Thursday the 3rd through Friday the 11th of September 2009
A week after receiving my money from Progressive it became available for use in my checking account, due to the unnecessary-seeming delay imposed by the credit union. I'd already settled on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I'd already spent enough time picking out that one, so I decided I didn't really want to spend this "gift" of extra time reconsidering. I was going to get a Fusion Hybrid, and that's that. They're in short supply, and they've been selling quickly, often before they even reach the dealerships. So, nearly all of the ones that were available a week prior had already been sold, and most of my efforts spent searching for cars previously were in vain.
I started a new search once I actually had the money in my metaphorical hands, and after re-searching the state and making a slew of calls, I managed to find two dealers who would sell me a Fusion hybrid at the "X-plan" partner pricing that I qualify for as a Microsoft employee. (It's optional whether or not a dealer accepts the plan, but Ford pays them a bigger bonus if they do.) One was the far-off dealer in southeastern Washington many hours away with a green one, and one was in Issaquah less than half an hour away with a silver one. Both were willing to sell to me at a discount only if I financed the car through them, since they would get a commission on that, and both were really disappointed to hear that I didn't have a trade-in. (Out of the dozen or so other dealers, none of the others were interested in selling below MSRP.)
The fellow in Issaquah's offer was rather enticing, and he was wiling to pick me up to get the paperwork signed to put a deposit down on it. But his car wasn't going to be available for another two and a half weeks. That far-off dealer was initially no longer sure if he would be able to sell the car to me at a discount, and I was literally minutes away from scheduling a time with the Issaquah guy when the far-off guy emailed me and said that he'd indeed sell it to me for the price I wanted, and it was arriving ahead of schedule: he should have it at the beginning of next week, two weeks sooner. That was too good to pass up, and I'm willing to drive a few hours to pick up a car if I get it in a better color two weeks sooner. So I put a deposit down on that one instead.
I felt bad for the Issaquah dealer. I mean, he's still technically a person, and I sort of feel like I used him to get the other dealer to give me what I wanted. He was rather helpful, seemed quite honest about pricing (explaining why he needed me to finance the car through him and so forth), and was willing to go the extra mile (or dozen miles) to pick me up. But it's just business. The other dealer simply had the better offer, and it didn't make sense for me to buy from Issaquah two weeks later just because the guy was nice.
So finally, after more than a month since this all started, I'm almost totally done making calls and planning and faxing and emailing and searching. It's been like a part-time job, eating up dozens of hours of my time. Having your car stolen sucks way more than I ever would have naively expected, and that's part of the reason that I didn't get another Civic (and avoided most popular Japanese cars overall). Now all I have to do is wait for the car to arrive at the dealership, and I'll be done with all this nonsense. (That is, barring some sort of unscrupulous evil or clerical mishaps...)
Patience got me an extra thousand dollars dealing with the insurance company. Patience will save me another twenty five hundred getting a new car. But boy does patience suck.