I looked up from the desk to see a dark-haired short guy blustering up to the desk. It was obvious that he was upset about something; not at me, or the library it turns out. But his irritation was immediately apparent.
“Here!” he said, pushing a piece of paper at me. “I heard there was a Kelley Blue Book website. Can you look that up for me?”
“Sure.” The paper had the year, make and model written on it. “Ok, that’s in. I need to know what value you want: trade-in, private sale or retail.”
“Oh, DEFINITELY trade-in value. I just came from the car dealer and they offered me basically nothing for this car. I KNOW it’s worth more than that.” The tall young blond guy with him was obviously his sidekick, and nodded vigorously up and down. I could almost hear him say, “Yup, yup, yup,” but not quite audibly….
We entered the zip code, options on the car and pressed for the figure. When it appeared on the screen, he exploded.
“SEE!!!” he shouted, turning to his friend. “They didn’t offer me sh—!” Turning back to me, he said, “They offered me $4000 less than that there on the lot.”
He began the long saga of his used car hunt. How he knew just what he wanted and asked for it, including price range. How the rep only showed him cars out of his price range. He was visibly swelling with outrage as he continued. How on the way out he saw the exact car he had asked for, in his price range, but had been told there weren’t any there.
“I work second shift, so I had gotten up early to car hunt. When I went back, I told them they had wasted my time. ‘I know how you people work,’ I told them. ‘You sell people cars they can’t afford, they default on the payments and you get your car back at some cheap car repo auction price and resell it.’ Well, it isn’t going to work with me. I’m going back there with this and rip them a new one.”
“Yup,” his sidekick said. I swear. “He will, too,” nodding up and down.
“Print it up,” he said.
“Ok,” I said, “Let’s check it one more time to be sure.” I had the zip code in, trade-in value indicated, not retail, all options accounted for. Sigh. Pushing print.
I didn’t try to explain that if people won’t pay a price, the car doesn’t have that value, that markets fluctuate and all that. He didn't want to hear it.
As I handed the paper to him, he flashed an evil grin and said, “THIS – is going to be fun.”
I don’t think I have ever felt so much like the information I was handing over was a loaded gun. And I don’t believe he's licensed to carry.