There is nothing more horrifying than car shopping. Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration. There is nothing more horrifying than this video of a snake that is just chilling on someone’s car while they’re driving down the highway. But car shopping is definitely #2.
The check engine light on my beloved 2000 Ford Escort zx2 came on the day I moved to Washington, DC over a year and a half ago. I always assumed it was my car’s way of protesting having to drive on on the razor blade laden roads of Washington, DC every day.
For those of you taking notes, the fact that it was a zx2 makes it the COOL kind of escort.
Being that I have been quite irresponsible with my car maintenance, it was no surprise that my car was on a downward spiral. Sir Escort, who I never got around to giving a proper name, had been good to me, and even allowed me use of him for a full year and a half after the dreaded light of death came on. But last Thursday it was over — my engine went kaput as I was getting off the highway at my work exit. May he rest in peace. He served me well for over 185,000 miles.
So back to that car shopping being horrible thing. I walked into the dealership with complete fear with a tinge of optimism and excitement. I had already been approved for a loan, but had no clue of the terms, interest rate, amount of time I would be financially crippled by the horror that is a car payment, but I at least I knew that I had no other choice. Being that I work outside of the DC metro’s reach, a car is a 100% necessity. It was going to be painful, but I just had to fucking suck it up. Insert obligatory “that’s what she said” joke here.
There’s no way I can possibly capture the horror that was the 4+ hours I sat in the car dealership “negotiating”, also known as getting fucked over by my awful credit history and obvious desperation for a car. But I do have a few pieces of advice to pass on to all future car purchasers:
- Get drunk before you go. Pretend you’re on a game show and the numbers aren’t real. They’ll seem less big and scary that way.
- Don’t bother doing your hair or picking out a cute outfit. These people are going to see your credit score — there’s no faking that you have your shit together.
- Don’t trust your car salesman to describe a type of car/truck/HUGE MONSTER SUV — we have computers for that. Look that shit up on the internet and show me a picture. Great example of this: when mine tried to tell me a GMC Envoy was a “small SUV”.
- If you have to cry, go outside.
- Oh, and a little bit of preventative advice, no one needs a credit card from Victoria’s Secret. If you can’t afford to pay for it right then and there, you probably shouldn’t be buying a $70 bra.
On the bright side, I am now the proud owner of a car with automatic windows, an mp3 jack and working air conditioning after not having AC for over a year. It was over 110 degrees in DC the week before I got my car. Great timing, right.
To all of you, I present Unnamed Car, the 2010 Toyota Carolla, which I expect to last me at least 25 years without any maintenance or problems. That’s how cars work, right?