Follow Me to the Senior Center “The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre”

By Carl and Jo Ann Hauser
February is generally a dreary month, and this particular Valentine’s Day was no exception. The skies were overcast, snow was melting, and a light drizzle was falling. However, my daughter Betsey had the day off, and she was looking to buy a car. Not just any car, but a two-door, GEO Tracker with an automatic transmission. We checked the paper, and the only one listed was on the far side of town.

We jumped into the car and set out on our journey. While we were driving, I gave her every tip I could think of for negotiating with those evil used car salesmen. I finally said, “Figure out the maximum price you are willing to pay, the highest payment you are willing to make, and don’t go past it.”

After about a forty-minute drive we arrived at the dealership. We walked through the doors, and were astonished to find we were the only customers there. The salesman, decked out in red suspenders, red bow-tie, slicked-back hair, pounced on his prey. “Howdy, I’m Chip. What can I do for you today?” He was very nice at first, took Betsey outside to show her the car, and she gave it a test drive. I decided to opt out of the test drive, as my daughter is blind in one eye and has tunnel vision in the other. So after driving over a few curbs, and dodging a few poles, they came back. Once Chip regained his composure, we went back into the showroom, and he politely asked, “What are you willing to pay for the car?” Betsey blurted out, “No more than $13,000, and no payment over $255 a month.” The salesman’s eyes lit up, and his confidence came back. I thought to myself, “We’re toast! She already gave him her bottom line.” However, I had decided on the way over to keep my mouth shut, and use this as a learning experience for Betsey. So, the negotiations began, or so the salesman thought!

Chip started explaining why that car was worth every penny of the $16,000 sticker price. After about a twenty-minute non-stop oration, he asked Betsey, “What do you think, Darlin’?” She said, “$13,000 and $255 a month.” Chip’s fake smile cracked for a moment, then he began again. After another twenty minutes he came down to $15,000, and asked her, “What do you think, Darlin’?” Betsey said, “$13,000 and $255 a month.” Seeing that Chip was getting a little flustered, and there were no other customers in the building, the sales manager Barney and the finance guy Lance came over to help.

I was proud of Betsey for hanging in there, but now it was three on one. Barney and Lance now began their pitch (assault!). After two hours of the most brutal negotiations I had ever seen, Barney and Lance came down to $13,500 and $260 a month. For about the sixth time, they nexium online no prescription asked Betsey, “What do you think, Darlin’?” She looked at me and said, “I’m ready to go home.” We stood up, walked out of the showroom door, and were getting into our car when the three of them ran after us shouting, “You win! You win! $13,000 and $255 a month!” Betsey in a soft, clear voice replied, “You should have made me that offer two hours ago.” Then she sat back in the car. Chip, Barney, and Lance looked at me with shock and disbelief. But all I could do was shrug my shoulders and get in the car. As we drove off into the sunset, I looked into the rearview mirror. I saw the three men collapsed in a heap in front of the dealership door. I started to dial 911, but then I thought, “Naw, after all, they were used car salesmen.” Proud, stunned and puzzled, we drove home in silence. She had beaten three of the best, but refused to take the deal. I once heard it said that the FBI and the CIA have nothing on a woman with a plan. It just might be true.

Now, at the Senior Center we have eight lovely ladies who would be happy to help you negotiate your next car deal, but if they are anything like Betsey, you’ll probably have to close the deal yourself! Besides negotiating car deals, our Senior Center offers a variety of services to enhance your mountain lifestyle. Come share a meal with friends Monday through Friday from 11:30 ‘til 12:15, calling 682-3022 by 9:30AM for reservations. Take a ride down to Alamo for shopping and lunch out. Play Farkle, Mexican Train, or bridge with friends after lunch. Work off those holiday pounds with Gail on Tuesday mornings. We also have a small exercise room with treadmill. There is a computer available for you to google ‘Clark the Dog’ for a great laugh, and see how our seniors roll at www.mtnseniors.com. Marty rocks!

Upcoming February activities: We have a Valentine’s party on Tuesday, February 14. Men, be sure to sit your wife down near Randy; he is a champion jitter-bugger. He’ll dance with your wife so you won’t have to! He is 90, though, so, ladies, take it easy on him! We’ll be served a wonderful meal of steak and baked potato; your donations are appreciated. We’re not sure yet if the Senior Center will be doing a float for Mardi Gras; we have won a prize before, and our seniors and staff do a great job. But, men, don’t let Marrianne or Kathy look at you with their puppy-dog eyes or you’ll find yourself standing on a float in twenty degree weather in fluffy pants with beads around your neck, and a purple hat on your head.

We hope you all have had a great start to the New Year. See you soon at the Senior Center! God bless you all!