Monday, February 13, 2006

No more gas guzzling for me

I sold my car yesterday. I've been putting it off for a year and a half because I couldn't stand the thought of a repeat performance of the three-hour bureaucracy endurance test and expensive bribery session that buying it involved. And of course because it's such a cool car, and probably the only 16-foot-long V8 I'll ever own. But I'll be heading back to NZ soon so it's time to bite the bullet. M saw a guy advertising for used cars any age and condition in the paper so I gave him a call, dreading the circus hoops about to be jumped through. Instead, the guy turns out to speak fluent English and actually arrived at the time he said he would, gobsmackingly unusual for this part of the world.

The poor old Grand Marquis, under my ownership, has had pretty much every panel bashed and two wheel trims smashed. The front passenger door is hard to open because it's bent and consequently large areas of paint have peeled off. Unsurprisingly, it's now worth a fraction of what I paid for it. And of course the dealer didn't get where he is today by paying people fair market value for their cars. He was a Kuwaiti, he turned up in a maroon Caprice Classic with full sculpted velour interior, must have been an expensive option when it was new - best dark winter dishdasha with lots of gold accessories, including a gold pen to sign the forms with. I was a scruffy unshaved whitey in DMs and a $2 op-shop jacket, so it's fair to say he probably wasn't feeling overawed by my opulent, sophisticated Westernness. So anyway, he not unfairly assesses my vehicle as an unsellable heap of shit until he does a full panel and paint job on it, and offers 100 KD. I do the suitable spluttering "You cannot be serious" routine and assure him that it will be possible to get someone to pay 300 for it. So it goes for a while and I'm telling him no possible way will I accept 150 for it, and he says "If you take 150 KD, I will handle the transfer of ownership." Shit! Suddenly I didn't want to lose the guy! OK, if he'll take responsibility for the bureaucracy, I'll accept 150 KD, much though it pains me to take such a miserably small sum etc etc.

So, much writing with the gold pen, payment of a deposit, and he was as good as his word. Seriously, when I bought the car, it was from a Pakistani, and he'd already done the significant paperwork before I turned up, and we still spent 3 hours being pointlessly shunted from office to office, trying to struggle to the front of shouting crowds all waving their papers at the guys behind the counter, getting nowhere, and when it got close to closing time eventually bribing a Bangladeshi clerk to do the transfer. This time, the Kuwaiti sent one of his fixers to do it, and we were out of there in less than 30 minutes. He was shaking hands and kissing people left and right, and I got to sit in a chair and at one point get up long enough to show my ID and sign a form. Then "OK, all done." Christ, that was worth writing off the other 150 KD for, any day.