By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 36 – June 15, 2003
Now Playing: “Calling Card” by Denizen Kane & Universe Neo
I've decided it's time I stop acting like a jobless hobo and get myself a car. I've owned cars before, so I'm not a novice to the wonderful world of car ownership. The prestige, the repair bills, it's like a dream come true. Many of you may not be as experienced as I am in the field of buying stuff, and to you this guide detailing my recent experiences is dedicated. Here's what happened:
-One of the first things to decide when buying a car is whether you want a new or used one. To many, this is a very difficult decision. However, it's important to remember that a used car is a car someone else didn't want. We're talking about picking up someone else's trash here. Buying a used car gives the buyer the same social status as the parasitic rodent who's always digging through my trash looking for dead prostitutes. I'll catch him someday. That cunning bastard.
-Now that you've decided what type of car to get (new car), you need to find a car dealership to visit. The best way to find a car dealership is to watch a lot of late night tv, and wait for the commercial breaks. Invariably, there will be an ad for a dealership like “Crazy Ivan's Ford Mercury Lincoln Dodge GMC Jeep Discount Dealership”, hosted by an overly enthusiastic salesman who appears to have misplaced his Ritalin. In the commercial, he will scream facts and numbers at you for 30 seconds before ending with the location of his lot, which is always in some shitbox town nobody's ever heard of like “Batavia”. Go there.
-Not-So-Off-Topic Corner: Why do they always build car lots so far away from the city that you have no choice but to drive there? It seems to me that if you're driving to a car lot you're not serious about buying a car. It's kind of like when I saw those ads for AOL's “10000 Hours Free” CD, and it said “To get this CD and receive free internet access, visit us online at…” Also, on another not-really-related note, what the hell is ‘APR'?
-Many car lots these days advertise themselves as “no-hassle” and “no-pressure” lots. These are great places to go if you're looking to be hassled and pressured like never before. When you arrive, you will be approached by a bloodhound of a car dealer, who will say things like “What do I have to do to put you in a car TODAY?” and touch your arm ever so lightly to indicate that he and you are now close personal friends. This is why it's always a good idea to carry a can of mace or bear spray with you whenever you go car shopping. If spraying the dealer does not cause him to reel backwards in pain, he is probably a demon of some sort who would eat your skin at the first possible opportunity. Proceed with caution.
-At some point, you will probably be asked to test-drive a car that you could not possibly afford if you're reading this column. I mean, let's face it, my target audience is the college crowd, and most of you are spending your disposable income on drugs and cover charges to bars. Like, I was at this one bar that wanted $15 to get in, and drinks weren't even cheap! That's insane! Isn't that insane? But I am getting ahead of the subject at hand, which, as those of you with a photographic memory will recall, is test-driving an expensive car. Don't do it. As soon as you turn the key in the ignition, novocaine will release from the air vents and your inhibitions will be lowered to the point where you'll sign anything before passing out. You'll regain consciousness hours later in your new Porsche 911 with your fly undone. Don't say I didn't warn you.
-Many people want to know if they should buy or lease their new car. This is a very complicated question with many factors which must be considered, none of which will be discussed here. The best way to decide is to ask the opinion of the extremely knowledgeable car salesman, as in the following dialogue: ME – “Should I buy or lease the car?” CAR SALESMAN (touching my arm) – “What do I have to do to get you in this car TODAY?” ME – “You could answer my question. See, I'm not so sure about this APR thing. What is that?” CAR SALESMAN – “This car has all the features you've ever wanted, and a lot of features you can't even spell. Let's take it for a test drive.” ME (pulling out mace) – “No! It's a trick! I know about the poison gas!” CAR SALESMAN – “Heil Hitler!” As you can see, the answer to the eternal buying vs. leasing question is really quite straightforward.
-At some point, despite the best efforts of the car sales industry, you will find a car you actually want to purchase. This car will probably come with a sticker price, along with a disclaimer underneath the sticker price that says “Do not pay this price”. This is because it is customary to ‘haggle', or ‘argue', over the cost of a new car. Many people are intimidated by the concept of arguing over price with someone who does that sort of thing for a living. These people are, no offence, idiots. These days, the economy is in such bad shape that a car salesman will drop his price faster than a coke whore in remission. On the off-chance that you meet a particularly stubborn salesman, just threaten to murder his family and see how quickly he submits to your more reasonable pricing schedule. Don't mention my name.
-Quote of the Moment: The car dealer, attempting to show me how ‘hip' and ‘with it' he is: “Just think how many girls will want to fuck you if you buy this car.” I was pretty darn surprised that he was willing to swear to get me to buy a car. Also, I can't think how many girls would be saying things like “Ooh, he drives a Neon. Let's take off our bras.”
-There are a number of costs associated with the purchase of a new vehicle over and above the price you eventually extort. There are administrative fees, disposition fees, taxes, taxes on taxes, plates, tags, registration fees and insurance. A lot of young people today want to get a sporty little sports car because the monthly payments are so low. What they don't realize is that the insurance could be 2, 3 or even a jillion times more than the cost of the car. This is because young people in sports cars are considered to be ‘high risk' drivers. This offends me. If driving down a residential street at 200 mph while smoking a joint and listening to music with bass so high that the sides of the car bulge out with each note like some kind of cartoon is considered ‘high risk', I don't want to know what ‘low risk' is. And please don't write in with an explanation of proper driving behavior. This writer lives in the moment.
-So, now that you've read this useful and not-at-all sarcastic guide to the wacky world of vehicle purchasing, you should be well equipped to go out there and ‘snag' the car of your dreams. See you at the car lot! Bring money.