Some things never change…like buying a car

No, this is not the car I am buying but it is a red one!

No, this is not the car I am buying but it is a red one!

I hate buying cars. You can’t buy them like you buy shoes where you pick a style, try it in your size and make the decision. It fits or it doesn’t fit. You like the look or you don’t.

Cars come in many varieties which are located in different stores over a wide area. Even within the same model, some have this feature and some have that feature.

Features are packaged so that I have to buy stuff I don’t want in order to get stuff I want. Reminds me of the cable company who made me buy a 20 channel package I didn’t watch in order to get the Hallmark channel. (Ok, despite my snarky blog, I am a softy at heart. I love the shows where no one dies, there is no blood and there IS a happy ending. Yes, I also love Jessica Fletcher!)

There is not a car available today that has the features I want in the color I want. We are not even talking money yet. Just the options.

I found what I thought was the perfect car with the right options but they only make it in three colors, none are on my preferred list. Why would they limit it to three colors? What’s that about?

Different terms mean different things to different manufacturers. Argh!

Then let’s talk about the people who sell cars. They sound like the teacher in the Snoopy cartoons “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” In the end all I have are visions of new cars dancing in my head and I can’t remember which one had remote start and which one had power hatch lift. (Note to self: Create a spreadsheet!)

Car salespeople are creepy too. One salesman I had looked similar to a Crips member. His pants fit and he had a nice shirt with a jacket on but he didn’t look comfortable in it. I was expecting him to change into pants that came to his knees and a backwards oversized ball cap at any minute.

Once you walk inside a car dealership, you are kept captive. (Be sure to eat before you go because it can be a long time before you can break free. Run Forest run!)

It can take 20 minutes to answer a question. It took ten minutes to return my key after an estimator gave it the once over for trade-in value.

I spent a total of five hours between two different dealerships looking at three different models. I can tell you I don’t spend that much time on my shoes or my hair products. Most of it was waiting around with no decision in sight.

It’s easier when you are younger. You buy the bare necessities at the cheapest cost because that’s all you can afford.

Once you get to a stage where your tush has lost some of its softness (or firmness depending on your perspective) and you need comfort and convenience, it gets complicated. That’s just about the time your mind doesn’t want to focus on car parts anymore.

My longing for a sports car is over. I don’t care about spoilers and such. No need for super-duper sound equipment.

As for the cost, isn’t there an app for that? They must have formulas. Their cost plus a factor equals the sale price. Why do we go back and forth and do a dance? (I kept wanting to break out in song at this point….do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight……)

Should I look poor so I get a better break? (That’s hard to do when you are getting optional packages.) Do you walk out after the first price?

I only buy cars once every decade or so. I don’t know the right protocol. Is there a class I can take?

I need a personal shopper who will go out and find what I want. I will test drive three cars and pick the winner. Easy peasy.

28 thoughts on “Some things never change…like buying a car

  1. We bought a new car recently. Dave did the negotiating. I have to leave the room. I know the car I want. He knows the price he’s after. Dave has walked out on a dealer once because he didn’t like the price they offered on our trade in. We went to another dealer, negotiated a better deal and have been with them ever since.

    We’ve had red cars, but the paint job doesn’t seem to hold up well in our Florida sun. Hope you get the one you want. I hate it when they only offer 3 colors in a particular model.


  2. I’ve never owned a car but always wanted a jeep…would wear jeans and high heels with my arm sportin bangles hangin out the window…I could see you in a convertible picking up your mocha special like a movie star…easier access with no roof.


  3. I’ve never buy cars. That’s something my husband loves to do. And I’m extremely easy to please: the car must have wheels, a heater, and a radio. You can imagine that I’ve made him a happy man. 🙂


  4. I don’t want automatic anything. I have this fear of being trapped in the car when my husband says, “You wait in the car while I just run in and ……”. The doors don’t open and the windows won’t roll down. I tried once and some noise maker in the car went off. I want simple.


  5. Kate we used USAA’s buying service for our last two cars and we got a better deal from the dealer. Two white cars for us. CH loves the negotiation of the car deal.. shock. I just stay home! Good luck on striking the deal Kate!


    • I went on USAA this afternoon and I immediately got emails and calls. Now they are looking for what I want. Hopefully it will work. I would prefer to stay home but it’s my car so I have to be involved.


  6. My husband is a car gearhead. We hate buying cars – especially now that the salesmen who were always creepy and out to take your money are now so young and know very little about car engineering…often can’t answer simple questions or obviously make stuff up. I know, we are the old picky cranks – but seriously, know your product and look engaged in the conversation.
    You’ve had great cars. All I can say is consumer reports aren’t really helpful. And Toyotas run like workhorses with little care, last forever, hold their value – and having had several 4 Runners run into by drunks (one totaled), Toyotas protect passengers…seriously grateful forever.
    (Have a nephew that designs/works for GM, but some of those cars have real issues – even he says so..his mom drives a Subaru)
    Good luck and may it all be over quickly!


