The voice on the phone said that it had just sold. I hit the refresh button on my Internet search and sure enough, the white Civic was gone. Then several days later, it reappeared for $2,995 on the same dealer’s lot.
Intrigued, I called again to see what the deal was. The voice on the phone reassured me the car was there and for sale, but played dumb as to whether or not it was “sold” earlier or whether the price had gone up.
Something was fishy. It looked good in the pictures… I traveled up to Marysville unannounced and found the Civic right out in front of the mechanic’s shop at the dealership. The back seat was torn out. The sales guy took a drag from his cigarette and told me passively they were replacing the fuel pump.
The trunk smelt like mold. There were curious wear marks on the upholstery. The steering wheel looked like a polished turd.
In my mind:
Smokey the sales guy sold the car for $2,499 to a person who didn’t find the original low price to be as ominous as I had. Several days later, the fuel pump went out of it. The unhappy customer brought the Civic back to the lot and demanded a refund. Maybe they threatened to sue. Maybe they just caught Smokey with his conscience out or maybe he just wanted to save face in a community as small as Marysville.
Either or all of these ways, the dealership took their bad apple back and was replacing the fuel pump when I got there. The price was raised to just under three grand to pay for the labor and parts.
I left without asking Smokey about my theories. I didn’t feel like being lied to.
My tortured soul.