Wednesday, January 1, 2014

in search of a car that goes vroom

After 15 years, the old '99 Buick Century (Bessie--my little cliche car) has finally tired out.  My nice country mechanic described it as "the engine done blown up," and "the engine has expired," to put it in simple terms for me.

Now begins the search for the perfect cheap used car that will hopefully last for another 10.  I am being ambitious, aren't I?

I will admit that I have kept my car so long because I dread this process.  It is like searching through the junk drawer that won't open without having to stuff your hand inside to shove things out of the way, and getting cut by an old pair of pliers several times before you can get the drawer out enough to find the right item.

My first auto salesman encounter came with the perfunctory car salesman smile.  He was the skinny one, and his boss the short stocky one.  They looked completely different, but they had exactly the same smile, only the skinny one looked like a young Nicolas Cage with questionable teeth.  Despite the teeth I developed a small and short-lasting crush on him.  I don't get many smiles like that from men, fake or not.

He took me down to a trade-in lot at the bottom of a hill that I had walked through the night before when it was dark and I could hide from salesmen.  I wanted to know the details about a couple of cars, so we went up a long flight of stairs to the dealer office.

There were two large men sitting behind a desk, eating comfort food from styrofoam containers.  It was an older building, cramped, like a waiting room for a mechanic more than a dealer. The walls had wood-paneling.  I was the only woman in there and could feel the testosterone vibes.

The one car I liked had the check engine light on.  I asked the left-sided man behind the desk exactly why.  He rolled his eyes at me and told me the reason.  I remember the reason, but I remember the eye roll more.

I told my friends about the encounter last night.  As my first test drive of many, I'm sure I will run into this attitude a lot, and get the "Why is this lady asking all these questions?  Shouldn't she just care about the dent on the bumper, the accessibility of the cup holders, and the burnt out tail light?" looks.

I was given some good advice that I think I'll use next time, and every time, if I can get the guts up. If I can just say it once it will be a piece of cake. "I'm here to buy a car, and I'd like to know right now if you are going to treat me like an asshole.  In fact, I would like to know up front if everyone here is going to be an asshole to me and get this out of the way so I can move on to the next place."

I'm giving myself a month to complete this search.  It will be a long month.  But it will be a month that I'm going to grow some balls.  How couldn't I, being around all these car guys?

Oh, happy New Year, by the way!  I've missed it here. A lot.


troutbirder said...

Not fun. My wifes widowed girlfriend has some similar horror stories. I encourage her to check out are long small town dealer but.... who knows?

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