My first car buying experience came when I was twenty years old and it taught me one thing: buying a car is the worst. My parents and I traded in my hand-me-down Mustang (trust me, it’s not as great as it sounds) at one of those car sales dealers hold in strip mall parking lots. After about seven hours of distress, we drove away in a shiny new, forest green Mazda Protégé.
When we were done, the salesman, who was nice enough (I wonder how he’s doing, actually), told us that I was a really good negotiator. He couldn’t believe how great a deal I had gotten! I learned in that moment that everything about buying a car was the biggest farce imaginable.
After that first experience, I vowed to keep that Protégé for the rest of my life. I didn’t quite make it, but I did the next best thing. I kept it until I was married. Lucky for me, my wife likes buying cars (weird!), so I gladly turned all the car buying decisions over to her. This decision has saved me a great deal of suffering. It’s also probably saved us quite a few dollars. You see, as a socially anxious introvert, my main goal is to get out of any interpersonal interaction like car buying as quickly as possible without hurting anyone’s feelings or making anyone hate me. If that means accepting a car salesman’s first offer or, even better, negotiating the price up by a couple grand, so be it!
What’s that? You want me to buy a comprehensive warranty package with car washes and a super-duper windshield coating for just $2000? OK, sure. Can I leave now? Do you like me?
Are you beginning to wonder if my first car salesman was being less than truthful?
Yes, it was a sad day for the car dealerships of the greater central Florida era when I retired from car buying. Now, my wife does all the heavy lifting (i.e., fake small talk and pointless posturing) and I swoop in at the last minute to co-sign the papers. And not only do I not have to talk to anyone, we get way better deals because she’s actually a good negotiator, primarily because she knows her stuff and does her research on cars.com. Thanks to the cars.com research tools, she pretty much knows which car she’s going to get and how much she’s going to pay before she leaves the house.
Even better, now that we’re parents of three kids under six, we can use the Car Seat Check on cars.com to get the lowdown on the car seat situation for the cars we’re interested in. Every parent knows that car seat safety, accessibility, and convenience are pretty high on the list of most important vehicle features.
You know what? I’m kind of getting pumped to go buy a car. Haha. Just kidding. I’d rather go perform at an improv. My wife, on the other hand...she might be on her way to the car dealership right now.