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May 21st, 2013

Replacement Replacement Car FTW

I slept well last night, I think. But I was up before the alarm, and somewhen before I went to work I was online looking up Corolla inventory at Toyota of Sunnyvale's site. I had decided I did not like/want the Yaris. The ride was like it had no shocks at all, and the reason I didn't notice that on the test drive is I test drove the LE, which has a less "sporty" suspension that the SE I actually bought. And the hatchback space was almost non-existent, way too small for the music stand and the baritone to co-exist. And it almost felt like it would roll over when I came across some speed bumps.

One thing they emphasized when I bought the car is they have a no-questions-asked 3-day return policy, and a 7-day exchange policy. I doubted they get much action on that, but I was ready to test it.

And then when I found the Corolla inventory, there was a pop-up which said there was a $4500 discount on the Corollas. The prices on the web site were now about the same as for the Yaris.

So when I got to work, and it was reasonable to send a text, I sent one to Celine, my sales rep, telling her I wanted to do the swap, and could she please have Lee (her manager) and Ali (Finance Guy) let me know the pricing.

She replied that Lee was not in till noon. Fine.

At 3 she texted that the swap was all ready, and asked if I could come in right away. Yup, I could do that, nothing pressing at work. I had to stop off at home and drop off the music stand and get the second set of keys from the kitchen drawer. Also good I went home because the exercycle was in a box in front of the apartment.

Got there a little after 3:30 on account of long red lights and missing the entrance because people were parked in the red zones either side. It's a long pair of U-turns to recover.

So, Celine asked if I would like to pick one out, I showed her the two VIN numbers on the site which were in the color I wanted. She found the second one, and we drove to the gas station where she filled it up, then to the detailing center, where she dropped it off. Then back to the showroom, where she punched in the new info. Ali came by to tell me it would be a bit of a wait, but then Rebecca found me and went over the prices to get the nav system and backup camera I wanted, and the remote trunk release. Another lovely friendly person. The prices were about the same as doing it elsewhere, but the fact that they had that nav system in stock told me they would probably do a better job.

Finally Celine got the call to take me upstairs to Ali's office. I still had not been told how much I was going to owe on the exchange.

As Ali handed me form after form to sign, it became clear that not only didn't I owe them anything, they owed me. The Corolla comes with ding coverage which is not available on the Yaris, so that's a $500 value right there. All said and done, they will be sending me a check for $100.

Celine got tied up with a customer, so it was a 15-minute wait to get the car to the main parking area, and she needed to get the Yaris' keys because I had left the iPod and my water bottle in there (on purpose - didn't want to carry them around in the office).  And then she needed to get the Corolla book package. That gave me time to plug in the iPod and discover there was a covered slot for it. The stock radio shows the playlists and albums and such, it just doesn't show the album art. Nice unit for a standard feature. Also paired the phone to its bluetooth.

Finally got out of there at about 5:40, and back to work at 6:05. Just as Boss was leaving, so at least he saw I got back.

I don't love the Corolla's ride, but it is far better than the Yaris, and I do love the trunk space and the much more comfortable seats. The Yaris seats are black with navy trim, and it was 93° when I drove there, the aircon was not keeping up. Corolla has a beige interior, much brighter/cooler.  There are a couple of WTFs in the 2013 - they made the storage console between the front seats smaller, and 1-ply instead of 2-, and took away the power outlet which was in there. And the rear passenger head rests are too tall, I will be removing them. I also need to get blind spot mirrors,  but they never had those.

Enough already. Bottom line is Toyota of Sunnyvale not only lived up to their no-questions-asked return/exchange policy, they did it in a friendly, professional way with total "please the customer" attitude. I have scattered glowing reviews across the Interwebs, and will be sending Lee and Celine a Lovely Parting Gift™. 

Went to BASFA after writing the review, and retold the short version of my story there. I was unaware that johnnyeponymous was unaware I played baritone horn.  mentioned on FB and will repeat here that it was great to see johno and his lovely and talented Chris there - they have had some nasty medical surprises in the last few weeks, which have all apparently been resolved in a good way.

