Category Archives: new car buying

But that’s not my baby!

Yesterday I got a package from Subaru of America containing one each of:

Contigo Autoseal┬« West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug (Vacuum Insulated) – 16 oz. (Silver $20.99)
Subaru Ice Scraper Mitt (Gray $10.00)
Subaru Fleece Throw Blanket (Tan $24.99)

They were thanking me for buying a new Subaru. It wasn’t what I had expected.

Buying a new car is, for me, a momentous event because it only occurs about every 12 years. I don’t play around. I’m not a tease, jumping from one car to another. I make a major commitment. My old vehicle had reached the venerable age of almost 250,000 miles (that’s 143 years old in people years). It was time to move on. So I took the plunge, I made the leap from mom van to sporty mini-SUV. I bought a Subaru.

But not just any Subaru. I ordered a new one, a Forrester lovingly assembled on the factory floor in Japan by dozens of short, Japanese speaking people, built to my specifications in the color I wanted with the interior I had to settle for because it’s not like I was buying a Mercedes with personalized color schemes designed by Christian Dior even though I was rather shocked by how expensive new cars have gotten in such a short time and just a couple of decades ago I could have purchased a new Mercedes for the same price.

And I was okay with that because this car was my car, built just for me: dark Marine Blue Pearl with the exact options I wanted.

After waiting almost eight weeks, the big day arrived: it was time to meet my new car.

I arrived at the dealership. Entered. Filled out paperwork. The salesman handed me a key. It was different from the ones I was used to: I could now unlock the car without putting the key in the lock. On the back was a panic button. I looked at the salesman. “What happens if I push this? Will something blow up?” He told me to push it. I did. Outside his window a car’s lights started flashing.

I looked at the salesman. “Someone’s made a mistake and given me the wrong key. That’s not my car”

“Oh yes,” he smiled, “that’s your car.”

“No. That’s not my car. My car is dark Marine Blue Pearl. That car is light Sky Blue Metallic.”

Something in my expression must have frightened him because he quietly backed away.

Of course the sales manager had ordered the wrong color. And the general manager pretended alarm and concern. And I needed to compromise because my other car was 143 years old and could die at any time. So I couldn’t wait another eight weeks. Which meant accepting a different Forester in dark Marine Blue Pearl – a random car sitting on the lot that had not been made for anyone in particular – which the dealer fitted with the options I had ordered.

Driving it away from the dealership, I felt like a new parent being sent home from the hospital with the wrong baby.

Which I explained to the people at Subaru of America when they sent me a survey about my experience buying a new Subaru.

Turns out that Subaru of America gets very interested when things like this happen. They called me. Said they would speak with the dealership and someone would be in touch.

They sent the package instead.