I try to save a buck here and there when I purchase big things… I really do. Pam, my parents, or others that know me might dispute that fact, but I think the real point of contention comes from what I purchase, not necessarily the price. Example: “You bought a $4000 telescope?!?!” or “What do we need a $1400 camera lens for?!?!” Now I will say that in over 90% of the purchases, Pam uses the purchased item just as much or more than I do (I think the telescope is one of the exceptions though).
Telescopes, camera lenses, 60-inch TVs, computers… I guess I like my technology and toys. And I can admit that I can sometimes be stubborn about it. Once I make up my mind that “We could really use a ______,” it’s then a matter of researching to find the best bang for the buck. Trust me, if more than ~$200 is going to be spent, I research the shit out of it – I typically aim for 75% the high end. I don’t need the newest, most expensive version… just something that’s 25% back on the curve.
In my growing bag of experiences, I’m starting to see a trend item: you get what you pay for.
Though I research and make up my mind on the exact make and model, I always try to find the best price and pull the trigger on it. Needless to say, it’s backfired a few times. Like when I bought our 60-inch TV: I found it for $1000 less than most other stores from some internet retailer. They promised 2 weeks to get there, and it ended up being a month and a half with a tracking number of someone else’s TV. To make a long story short, I got my money back (with a fight) and just ended up paying close to full price at the near-local Best Buy.
Well, when we found out we were going to Italy, we decided on shipping both our cars. The government will only pay for one car, so the second car was on our dollar. I started searching around to get an idea how much it would cost. My average response: about $2500. Though I did find a place that would ship it for $1500… sold!
Well, thank God we decided to ship our old truck, and not the brand new Prius, on our own dollar. The company seemed awesome… pay the money, drop it off, it would arrive in Italy a month later, pick it up.
Only we dropped it off and that was the last we heard. We hadn’t paid yet, and I was dumbfounded that no one had called asking about payment. After a few weeks, I couldn’t take it anymore so I called them. “Oh yeah, we need your payment before it arrives… right now it’s scheduled for June 17th.”
Right – you know, I might expect that with the US Post Office or something, but this is a vehicle that we’re shipping.
So I call on the 17th with payment information, and ask if the car is in port. It was… in Hamburg, Germany! “But I thought it was supposed to arrive in the Italian port on the 17th,” I say. Oh no, “it goes from Germany to Italy by truck. It’ll be a few more weeks,” they say. Not to beleaguer the point, the car actually showed up in Italy on the 26th of July.
I made the transaction as quick as I could, because I just wanted to be done with this soap opera and drive the car home. But we are now proud owners of an Un-Chevrolet.
What’s an Un-Chevrolet you may ask? Here’s some pictures:
Not only did every emblem disappear, but so did the Georgia license plates, the hitch, and everything inside the car… it was really quite the magic trick! Why anyone would want Chevy emblems, I don’t know… at least the car didn’t have extra dents or anything. Luckily for me the Italians didn’t look at the back-up plates I brought with me for this very contingency; I drove it home with New Mexico license plates that had been expired since 2006. Which leads me to another pondering: I hope those missing Georgia plates don’t come back to bite me because they were ultimately the cause for my arrest warrant.
Yes I’m a little pissed about the emblems, but it’s a sunk cost at this point. I was planning on selling the truck in Italy before I left anyway. I’m pretty sure whoever buys it isn’t going to care all that much about the emblems… they’ll just want a hauler that is reliable because trucks are a rarity in Italy.
The shipping company was Horizon Auto Shipping by the way… and I don’t think I’m gonna recommend them.