We had to sell our Camry.
Our family is growing and last year my wife and I discussed buying a van. Most of our conversations were just talking about the future, but then one day she calls me at work from our local Nissan dealer and tells me she had the opportunity to get a used Sienna at 50% off. She bought it, and a little black rain cloud of depression enveloped me and I moped around the house all weekend like Eeyore. I just knew buying this van meant we would have to sell the Camry.
It was the second car I have “officially” owned. We bought it used after my wife had a serious car accident back in November 2001. A big, bald fellow lost control of his pick-up truck and flipped it upside down onto her Nissan Pulsar coming toward him from the opposite direction. God knew I needed her longer in my life, so he spared her with only minor injuries.
Now that we were in need of a new car, we thought we would trade in my 95 Saturn and become a single car couple. A friend of ours who sold cars in Australia went with us to the dealer to help us pick out a new vehicle. Together, we narrowed our search down to a Toyota Camry that had just been traded in itself.
It was a sweet car. Handled nicely, had a CD player and a tape player, an alarm, hardly any maintenance required except for the oil changes and such. We drove a few times to Arizona in it. A few trips up the California coast; mainly though, back and forth from church.
We were determined to sell it before the fall, so a couple of months ago I bought a set of new tires for it and had it detailed. Except for a few dings and scratches on the body, we listed it for sale at the Kelly Blue Book price of “good.” We were hoping to get at least 7,000 plus for it. We listed it for sale on Craig’s List one Saturday morning, and with in the hour we had people calling us. My wife and I had to filter out the many independent car dealers who called us and smugly told us that “no one uses the Kelly Blue Book price to sell and buy cars,” and would offer us no more that 6 grand to “take it off our hands.” Six grand!? What?! So the guy could turn around and finance the thing to a chump family for 10,000 bucks!
We did have serious lookers, however, and about 5 buyers actually arrange to meet us and take a look. Usually, after about 30 minutes of looking the car over, taking it for a spin, and kicking the tires, they would all say, “we’re definitely interested, but we have some more cars to look at, so we’ll be in touch.” Only but one “stayed in touch” and that was a perfectionist guy who told me he was shocked to see so many scratches on the car. At least he was honest – and stayed in touch.
Finally, a guy calls us at 11 pm one week night waking my wife and I from a sound sleep. He told me he was interested in the car and wanted to come see it. I said sure, but laughingly told him he couldn’t come past 10 pm. He blandly replied, “Oh, OK.”
Any how, on a Friday evening, a college aged kid dropped by with his uncle. They were both of Asian descent. Though the kid who wanted to buy our car was nice, he reminded me of an aimless smart aleck. After driving it around, he and his uncle offered us 6,800-dollars. I told him we wouldn’t go below 7,000. He said ok, and that he would “be in touch.” I figured I would never hear from him again.
The very next day, early in the morning, he calls back and says he wants the car and would pay us 7,000 for it. We agreed. He told us he would come back on Monday afternoon to pick it up. OK we said, that would be fine. Then I get another call from him a few hours later in which he tells us he can’t get the money until late into the week. I told him that would be OK, but if someone else comes around and offers us more, we would have to sell it to the other buyer.
Friday came with out hearing once from our college kid, so we thought maybe his uncle talked him out of it. But Friday evening we get a call from him telling us he would come Saturday afternoon with the money in cash. We met him and a girl friend and it came to find out they were both international students from Hong Kong who just arrived in June to attend school. That probably explains the “aimlessness” I was sensing from the kid.
After counting the money and signing all the relevant documentation to transfer ownership, I hand this international kid the keys to our baby and watched him drive off. My wife and I both became weepy.
Of course we both began to wonder if we did all the right things legally and if whether or not they were really Chinese operatives here in the U.S. as spies, or worse, North Korean spies who just paid us for our car with some of that well made North Korean counterfeit money.
I’ll let you know if the Secret Services pays us a visit.