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Buying a Eurovan from the Berm

Seal Beach & Santa Rosa, Calif.
Jan. 4, 2003

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For some reason, I live in fear of car salesmen. It's only a few minutes every decade or so that I have to sit there in those leather chairs, while a seemingly earnest salesguy keeps leaving the room to check our offer with an out-of-sight manager, who "laughed at this offer" -- still it's onerous enough to keep me driving my cars on up over the 200,000-mile mark, until they rattle and drop hardware on the roads, their hoses popping, the biology experiments under the seat older than my children.

So it seemed easier to buy our Eurovan from a safe distance -- about 430 miles away, actually, from the sand berm that Seal Beach raises each December to guard against winter storms.

They kept asking us to come in. Would they meet our price? "Well, if you'll come on down, we can talk about it, and I'm sure we can get close."

Actually, I'd prefer to do this on the phone. Can you meet that price?

"Well, if you'll come on down..."

I can get that price in Sacramento.

"What's your Visa number?