    • Thanks for affirming my choices. I may need some serious chocolate until it’s all over. And yes, the salespeople are young enough to be my grandkid. In fact I am not convinced all of them are out of high school yet! 🙂


  7. This is why I plan on keeping my current 2003 car until it falls apart underneath me. I don’t have the patience to deal with all the silly decisions that car manufacturers force upon us. It’s all jibber jabber designed to confuse.


  8. I am with you on the color situation! I had two cars in a row that were silver and I put my foot down on the most recent one. No silver! My choices were black, white, and silver. What???? Hasn’t anyone heard of color? Oh yeah, if they looked around they might be able to find a dark blue (I don’t do dark colors) a dark maroon (again, no dark colors) and a medium kind of metallic green.Geen it was. They had to go al the way to San Diego to get it for me but I didn’t care. It was that green one or forget it. Of course I see that same green Camry every where I go now. I am sure there were lots of people who had the same issues with color I had. Did you ever find a car, and what color was it?


    • My last car was a red Camry. Loved it. Current car is a mid-blue Venza. Great car but there are some things I don’t love about it. Hoping to get another red car. There are colors that look good in certain models. I saw a dark charcoal large SUV over the weekend and I swear it looked like a hearse.


  9. Maybe go with the perfect car in the wrong color . . . and get it painted if you don’t fall in love with the new color?

    I had a blue Honda. I wanted a new blue Honda. I ended up with a green Honda. And I love it. When I see my blue Honda in photos, it’s like looking at what we wore in the 70’s ~ “what the hell was I thinking?!”

    The deciding is tough. Negotiating is a bit easier. Offer what you’re willing to pay. Be willing to walk away. And 9/10 times the “creepy” sales guy will accept your offer ~ unless you are not in touch with reality.

    And I know that YOU are in touch with reality. Good luck!


  10. Kate, USAA is a wonderful resource for car shopping. Try them.
    Our Toyota is the best car we’ve ever owned…perfecto! One of our daughter-in-laws showed us her new car yesterday…what a looker. She has serious neuropathy and needs comfortable seats/armrests, etc. Her new Cadillac (the smaller, sportier model) has all that and more…it politely nudges her bun when she gets too near another car…and voila…when she gets a text? It reads it aloud to her…woohoo! Oh well, I don’t fool w/my phone while driving so I’ll still keep the Toyota…my preferred car! Good luck shopping…drive on!


      • I do hope you find a red one…red is good because people can see you coming and going. No greens, please! ‘They’ say that green blends into the landscape and I believe it. Only had one green car and I was the victim of many careless drivers who just ‘didn’t see me’…Aargh. Stick with the red. Good Luck.


  11. Consumer Reports also has an online pricing service. When we bought our car last fall we were also able to go online and check inventory of local dealerships to find the package closest to what we wanted (naturally with extras we didn’t, and in a color I didn’t like). For what it’s worth we love the Subaru Outback we bought…good luck with all that!


    • We were on line with Consumer Reports all last week. I resent having to “learn option vocabulary.” I’d rather be buying shoes! Today I was on the USAA on-line service. I have a good idea of cost now. I had an Outback two cars ago and loved it. I looked at the Forester but with the options I want it’s really expensive so I may end up with another Toyota.


  12. You can do most of it online, once you know what you want. Contact a fleet buyer at the dealership you like and they’ll do it for you. Or go through CostCo or USAA or your own insurance company to do the haggling. They’ll ship the car across country for you; you don’t have to accept what’s on the lot. Or do what I did once back in my wild and crazy days, buy a white one and have their body shop repaint it in exactly the color you want. One time I found the car I wanted, told them I had 30 minutes because I was catching a plane and if they could get the paperwork finished in that amount of time, they had a sale. Believe me, they got the deal done! My sympathies on your process. Keep with it! You’ll find your car.


  13. I bought a car over the phone once before I was married. Told the incredulous salesman I would be by on Saturday to pick it up. I only did that once and I guess I lucked out as it lasted about 7 years. When I picked it up on Saturday, the salesman was still not believing me, “What, you don’t want to take it out for a test drive?” right color, it had wheels, car toys, and it was the latest model…I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to cars. We’ve been married 36 years and part of the contract says HE goes with me, test drives everything, and strikes the deal.


    • How odd, my marriage contract says that too. I have to make the decision and that is hard enough. The first new car I bought was pretty much like you. I walked onto the lot and bought a yellow beetle VW. There was only one dealer locally so there wasn’t a lot of negotiating. I had it for 10 years.


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