Monday, February 13, 2017

Car Bargaining

About 6 years ago, Lan's car was due for replacement. It was almost 20 years old and parts were starting to become hard to find. One afternoon when we were coming back from the market in Sunnyvale, we decided to stop at the Ford dealer.

They were having a sale on the Ford Focus, Lan likes small cars, so we thought we'd check one out. We talked with a salesman who took us for a test drive. We didn't like the Focus at all, but decided to have some fun.

We went into the salesman's cubicle where he started the car salesman's pitch. He told us we could buy the car for only $19,800. We countered with an offer of $18,900. He went back to the salesman's secret room to, "Check with his manager."

When he came back, he said we could have the car for only $19,500. We countered with an offer of $18,200. Every time he came back with a new offer, our offer went down another $500 or $600. After a few iterations of this, he said in frustration, "You can't bargain that way!"

We said, "You bargain your way and we'll bargain our way."

When we got back to our car, we both burst out laughing. We didn't buy a car, but we had a lot of fun bargaining.

Title Company Fun

When you buy a house, the last step involves the Title Company. Here you have to sign-off on about 20 pages worth of disclaimers and warnings before turning over your cashier's check and getting the deed .

The last time we bought a house, the Title Company's charge was $1,600. Lan and I decided that we would try to get our money's worth.

Most people quickly scan the documents and just sign each page in a process that usually takes about 20 minutes. For us, it took an hour and a half. We read each section carefully, discussed what was meant, and asked the Title Company rep, Megan, for clarification on each point.

When we got to the bottom of each page, there were two places for signatures. As we had planned, Lan signed first and then I signed below her signature. After about an hour of this, Megan was starting to get visibly annoyed. When we neared the end, she turned to me and asked, "Why does your wife always sign first and then you sign below her?"

"Isn't that the way everyone does it?"

The look on her face when she realized how we'd been messing with her was almost worth $1,600.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bottled Water

A few days ago, as I was leaving Safeway, I saw a pony-tailed, gray-haired man take 2 empty 5 gallon water jugs from the back of his Volvo station wagon. He put them down in front of the "Pure Water" vending machine.

I watched as he put one of the jugs in the machine, put his quarters in the slot, and started filling the jug. I went over and offered to show him where his water was coming from. I directed his attention to the water faucet that was about a foot from the vending machine. It had a copper line that branched off the faucet and went to the back of the machine dispensing "Pure Water".