I’ve been thinking about buying a new car. I’m not sure why. My current automobile is perfectly fine. It is 6 years old, with 60,000 miles on it. The body has a shopping cart ding here and there, but it’s never been in an accident. Looks good. Runs fine. And it’s paid for.
Sweet words, right? No car payment. Yet, I am dissatisfied ... but why?
Because everywhere I turn, enticements torment me — on television, in the newspapers, on social media and electronic billboards — “Tom,” they say, “come down and test drive a new ...”
I do not begrudge car dealers. You don’t have to be Henry Ford to recognize how competitive the automobile market is. Those folks have to hustle to make a buck in this economy.
I bought my current car in December of 2011. Here it is, December of 2017, and again I have the urge to buy a new car. A new car. A new car. Oooh. A new car.
I am like Ulysses tied to the mast as his ship sails between the Subaru and Toyota dealerships. The sirens call,“Low down, low payments.” What else did they say? “Heated seats?”
I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch. People like me are born every minute. I’m the easy mark. The easy sell. I’m the rube who accepts the invitation to go inside the tent. I’ve always been this way. Carnival barkers have a photo of me under the counter with a caption that reads: “Have you seen this man?” Three-card monte, live tropical fish — put a sales pitch in front of me and I’ll want to know more. I have purchased enough discount cards from worthy youth organizations to fund a worthy youth organization.
I can't help myself. On a sunny Saturday my wife and I took a drive around town to the various dealers — just a cursory scan as we rolled by. We both knew that if we stopped I would become ensnared, and my wife would have to save herself and flee with our checkbook.
So, we merely slowed and looked at the shiny grilles and gleaming paint. White paint appears to be the color of choice on the lots these days. Apparently, the industry has finally depleted the gazillion gallons of silver paint that it used to cover half the automobiles made in the last six years.
By the time we reached the auto mall, I was getting dizzy from the options I’d seen and I did not see a pothole in the road. It was a deep one and my left front tire blew out. To get out of traffic, I had no choice but to wobble into a dealer lot and park.
A helpful man came out to see us. “Let me get one of our mechanics to change that tire for you.” I thought to demur and use our towing insurance. “Don't be silly," he said. "Why don’t you folks come into the show room where it is warm, and have a cup of coffee while you wait ...”