I have a new car. Previously owned. New to me.

I did not intend to buy another car. I went to Cook Ford simply to collect my $5,000 prize.

I walked in the door, armed with my winning scratch-off, and saw a room full of people.

Where beautiful cars used to be displayed was a room full of cubicles. Lines of people were waiting to visit with salespeople who occupied the cubicles.

I should have turned around and walked out right then. But I really wanted my $5,000.

A tall, handsome man who turned out to be Terence Adams showed me to his cubicle, where I explained that I did not intend to buy a car. I just wanted my $5,000.

I also told him I had read the fine print and knew I didn’t have to buy anything. Had I read further in the fine print, he explained, I would have learned I had won the right to check the number on my card with the number on their winners’ list to see if they matched. There would be two winners among the thousands who had received cards in the mail.

But first we had to talk about the wonderful deals available. The discounts. The generous trade-ins.

I don’t remember all the things he said. I do remember going outside to look at a Jeep, which I surely did not want.

He figured out some numbers and gave me a price, in addition to my trade-in, which they would take for a Nissan I had seen and liked.

I drove around a bit in that Nissan.

I turned down that price. He went back to another office and made a counteroffer. He came back with their counteroffer to my counteroffer.

I turned that down. Back he went, and came back with a price, which was just so ridiculous I had to take it. Especially since it would all be covered by the $5,000 I was going to win.

I have since realized that this back and forth with offers is all part of a game. I don’t know where he went when he negotiated. Probably out for coffee.

I finally capitulated. You have heard about offers you can’t refuse. This was it.

I was sent to wait in the waiting room, and then escorted to the lady who would take my check and try to sell me extended coverage. I said no. She said OK.

Then it was off to the bank to get money out of another account to cover that check.

The car is the color of cranberries. It has a hatchback and back seats you can fold down to haul stuff.

It is as cute as it can be and you will certainly see me so you won’t hit me.

I didn’t win the $5,000.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at cgillentine1@sbcglobal.net.

(1) comment

Doyle Beard

age old trick,my my

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