every day I eat my homemade lunch in the lobby of a car dealership.

A car dealership is a place where you observe frustrated people and heated conversations. One lady expressed her lack of trust in car salesmen. A couple waited on another salesman to deliver an offer. The nice thing about this place is they are wonderful about chauffeuring customers home or to a restaurant while waiting on repairs or necessary paperwork on a purchase. Can’t beat that kind of service.

I met an elderly couple who own two HHRs with low mileage. They love their HHRs, one which was purchased at Rancho Motor Company in Victorville. These HHR owners also have their cars serviced at Rancho Motor. If you’re thinking of purchasing an HHR, however, you’ll have to find a used one for now at least.  The last HHRs were made in May 2011. You can hope for a comeback, though, with the same body but with upgrades. For instance, the inside handles are cheaply made and typically break easily. I asked one man who works at a Chevrolet dealership why the HHRs were discontinued. It’s not because they weren’t popular. He said it’s common for cars, even popular ones, to stop being manufactured and then be built again after about four years with the same body but made differently otherwise, including upgrades. So HHR lovers who wish you could purchase another HHR, there is hope as long as you are patient. When you shop for any car at Rancho Motor Company or have your vehicle serviced, there are four things I’ve learned about them that may be of interest to you:

  • they offer free wi-fi for their customers
  • they offer shuttle service
  • Donnie is a salesman who will work with you to find the best car for your situation (a couple I talked with were pleased about their purchase at Rancho and recommended Donnie)
  • the service technicians do their best to see that your needs are met

Bottom line on surviving a day at a car dealership is know your vehicle economic survival plan. Whether purchasing a car or getting your car repaired, knowing what you can or can’t afford is top priority. Then prioritize the options. Purchasing? Be prepared to negotiate. Never allow yourself to feel pressured when shopping for a car. Having your car repaired? Again, prioritize if your repairs are multiple. If your financial survival plan doesn’t allow for all the repairs, make the best choice for you.

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