I’m a browser before I’m a buyer.
That’s how I shop for everything. I like to just look, uninterrupted. I check out the price. Consider the color of whatever I’m looking at. Decide whether it’s something that will fit in my life. If it passes all of my criteria, I buy it.
Regardless of the purchase, that’s how I roll.
But alas, that doesn’t happen for me when cars are the needed purchase. Then I enter the only world my husband enjoys spending time. That’s the world of negotiation. The world of give-and-take. The world of car shopping.
When we browse the lots together, I like to look at the cars on my own. I don’t want a salesperson tagging along with me. And more importantly, I don’t want my husband yammering in my ear something about mileage, or motor size, or “extras” that come as standard.
He might as well speak French.
I like to look in the windows and see if the interior is somewhere I can imagine myself spending hours of time. I love to drive, and I look for something that will brighten my mood. You know what I mean, there are certain colors in a car I would probably avoid and others I’m drawn towards.
I need to check out the dash and see if it’s something that looks like I could handle it, or does it look like something that could land an airplane with all its bells and whistles.
Is the car a color I can live with? Will it be easy to find in a parking lot when I park at the mall and can’t remember where that great space was I pulled into?
Is it a size I can maneuver well? I don’t want too small and force these old bones to contort beyond what is humanly possible. Nor do I want it so large I can’t turn at corners. All these things are real concerns for which I must account.
Next, I look at the price. If it’s something out of the number I have in my head I move on. I never consider asking the salesman if we can’t do better. Call me an idiot, but if the price is too outrageous, we can never do better enough to help me out.
My husband is my polar opposite when car shopping.
He reads the sticker on the window. Then he circles the car a few times waiting for the salesperson to magically appear. Once there, he discusses the finer points of the car and learns about the wonders under the hood. Within minutes, he’s asking to take it for a spin.
Unlike me, he turns the radio down to hear the motor. I turn the radio up to hear the sound system. Trust me, I listen to that a lot more than I listen to the motor.
Once back on the lot, he pulls back. That’s when he plays hard-to-get with the salesperson, who seems to know this dance.
There’s a lot he doesn’t like about the car. That price is high. The warranty doesn’t cover all it needs to cover. He’s probably going to pass on it.
But he doesn’t. We all see it coming. He did, I did, and the salesperson really did.
By the time we leave the lot, a new day has dawned. We know all the people in the dealership. Some of them we could probably claim on our taxes for next year he’s gotten so close to them.
So here’s the rub.
My old, trusty car is randomly stopping. Sometimes in traffic, sometimes just after it started. My husband has taken it to a mechanic we’ve trusted for years. We keep paying for the nickel and dime costs that are eating us alive.
Last winter I told him I couldn’t face car shopping until spring. Last spring I thought the prices might be better towards the end of the year. My stalling can’t go on much longer because the car has now taken on a life of its own and pretty much controls whether I drive each day by whether it chooses to start.
I’ve driven past car lots a few times as a warning that its replacement could be near.
It’s not something I look forward to doing, but I’m running out of options. Last week I agreed with my husband that I need a new car. Maybe it’s something I’ll look into this spring.