Thursday, November 18, 2010

Laurel & Hardy Buy A Car

Tuesday, in the midst of my olfactory weirdness, we buy a new car.

That's because Monday, when B-man took my car in to get serviced, he discovered the warranty had lapsed.  We both thought it went for another six months.

B-man was pissed, feeling we had been misled.

He doesn't get belligerent, but his green eyes flash and he's smart enough to know how to tweak people without their knowing exactly how to respond.  He's not one to posture, but isn't opposed to mentioning his legal background at the right time, just to shake things up.

Relaying this to me over the phone, he says,' I told them if they think I'm upset, my wife is really upset.'

Okay, I'll play Bad Cop.

Life is too short to drive a car without a warranty so we agree to meet at the dealer's at 3:00.

I arrive first and Car Guy greets me in the parking lot with the keys to the car we've been eyeballing, probably afraid I will kick his ass if he doesn't. 

You know, because I'm Really Upset.

B-man shows up and we go for a test drive.  He drove it earlier.  Now it's my turn.

'Yup, love it, let's get it,' I say, in my usual, 3-minute deliberation.

However, Car Guy doesn't know that. 'Hey, we need to seriously discuss this for a while - we'll let you know,' I tell him.

So B-man and I mingle around the free popcorn and talk about our day and about Paige and what to cook for dinner, letting enough time tick away to set the scene for negotiation.
The process begins.

After negotiating all the freebies possible, we decide to finance a portion of the sales price.  Car Guy asks us to list a relative and a friend as references. 

Then, we just get slap-happy.

Me:  'Wow, they think we have friends.'

B-man:  'We've probably pissed them all off.'

Me:  'If we haven't yet, we will.'

B-man: 'Do you need reading glasses?'

Me: 'Yeah, I have no idea what this contract says.  Give me yours.'

B-man:  'Now I can't see squat.'

Me: 'Okay, you use the glasses and tell me where to write.'

Car Guy: 'What is your position at work?'

Me:  'Administrative Director.'

Car Guy:  'Work address?'

Me:  'I have no frigging idea.'

B-man:  'I have it' (he finds the address and turns his phone toward me).

Me:  'Now I can't see - give me the glasses.'

Somehow, we get through the rest of the process in time for me to make a 5:00 meeting.  B-man stays behind and takes a tutorial on the navigation system and other new features.  

He can tell me everything I need to know later.  Just let me find my reading glasses first.

photo from


  1. Oh, so funny! It's a major age-related issue I never realised would be such a big deal - this not being able to read business. I have been planning a work trip with my nose pressed to the atlas and NO glasses, because my long sight ones are useless and the only solution is vari-focals, which I am resisting for as long as possible. When a bunch of us go out to eat, one guy can always be relied upon to have remembered his reading glasses, and these get religiously passed around the group till everyone has ordered.

    Now do you guys always change your car when its warranty expires? Is that perhaps customary in the USA? I have heard that there is a period between the end of the first year or so and around the 8 year mark when cars are statistically relatively unlikely to have major things go wrong with them, subject to mileage considerations, obviously. Early on in the car's life is the other key time for teething problems. I am dimly remembering a project I did on the subject, admittedly in France to do with French cars, but I wonder if the principles may apply?

    But many people change their cars every three years as a matter of course - unrelated to warranty concerns - simply because a newer car is nicer to drive. It's horses for courses I guess. Or Fords for Freeways?

  2. Hi Vanessa - Yes, I, too have glasses all over the house. For long vision, medium vision and reading. Thank you for validating my ongoing denial about bifocals!

    My car was actually five years old and our warranty was the extended variety. We had been discussing trading our car anyway, so the warranty provided a nifty excuse to do it right away.

    Your car research is interesting. All I know is that I never again want to worry if my car will need major repairs that may catch me unaware. Once everything is no longer covered, my peace of mind is diminished.

    However, I will wear a bra until it nearly falls apart under my clothing.



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