When I was a little boy, my father regaled me with tales of magical creatures that lurked in the Ardennes Forest, the Alps and the high steppes of the Cossack Frontier. Dozens of ’em. And yet Dad forgot the one about the Magical Depreciation Fairy. You know: the creature that lurks in vast concrete expanses that harbor shining metal dragons that enslave weaker members of our society. I shall now inform the Best and Brightest of the characteristics of the Magical Depreciation Fairy, lest ye fall victim to its devious ways.
I discovered this common, yet elusive creature in the environs of Oklahoma, where I heeded the call of a shiny Dodge Challenger SRT 8 with a manual. It was the only example of said vehicle in all of Oklahoma City that did not have dealer tack-ons, nor an adjusted market value sticker. At 2000 hours (8 p.m. for real people), the settled price for the Challenger came to $42,500, from $45,185. Trade in value for my VW Jetta TDI, $13k. Done. My plan: export the Challenger to Europe (where I will reside in three short weeks), drive it for six months, and then sell it on consignment. The broker for the deal was OK with the news from OK.
Overnight, a fat, hairy, sweating beast with golden rings and wings bounced through the lot, dusted my Jetta with depreciation dust, left dirty hand prints on my hood, and bounced on down to HUMMER to create more havoc with the already beleaguered brand.
Next morning, I discovered the value of my Jetta had suddenly and otherwise inexplicably dropped from $13k, to $10k. Apparently the Depreciation Fairy’s friend in used cars couldn’t get the promised trade-in value after calling “the markets” the next morning. The Depreciation Fairy’s friend, The “Waste My Time Fairy,” kept me in the dealership for four hours whilst we discussed, called around, and tried to find a cure for the damage caused by the mythical miscreant.
Once the Fairy’s magic started to weaken, I called the broker in the Netherlands, told him the deal was off due (to mitigating magical malfeasance), and walked out. At least the “Banish the Customers” Troll was afoot; from 0800-1230, nobody graced the Dodge dealer’s door besides myself. Seems like the dealer would kill this Troll as its keeping his three children from being fed (yes, he really did use this line).
Moral of this tale: there be but one way to keep the Depreciation Fairy at bay. Get it in writing.