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Maxie, founder of ihatesomuch.com, is a 28-year-old lady living in Washington, DC, but originally hails from wild, wonderful West Virginia.

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Snakes Are Only Slightly More Scary Than Car Shopping

August 8, 2011

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?

 

 

16 Comments »

  1. bethie says:

    Yay for a grownup car! My story of bidding adieu to my 1999 ZX2 (Fiona Ford) was not dissimilar. We should have consulted prior but I realize time was of the essence. Congrats!

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 5:47 am

  2. Jessica says:

    I bought a new car a couple of months ago and I cannot agree with you more. It was so horribly painful that I also wrote about the experience on my blog. I brought one of my dogs with me because I needed to be sure that Gigantor could get in and out of the car without my assistance. Subaru won my business because when Gigantor made himself comfy in the back seat of the showroom car all the salespeople jumped in with him and started loving on him. They could have told me the car cost $100k, they had me at rubbing my dog’s ass.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:07 am

  3. KT says:

    Car shopping is the worst! I am a horrible negotiator and so when I got my most recent car the salesman could totally tell that I was ready to give my right arm for the car…even with my husband (then boyfriend) trying to hold me back. Oh well, I love my car and will keep it until it dies!

    Congrats on the new car!

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:15 am

  4. Teacher Girl says:

    This post instantly transported me back to my own very similar experience three years ago. My beloved little 1992 Saturn died the day I was scheduled to go back to work from the summer. I had to get a car that same day and it was quite the scary endeavor. Congrats on your new car!!

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:20 am

  5. Mary says:

    I just paid my first vehicular purchase off in January and it is subsequently falling apart, as expected. In THEORY I should be able to spend the money I was paying car payments with on maintenance. In theory.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 8:07 am

  6. Lindsey says:

    Congrats on the new car! My battery died for the first time last week, and I was SO nervous that it wouldn’t start back up. I don’t think I could handle car shopping yet.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 9:35 am

  7. Alice says:

    i’m living in fear of the day my 2001 civic with 150k miles on it dies… because i am THAT NERVOUS to go car shopping. hypothetically, at a future time. i’m seriously thinking of making my mom come to VA to go with me when it’s time.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:23 am

  8. katelin says:

    oh man. i have to go get a new car this week/weekend sometime and i am so not looking forward to it. i just want someone to give me one. it would be a lot easier that way.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  9. Mel says:

    I bought my “grown up” car when I was 19 and paid it off years ago. It’s an 03 Corrolla and I have 190K miles as of this week. I love my car and beat the crap out of it but it has survived. I’ve only had to maintenance to it and as of this month fix the AC.
    I will tell you the things you should do to make this car last forever:
    1. Don’t put shitty gas in your car. Spend the extra ten cents per gallon. I normally put chevron and stay the hell away from arco. Chevron has the detergents in it that keep the engine clean.
    2. Get good oil changes. The manual tells you can wait up to 5K miles, don’t listen to the dealer that you have to do it every 3K. I also don’t put shitty oil in it. I spend 90 dollars on an oil change but it’s the kind that you only have to do twice a year since I am bad at taking it to get maintenance. Start putting the high mileage stuff after 50K miles.
    3. Park it in the shade as much as possible so your clear coat doesn’t go to hell.

    My car is still going strong. I expect to hit 250K without anthing major going. Then it’s on to an SUV in the next year.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

  10. lexa says:

    At the very least, this car deserves a name.

    Glad you survived.

    [Reply]

    August 8th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

  11. terra says:

    Car shopping fucking sucks. And it’s never a short process, even if you do have good credit. It’s always a multi-hour endeavor, by the end of which I’m always starving and desperate for a bottle of red wine hooked to my veins. I’m glad you survived the ordeal and REALLY GLAD you’ve got AC. I can’t imagine surviving this summer without it.

    [Reply]

    August 9th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  12. JustMe says:

    My car always, ALWAYS has a check engine light on. But it’s a Volvo. So it makes sense.

    One mechanic recommended I just put a piece of tape over it.

    [Reply]

    August 11th, 2011 at 9:37 am

  13. Toe says:

    The Hubs and I have purchased/traded in 5 cars in our history of us. We bought a nissan frontier last year and had the “checkout” time down to an hour. The trick is, call ahead and negotiate that shiz down. We showed up, signed papers and rolled away.

    [Reply]

    August 23rd, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  14. steph anne says:

    I had fun car shopping when I bought mine mainly because I got it for what I wanted to pay it for. :)

    To last 25 years…omg, I agree with you BUT to give my kid my car then buy myself a new one. ;)

    [Reply]

    August 25th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

  15. TheCVixen says:

    Um, you’re awesome.

    And, I don’t know squat about car shopping because I walk everywhere.

    But!

    Congrats on the new car!

    [Reply]

    August 27th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

  16. mountingandcounting says:

    Be careful with dealerships….the more credit check that are run, the more “even more fucked” your credit gets :(

    I was searching recently and 100% determined to buy from a private seller, almost bought from a mechanic selling his wife’s car to no avail.

    Your blog font is too small for this blind-ass bitch!

    [Reply]

    August 28th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

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