Boss approved my PTO for June to join up with my oldest and youngest sisters in Poulsbo. Oldest is coming from Israel. Booked flights this morning from work, spent some time after BASFA to book the rental car and lodgings. Younger sister's birthday is the 19th, older's is the 22nd, and I would have stayed for that, but it's Saturday and she's extremely Orthodox, so she'll be spending that at Temple and with people who share her superstitions.
Plans for tomorrow:

That Was Quick

Rebecca from Toyota called, they have received all the stuff to install the after-market nav/backup cam/iPod player system which I gave her the details about yesterday. Apparently others have decided the built-in system from Toyota is suckage, and the same Kenwood model I wanted is something they keep in stock. They just needed to order some cables. So I'll drop the car off in the morning, they will give me a ride to work, and Automation Guy will take me there when it is done.

Today's work was a whole day of trying to make incremental improvements to the tcl program which was working yesterday, but there is some syntax which is a piece'o'cake in every other language I know, but a piece of crap in tcl. Even the tutorials on the web were no help. Tomorrow I will ask Automation Guy to help. It should only take him a minute or three.

Lunch was Barn Thai, an unfortunate spelling of บ้านไทย which is pronounced Baan Tai - Thai house. For those of you who have joined the program in progress, Germans effed up Thai transliteration - in German and Thai, Th is a hard T, not the soft sound we have in English. Same rule for Ph (hard P, not F) and any consonant followed by an H is the hard version. Thai has had and not-so-hard versions of many letters. T is almost a d, P is almost a b, K is almost a g, and so on.

Anyhow, I ordered the drunken noodles, which were very good but a couple of stars spicier than I am used to. Handkerchief came in handy. They have a dessert roti which is to die for, though it is served differently that what you would get in Thailand. Over there, the roti is drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, and sprinkled with crystalline sugar, then rolled up into a cigar shape and served either in a wax paper or aluminum foil sheaf. Here they put the roti on a plate, cut into little pizza-like wedges, with a small (wasabi-sized) bowl of sweetened condensed milk and a tiny spoon in the center.

I like this place because they are at home speaking English or Thai with me.

Stayed at work till 6:30, finally gave up on the programming and went to Petco and bought some products which purport to calm down cats so they don't fight with each other and relax enough to groom them and trim their nails. I fed two of the pellets to Domino, and adorned her with a pheromone collar. She still was hissing at Kaan an hour later. And won't hold still for me to do her nails.

From Petco I went to OSH looking for blind spot mirrors for the Corolla, but they had none. BFD, I can pick up a pair at Toyota tomorrow. From there to Starbucks, where I read some more Sheri S. Tepper. Just when I think I am coming to the end of one of her books, there are 7 more chapters, at least. :-(

Came home to find Kaan had pooped in the bedroom. He had never done that before. While I was on the PC he made an archaeological site out of the first litterbox, scattering poop across the floor. Sigh. It was almost time to change the cartridges, so I did.

At work I ordered a pair of camo suspenders to be sent as a gift to the sales manager at Toyota who liked mine. He will laugh. I also looked for Thai restaurants near the dealership, found a great one, but they don't advertise gift certificates online. I will have to go there and see if they offer them, a gift for the sales rep. If not, Plan B, which I don't have one of yet.

And finally, after 4 months of waiting, ScanCafe finally posted that the 1800 B&W negatives I estimated I had sent them was really closer to 1400, and they were online for review. I deleted many which they should not have scanned at all - the leader into the first frame of the roll, a couple which were badly scratched and some which were too blurry. There were 42 rolls, and the ones which I did not delete will be put on a DVD for me. I expect the originals and the DVD in a week. I won't link to them, because their service was very slow, the estimate for completion was off by more than a month but they didn't keep me up to date until I asked. And they did not get the exposures right on a large number of them. Photoshop can fix most, so there's no excuse. Especially at 69 cents a frame.

These are all photos from my Peace Corps days 1975-77.

Plans for tomorrow:
Drop off car
1-on-1 with boss
P/U car
Put cargo holder from old car into new one, and also selected glove compartment items, the camp chair and the music stand.
Maybe unbox and set up the exercise bike, which will go in the livingroom where the cargo holder currently is parked. That box is in the foyer by the door.

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