Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some such thing as used

A car dealer, into his cellphone, unselfconscious and in earshot of potential customers, in reference to another (potential) customer: "I think we can squeeze another sixteen hundred out of him." Then he of course turned around to tell us what great value we'd get on whichever model. This was exciting, actually, as I'd never witnessed this cultural icon in action. The rest of the dealers were disappointingly down-to-earth about the whole thing. Might have had something to do with us having found the time to do this the same day the weather found the time to be Las Vegas in summer, with humidity.

I fear, in this process, that I don't merely suggest but radiate my-family-never-had-a-car, I-thought-a-"sedan"-was-some-kind-of-van-until-six-months-ago. Thankfully I married someone not from the center of a big city with great public transportation. I have friends in my situation who learned to drive and purchased cars completely on their own; while I was already in awe already, now doubly so. But there is a sense in which looking for closet-sized apartments in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with brokers, prepares a person for this sort of thing. (What's the car equivalent of an exposed-brick wall? As in, something of no consequence either way, that's listed as a selling point that might distinguish one it'll-do option from another?) It felt familiar, this dance. 

Whatever the case, after reading up on what to ask about, and just generally getting into the mode of double-checking everything, I had trouble snapping out of it as needed. At the spacious women's restroom of a dealership, I expected a dealer to be there energetically explaining the pros and cons of each vacant stall ('this one has an unexplained pile of toilet paper on the floor, but that one doesn't flush as smoothly as the 2011 model'). At the supermarket after this most exhausting of days, I looked with such care at peach after peach, all of which looked just fine, and none of which went for thousands of dollars. And don't even get me started on the shopping cart itself, which I'm pretty sure needs to be checked by an impartial mechanic.


blogs! said...

Bluetooth is the exposed brick of used cars I think.

Jeff said...

Has the great event happened? DO YOU have a drivers license?

Phoebe said...


So true.


No, just a permit - the idea is for me to only take a road test once I've actually gotten some practice driving a car, which buying a car (as I mentioned, my husband drives, making this easier) might solve. The only other option is redoing my teenage years as someone whose parents live in a suburban or rural area, and there's no dealership offering that.

kei said...

Wow, that dealer sounds like Matilda's dad!

Another exposed-brick equivalent may be the radio screen thing telling you what song is playing and by which artist.

And, though I've been driving since 17, it turns out I never really understood the meaning of "sedan" until the past couple of years.

When we got our car, our issue was that we were intending to just "look around," then think about it, but apparently that's not how it works. We were not strong-willed and ended up driving home with our second color-choice. What may have sealed the deal was that the specs sheet indicated that the car was made in Saitama, Japan (as opposed to Ohio, which in retrospect would have been fine, since Mitsu is from Ohio, but car was BM [Before Mitsu]). The color really was insignificant, in the end, and having a car was most important, since the previous one was suddenly taken from this world. Good luck!

Jeff said...

by the way, on the whole thing re: dealing with car salesman: I haven't bought a car that way in 19 years. I used my credit union's car buying service for a few (they call around and drop fixed price into your lap, generally no BS), and my most recent one had a 6% automatic discount (impossible to get through negotiation) because I'm employed by an Audi partner.

See if the university has a credit union and if they have a similar service

Phoebe said...


As with the new-puppy episode, you always come through when it comes to advice on these key rites of passage! And you're now making me wonder whether a certain new (well, new to us) car was made in Japan or not, these being the two possibilities. (We looked into everything else about it, I think, but not this.) That we ended up locating the color we preferred is a surprise bonus but not the deciding factor. (The car we preferred in the color we preferred at the price we preferred came with an odd hissing sign that we did not prefer, and we ended up not going with that dealership at all.)


Thanks for the suggestion!