Why is everything in my life always a saga? Why not an essay? Or even a short story? Why a 'saga'? Isn't life supposed to be simple?
On our way to test drive and buy the 'car that was the last of its kind' (at this price, anyway), we decided to take a detour and see what, if any, other car dealerships were around the area. We had looked at Renault and Citroen. The car we liked was a Citroen. First off we found the Peugeot dealer. They had a big lot (unlike the other two) and lots of cars. This had potential, we said, and pulled in. Unfortunately it was 12:01 and they, like many places, close for lunch from 12 until 2. We drove around a bit more, took a few wrong turns, and, all of a sudden, right in front of us was a Volkswagen dealer with lights on. If they are actually open, we decided, we'd go in and look. They were – and had an Audi dealer connected! (Fortunately, the Seat/Skoda dealership next door was 'out to lunch'.)
We'd had a Volkswagen in Ireland and liked it a lot, but we had to find one big enough for our dogs. We did. The would both fit without taking the back seats out. It gets better: it was a "Limited Edition" which meant it had some fancy stuff, like GPS, and a better interior; list price was less than the Citroen; they admitted that there were new ones coming in soon so were prepared to deal; and, last, but not least, mon mari like the way it handled. To top it off, they were demo's (I have a partiality to buying demo's: someone else does a few thousand kilometres to get the kinks out and we get the benefit of a significant price reduction but with a new car warranty!). So, we proceeded to do the negotiation bit, agreed a price, signed the papers and gave the deposit. That was easy!
But wait, the nice young man comes running after us! 'I've made a mistake' he says. 'The car that I sold you wasn't a demo and we need another 1,000 euros.' Mon mari says 'no, we have a deal.' Words ensue. I (naturally) feel sorry for the nice young man 'How embarrassing to have to admit to such a mistake'. The owner comes out to talk; more words. Finally, after much discussion and many phone calls, another, identical car is found. It's a demo; we can have it for the original price. Everything is the same; pas de probleme! They'll have their colleague drive it up that night! We can come in the morning to look at it! 'How convenient' mon mari says to me – he's such a skeptic.
The next morning we go back to take a look and re-sign the papers. The car isn't there. No good reason, just isn't. Maybe Monday. The thought occurs to me that they are having someone drive a new one around for 2 days to put miles on it so they can sell it to us at the original price and save face….what a cynic. Then the thought occurs ' Who cares? We'll get the better price!' And mon mari really didn't like the way the Citroen drove.
Monday morning we go back, once again. The car is there. All is in order. The paperwork is ready to be signed. We can pick it up on Friday. Of course we have to go back today for more paperwork… It is entirely possible that on Friday we will have our new car. Possible, yes; probable, non! That's life in France.
As to our old car? An automatic? No one wants that, they're too hard to drive! And one does not need 4-wheel drive in the Vendee (highest point 50 meters). Besides, it's missing the little 'e' on the headlamps.
We'll take it back to Andorra to sell. They don't care! They'll put in a false bottom and use it for smuggling…..
You may be wondering where I fit into this; why mon mari is the only one to do the test driving. I'll confess: while I do know how to drive a manual transmission, used to own one, and have driven them in the recent past with no difficulty; it has been awhile, and I am not about to demonstrate my ability or lack thereof to any of these nice young men. I have my pride, after all…