Friends recented visited us from Oahu’s North Shore, and shared a story about trying to buy a car on the mainland. “But why would someone go all the way to the mainland to buy a car?” you might ask.
Well, there’s the fact that it costs around $8,009-$10,000 less on the mainland. And there’s so much less to choose from in Hawaii. (We won’t cover what it’s like trying to buy a car on Maui…. if the Oahu folks feel less than excited with their prices and selections, you can imagine our dilemma. Here, cars are first shipped from the mainland to Oahu, unloaded, put on a boat with Young Brothers and they ship them to Maui–with the attendant mark up. The last time we bought a used car we flew to Oahu, bought it, and had it shipped back to Maui.)
Sound crazy? Such are the logistics of living on an island.
So our friends called around on the mainland, located the exact car (Jeep) they wanted right down to the color, and put down a deposit on their credit card over the phone. Then they bought plane tickets and flew to California with the intention of driving their brand-new car around for 10 days rather than having to spend the money on a Rent-A-Car.
Except, that’s not what happened. They got to the car dealership and were told that their car has been sold. Seems the salesman was not allowed to take a deposit over the phone, as in, “We don’t TAKE deposits!” Our friends fired back, “Well someone here sure did!” But they apparently had put that salesman in the Jeep Witness Protection Program and wouldn’t let them talk to (yell at) him.
Lots of negotiating ensued as our friends worked their way up the management food chain. They demanded their airfare be covered. They demanded money for a rental car, since they now had nothing to drive and hadn’t budgeted for a rental. On and on it went.
But management wouldn’t budge. Our friends had to get on the phone and start all over trying to find the Jeep of their dreams. As luck would have it, they found one for less money, and it all came out okay in the end. But it was very tense there for a while–they probably got a few grey hairs. They still had all the time and paperwork of registering, licensing and then shipping the new car to Hawaii–and every person they talked to from the DMV to the dealership to the shippers gave them a different story. Quite the run-around.
Just thought I would share this as one of the essential logistics of living in Hawaii: do we REALLY want to go try to find a car on the mainland, then have to ship it, to save about ten grand?
And just in case you are wondering: we recently shipped a car from the mainland that was already registered in California. It was significantly higher to register it in Hawaii, as was the insurance. California charges for registration according to how old the car is (so the fee drops over time) and Hawai charges according to weight. I’m pretty sure my car weighs the same from one year to the next! So this explains why every year when I would say to Mike, “Doesn’t it seem like our registration should’ve gone down by now?” that I was pipe – dreaming. It’s not going to go down.
Logistics are those things that people who have never lived in Maui
1) don’t think about, and
2) probably don’t believe, even after we explain it to them.
One of those joys of living on a rock in the middle of the ocean!
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