And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Friday, January 21, 2005

You Can't Always Get What You Want

I find it extremely hard to believe that one can approach a business with tens of thousands of dollars in hand and still not be able to get exactly what one wants when the business purports to actually sell that item. I mean, I've heard of bait and switch, and I don't think what we're going through quite comes to that, since we haven't been pressured to spend more money on something we don't want, we've just been told that we can't have what we do want.

Dave and I have finally reached the regular car-minivan threshold. We went shopping in November for a new minivan, deciding on the Toyota Sienna. You know, the one that went through all the redesign to make it family-friendly, the one that has all the advertising showing the kids designing it. Sounds great, right? And we got the promise of a good deal, going through USAA -- $500 over invoice. Terrific. Where do we sign to get the green one with gray interior? Oh, you want green? Well, they don't make lots of them. One might come in in a couple of weeks, or that one might be promised to someone else. What about dark blue? Again, not a popular color. Can we special order? Sure, but we can't tell you when you'd get it -- you have to wait for a certain number of cars to be ready to be painted the color you want, and there's no telling when that will be. Fine, we said, we'd order a green one with the package we wanted.

That was more than two months ago. Since then, I've seen a green one out and about, and green is actually pretty ugly. Now I'm back to wanting dark blue. Surely there have got to be some of them somewhere. But there aren't, according to my car dealer. He's scanning a five-state area -- 1,536 Toyota Sienna XLEs -- and there are no green or dark blue cars to be had with package #6. What the hell? Why even advertise that you can have whatever you want if you don't actually make that combination??? Might as well go back to the Model T -- any color you want, so long as it's black.

Dark gray? I ask him. Nope. Silver gray, maybe -- he's checking for me. So I'm going to get my fourth choice, if that. Do you know how frustrating it is to spend $32,000+ on something and still not get the thing you want? And I know I'll find it dissatisfying. My current car is dark blue, and I've never bonded with it the way I did with my first car, a tropical island green Geo. I loved that car. I loved being the only one around with a Geo. The color so fit my personality. But apparently I'm the only one who loves brightly colored, non-red cars. In America.

Maybe I'll spring for a professional paint job and get it painted purple. Yeah, that's it. Then I can be unique -- the mom with the purple minivan. But I probably won't go through with it -- my practical side will take over. Sigh.