Bye-Bye to the Beast, Part 2
Last week I wrote about selling our family’s beloved 1999 Chevy Suburban, aka: “The Beast.” To recap, the supersized SUV was simply too old, too big and too costly to keep on the road. Too bad.
It’s not like we didn’t get more than our money’s worth from the old girl. And I doubt you’ll ever see a fully restored ’99 Suburban at a classic car show (it wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of Detroit design, after all) so why hang on to it?
The likelihood that our not-so-trusty, vintage kid-hauler would likely wind up being bought for parts is something I suspected, but didn’t want to think too much about. I mean, our kids had practically grown up in it and many a family vacation had begun and ended with a turn of the key in its ignition.
But if making the decision to sell The Beast was difficult, actually selling it turned out to be even harder.
Now, I’ve always sold any car we’ve owned to a private party. Trading it in to a dealer was something you just didn’t do in our family. My dear departed dad ingrained in his kids that trading in a car is tantamount to strolling blindfolded through a carnival with a wad of cash in each hand and a sign around your neck that says, “I’m stupid, rob me!”
But this time, for whatever reason, I just didn’t have the energy or desire to sell our Suburban on my own. Maybe the thought of once again having to tell complete strangers where we live and then handing them the keys to our car and sweating out the anxious moments while they take it and drive it who knows where and do who knows what was too much.
And so we decided to first try and sell The Beast for cash – as several people had suggested – to one of the huge, national chains of used car dealerships. We made an appointment online to have our car appraised, then drove it out to their location in Duarte where we sat and waited while a “trained appraiser” went over our car and a sales associate repeatedly told us how we were choosing the superior way to sell a car and that whatever the appraisal came in at, it would be our easiest, most secure, fastest way to sell a car – particularly one of such “advanced age” as ours was.
The more our fast-talking associate prattled on about how pleased we would be with the entire process, the more I began to worry that I was about to get hosed in a most disappointing way.
Sure enough, he suddenly walked out of his office and came back with an appraisal/offer to purchase our Suburban. When I saw the laughably low offer printed in big, bold numbers at the top of the form, my eyebrows went up and my jaw went down. The sales associate asked, “How much higher were you expecting?”
“Seriously? The gas in the tank is worth more than that!” I sputtered, trying not to sound like a scorned high school coed.
“Actually, our offer takes that into account, sir,” he said without a trace of sarcasm.
That I was able to drive away without mowing down the smug little motor-mouthed dipstick is testament to my self-control. And maybe I was more than a little worried that I might damage The Beast and lower its value even more.
Anyway, a week or two later, for the first time ever, I traded her in to the dealer from whom we bought another car. On the plus side, we got almost twice the amount that the used car dealership had offered. Nevertheless, I’m sure my dad, bless his soul, rolled his eyes and elbowed the nearest angel, saying, “Can you believe what that kid of mine just did? He needs a sign around his neck.”
I’ll see you ’round town.