... It was a Tuesday.
As I was paying for the tickets I thought I would take advantage of my, very, recently acquired senior status and asked for 1 over 60 plus 3 adult tickets and the nice lady asked me for proof. It's well over 40 years since that occurred and I just said not to worry and paid the extra pound, reeeesult!
So with a spring in my step and all thoughs of Greasion 2000 dismissed we set off into the melee.
Blimey, for anyone who has not been before, there is so much stuff and every imaginable (and some totally un-imaginable) kind of things to see. So after a good couple of hours browsing everything, except what we had come to look at, we started at the wrong end of the exhibition, we had lunch.
Suitably and expensively but quite tastily nourished we set off in earnest to view the many and varied motorhome options. Some were good some not so and I am not really going to get into offering an opinion on any I seen as everyone has different requirements, tastes and budgets. Suffice to say I imagine if its not at the show it quite possibly dosent exist.
With so much choice on offer its hard to explain exactly what draws you to a particular manufacturer and model, but for me it was a feeling, a bit like when buying a house and the first time you walk in it feels right, hard to explain why, but it does. We had looked at and been in nearly every variation of our, all be it, small list of requirements, offered by almost all of the manufacturers and virtually nothing seemed to be doing it for me or the others.
However there was one model on the Burstner display which my Son had seen and was quite enthused with and encouraged us to look at.
Now those of you who have been to a show, like this one at the NEC, will be aware that getting into and around these motorhomes can be a bit like being in a furnished revolving door in which every segment is full of people pulling, testing, pushing, on, under or in everything, which means that it can be difficult to make a proper assessment, internally at least.
The outside, to me, looked fine, big, but not a concern (I had a class 1 HGV, now lapsed), on the other hand however was, that whilst waiting to squeez in, I had noticed the price, a good bit above what I had losely reckoned I would like to pay.
It was nice , I was impressed but we left and carried on our rounds. We discovered that there weren't many more, of the type we were interested in, left to view so we had a coffee, over which, we decided we should go back and have another look (this was that feeling thing!).
Well when we got back it was empty, so we got in and I shut the door. Now we could look at everything in relative peace and assess the whole of interior, before long we all were quite caught up in the dream of the open road and the space and comfort this vehicle would afford us.
After a while I decided to seek out a salesman and see what the deal might be should I want to purchase it, so I left the others, now with the door open, and found my man.
I will revert here to the day before we came to the show, when I thought I should have a word with my accountant about finances and the various options open to me, The outcome of which was quite positive. So it was with this knowledge in the back of my mind that I started talking.
Now I wont, at this stage in the blog name names as all sales people are lovely when dealing with a potential customer, who knows what may be my final opinion, but suffice to say he was a nice fellow.
First I start with, 'how much?' Not a bad start eh? Like I had'nt noticed the big sign outside the door! Then the, 'don't be silly, how much really?' Then the, 'what if's'. (You know, cash, finance, part ex) Then, how much for the one on diplay? - Now here is where I learnt that it is not necessarily the manufactures that are selling the goods on display but that there can be a few different dealers from all over the country on each pitch (more insight on this fact later). - So I can't buy the ex display of this guy. Back to the horse trading, and I'm caught up in the dealing, which is something I enjoy and at some stage during this process the others join me and coffee is offered and accepted. I then declare to my Wife, Son and Brother-in-law, before my foe returns, that I am going to buy this motorhome.
Now I wasn't sure at this point if their expressions and nods were those of agreement or incredulity, but my Son did state later that he didn't think I would spend as much!!
I now show my hand and declare that I'm in the market to buy and start in earnest to haggle and am doing quite well, I think, until that is, my wife steps in, and she really starts to beat him up.
It is at this point that I should state that I now see, in hind sight, that I had commited a cardinal sin and not done enough research prior to making such a large purchase. Not that I didn't know what I wanted, I did and still do, but I didn't know what I should and should not have in terms of practical optional extras, the various effects that they may or may not have and this will become more apparent futher on. But I would strongly recommend that at the very least people should read the posts made on forums before jumping in at the, very, deep end.
So the deal gets done, I'm happy, my Wife is happy, my Son is happy and the salesman is happy. My Brother-in-law, well he's smiling (or is he baring his teeth?). No, he is the one who is will tell you exactly what he thinks and the only negative that he had was it was to big for him. The only real down side is I won't get delivery until March 2015.
The paperwork comes out is completed, approved, signed, sealed, initial £3k deposit paid (a further payment of £7k to be paid once order confirmed by manufacturers) and business cards exchanged.
It turns out that the salesman is a director of the company I bought from (this clears up why some of my negotiating tactics fell on stoney ground, enough said!) It was a this point that I realised where the company was based (a bit of a trot), again the result of not enough research, all you need to do is enquire which dealer is closest to you prior to starting any negotiations, as the general consensus seems to be to pick a dealer reasonably close to you for ease of access should problems occur.
But hey, I'm an optimist, if there's a problem I can drive there and I have somewhere to stay!? Plus, at this stage anyway, I like the guy I was dealing with.
The show is over, for the day, and security are asking us to leave. We get in the car and almost imedatley I get a serious bout of buyers remorse, 'f**k, I've spent a s**t load of wonga' and seriously I kept getting waves of it for a good few days. It's like just as you make your first parachute jump, excitement, anticipation and then thinking, on the way out the door, 'bo**ox' what have I done and the abject fear of the possible consequences.
To help settle my nerves, on the following Sunday, we hit off again to the NEC, and this did help, I was able to have another good look at what I had spent my hard earned spondooolars on, chat with the salesman/director and wander round the show looking at all the bits you generally would miss when on a mission of 'just looking'!!
So now I wait and whilst doing so start to constantly read the brochure and specifications, research the cab and chassis, browse the web for as much information as is possible, watch on line videos about my type of motorhome and others and eventually find the forums.
Then I begin to see things a little clearer and the questions begin to arise and it's still only October!
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