I’d Rather Get a Pap Smear

Than buy another car. One, the pap smear is quicker and two, smiley doctor or not, you know that you’re getting poked with something unpleasant before leaving.

Scoop-scoop, a Scion nicknamed by 3 year old Zach, gently kissed a concrete median, yet still got totaled out by the insurance company. While annoying, we technically made money after depreciation, so that’s good.

However, we still have to go car shopping.

We bought our last car together in 2005, in less than an hour. The key is to roll up just as the dealership starts to close for New Year’s Eve. We even got personal service from the big-time manager who, after pulling our credit report, directed all further financing conversations to me.

A list of cars I owned/financed up to that moment:

Hyundai, blue Corsica, red Cavalier, black Sentra, Car I Can’t Remember Right Now, red Mustang, green Saturn, white Malibu, silver Mustang.

Cough.

I am painfully good at buying cars– or I used to be. The only child of a man that would invest 10 hours at a dealership, only to stand up and walk out if they wouldn’t make the deal? Yeah, I heard some stuff.

But I’ve never known anyone else to trade in an engine-less ford escort for a hyundai, AND come home with a refund check.

I had my first personal lesson at 18, when he made me walk away after I showed enthusiasm to the salesman about a car. Annoyed and embarrassed? Yup.

But when I bought the sentra at 20? I told dude that my maximum payment was $200 a month, so it was just obnoxious to come back to me with a payment of $200.99. I got the car, not the 99 cents.

Now? Well, my negotiation strategies are stifled by that whole no-salary thing, so JB and I have to go together. He likes to get out and walk around.

Then he makes eye contact. He smiles. He talks basketball. He gets excited. The salesmen start to swarm him.

It makes me crazy.

I sent him alone yesterday, checking in constantly occasionally with pictures of pricing and little text-messaged scripts. And I was proud, because after 4 hours he still walked away.

But he woke up excited about a car this morning and I could smell him getting antsy. So we all went.

No swarming salesmen.

See? With JB they see a nice guy, with me they see heinous bitch. We partner nicely.

A few observations from car buying hell today:

Mr Service Manager: a car shouldn’t shudder and shake like a child denied his Happy Meal toy. And telling us that there is nothing wrong with the car because the check engine light isn’t on? You must encounter a lot of really stupid people.

Dear Ford Dealership: I recognize that it’s a sales technique, but not posting prices on your cars spikes my irritation RPMs. Tailing our moving car with your golf carts makes me want to play bumper cars in your pretty parking lot.

Dear Used Mazda Salesman: I gather a bunch of information about a person by their handshake. You wouldn’t be pleased with my assessment of your personality.

Dear Online Car Inventory Websites: Thank you. Your availability has surely saved a large chunk of my marriage. Because there are but so many cars a couple can buy together before the emotional car-buying account is empty.

Dear Online VIN Number Checker: You didn’t realize what unlimited reports for a month was going to mean for us, did you?

Dear Small People: I appreciate your enthusiasm and your confusion. But you can never again go car shopping with us. I’m grateful for the nearby grandparents.

Dear JB: We’ve been through all of this. If I catch you making eye contact with a lingering salesperson again I’m buying you wrap-around sunglasses. And you really must quit the standing still thing– Moving targets are harder to hit, dude.

I hate buying cars. Hate it.

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