Thursday, March 06, 2008

Nailing jello to a wall

I currently drive a '97 Mercury Villager minivan with nearly 130,000 miles on it. It is about the most uncool vehicle a single gal with no kids could *possibly* drive. In fact, in pondering, I don't think I can even think of something less cool. Even a Suburban would have far more cool points than this thing. When I bought it, five years ago, I was doing a lot of driving younger siblings around, along with instruments and pets, and it was very handy. Then I moved across country twice, and again, it was a great hauler -- of goods and cats.

But it's starting to slowly but surely wear out, and it's getting to a point where the lack of payments isn't necessarily costing me less than repairs, and I'm nervous about driving it long distances anymore, because things rattle and bump and I always feel like it's going to fall apart. Most of those thoughts are illogical, but it's true that the next big repair could be the one that makes it worth nothing as a trade-in; not to mention that there are places I've avoided going in part because of driving fears. So I'm tentatively but fairly officially shopping for another vehicle: something smaller and cooler. Though, again, pretty much *anything* is cooler than this thing. A Dodge Neon is cooler than this.

But I'd really love to have something like a Pontiac Vibe. Or a Subaru Forester, if I could find a really good price on one. Something station-wagonish and dog and bike and musical instrument friendly (nice to have the instruments in the same compartment as me, so they aren't exposed to strange temperatures, for example), but a little bit sporty.

I found two cars locally that looked to be more or less in my price range and asked questions asking about pricing. And now I'm remembering just how unfun it is to shop for a vehicle. It's worse than a job interview. The salesbeings answer pricing questions with evasive maneuvers. It's a complicated and ugly dance. "Oh," they say, "Why don't you come on down and we'll have you take it for a test drive. Then we can talk about what we need to get you into that vehicle." And speaking of which, what is with that particular turn of phrase? "We'll get you into a great used Subaru," they say. I don't remember folks talking like that last time I was shopping. Now...I do intend to "get into" a vehicle to take it for a test drive. And I can do that all by myself, thank you, Mr./Ms. Salesperson. After I'm done, I will drive back and get out of the vehicle. If I like it, I might buy it and get into it to drive it home, but then I will get out again. Getting into a vehicle is not a permanent condition. Hopefully. And that phrase bugs the snot out of me.

Luckily I'm busy this weekend and can't really do any shopping around. I need to recover my calm and steel myself before going out to try to pin down any direct answers from the salesbeings. Maybe I'll make myself a specially designed tinfoil hat to strain out the buzz phrases, too.


Duffy Moon said...

We bought our Toyota Sienna about a year ago, and I likened that process to the Bataan Death March.

Buying a car is THE worst experience, and there's no logical reason it should be that way. None.

Hope you find a much more pleasant experience.

Anonymous said...

Good words.