(Note: If you haven’t already read Episode 1, you should read that first)

Before I left the dealership, I talked for quite a while with Maggie, who does all of their financial stuff. She’s also the daughter of the owner. I would guess that this place has only 6 full time employees. But I digress. Maggie was very helpful. I haven’t bought cars all that often in my life, so I was unsure about lots of things like whether I get the insurance first or the plates first, etc. She was very helpful, both giving official rules and friendly advice. This was nice.

It was curious, though, how we dealt with the deposit. I asked “How much should I leave for the deposit?” “Well, we really like at least $300, but we could go lower if you need. What’s comfortable for you?” Mercy. I explained that I just didn’t have $9000 sitting in my checking account, but that I could easily offer $1000, and wouldn’t that be a nice easy number? Needless to say, they were fine with that, and we ran $1000 on my debit card.

But in the spirit of asking questions, I also said “now, for the final payment, I should bring… what? a cashier’s check?” That was acceptable, she explained, but posed its own problems. If nothing else, they wouldn’t hand over the title to the vehicle until the cash was in their bank, so I’d either have to come back to pick it up, or they could mail it. “But the mail is not always as reliable as you’d like it to be.” She made it pretty clear that her preference would be for cash. But she certainly wasn’t insisting. But it did make sense to me to have the title and be done with the whole process. So, I figured I’d try to bring cash.

Now, it turns out that only a month or two before this, I actually did have over $9000 in my checking account. After a fair amount of deliberation and consultation with friends, I’d moved just a bit more than that from my checking account to a savings account with ING (4.5% on a plain savings account… I definitely recommend it). Of course, when I did that, I wasn’t thinking that I was about to buy a car. So, now I had to move it back. This is a simple enough process, but it does take a couple of business days. So, that was the real cause of the delay.

I paid the deposit on Monday. I arranged to pick up the car on Friday (Priscilla agreed to drive my old car back for me. Thanks, Pri!). But, I was getting closer and closer to having to face the prospect of dealing with that much cash.

I’m sure this is normal for some people. Even some people who aren’t gangsters. But it’s definitely not normal for me I learned. I was very anxious about it. I mean, I enjoyed it as an experiment. But the results of the experiment were definitely that I was anxious. I decided on Friday morning I should call the bank and make sure there were no special requirements to withdraw that much cash. The person who took my call did have to put me on hold and ask someone, but confirmed that yes, I could just go up to a teller, present them with a check made out to “Cash”, and they could give me the cash.

Ok. Naturally I wanted to do this right before we left. I didn’t want to have all that cash any longer than necessary. I walked through the process several times. I had a list in my brain of exactly what I would do. So, it was easy enough to do the mechanics of it, which allowed my brain to spin on things such as whether any hoodloms were taking note of what I was doing, ready to jump me between here and my car.

I entered the bank. I was glad it was cold, because I wore my winter coat that has a nice inside breast pocket. I walked up to the little work area with the plastic date-on-display and the pens-on-leashes. I took out my checkbook and wrote out the check for $8487.00. Eight Thousand Four Hundred Eighty Seven — DOLLARS. IN the memo field I wrote “I’m buying a car” in hopes that the teller and I wouldn’t have to talk very loudly about the amount.

I waited in line, thinking that at this point, I was still safe. Not only did I not have the cash yet, but someone would have had to have been snooping on me really closely to know that this wasn’t an every-day transaction. Then it was my turn. The tellers at my bank are invariably friendly, and so I wasn’t at all surprised by the warm greeting mine offered. “A rather special withdrawal today” I said as I cooly handed her the check. “OH! You’re buying a car!! Oh that’s great! What kind of car!!” So much for that idea. We chatted a bit about the whole thing. And then she explained that she’d need to meet with a bank manager and go back to the vault to get the money. Makes sense, I’ll wait in the lobby.$8487

As I type I realize that I’m probably just outing my naievety to the world, because I’m sure many people go through this kind of thing more often than I do, but whatever. After sweating for a few minutes (not wanting to remove my coat that would soon be holding so much value), I saw my teller return from the vaults. I met her back at the counter, and she started her work:

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9- One Thousand

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9- Two Thousand

The cash was wrapped in packages of $2000 each, so she counted out four of those (does it have to be so loud?), and then the remaining $487, which by that point seemed like pocket change. I had brought an empty plain brown envelope with me to carry this around in, so I put it all in there, and cautiously left the building.

My reasoning was that the walk from the teller to the car was the time to be most cautious. Once I’d driven away, someone would have to be following me to know what was going on. But here, anyone might have been able to overhear.

Well, naturally, nothing bad happened, I drove to the practice rooms at the School of Music to pick up Priscilla. I listened to her play through something on the harpsichord, sweating the whole time (not wanting to take off my coat).Me in the car

But, all that anxiety was either unnecessary or did its job, because nothing else unusual happened. Maggie at the car dealership was very comfortable dealing with all that cash, and of course, once they had it, I was just a few signatures away from driving away in my new car!!

And so I did. It was a nice day for a nice drive, and I greatly enjoyed cruise control and an open sun roof, both firsts for me on a car that I own. Woohoo!

So, is this the end? No! I now have three motor vehicles! I gotta deal with that fact and several other things. You will be able to read about it all in part three of Car: The Mini-series.