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Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions. Here's the update.

We made an appointment on Saturday at Hollywood Toyota. My wife had done a good deal of legwork in advance (including finding this board, by the way), so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. The experience was pleasant.

I could have bought a car directly off the lot. The sales representative encouraged me to buy Option Package 3 instead of Option Package 1 on the ground that he had those right now. However, he was also happy to reassure me that in any event he would be able to put me in a car before the end of the month.

The only difference between Package 3 and Package 1 is the SmartKey system. That difference simply wasn't worth $450 to me. He started moving on the price, if I were willing to take the vehicle we identified on the lot (one of the few without a 6-disc CD changer -- another option I'm not willing to pay for). He finally came down $300 (or alternatively, he'd have given me a break on window tinting if I decided I wanted that option), so that I could have had SmartKey for only $150. That price I was willing to pay. But I just couldn't bring myself to buy a white car.

I put a deposit down ($1000) on a Package 1. It's fully refundable if I decide not to go through with the sale. At the sales rep's invitation, I'll call him on Friday to get a status update. He's getting an allotment this week, and tells me that if my car isn't in this allotment, it will be in the next one, and he gets two allotments per month. At that time, we can discuss whether I want window tinting (my wife and son have very light-sensitive eyes, so I'm strongly inclined to make that purchase) and Lojack (that will be a straight cost-benefit calculation, with the effect on insurance factored in). I still expect to be driving my new Prius by the end of the month. --Bob
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