So my 23 year old daughter bought her first car this week. She is in living up in Minneapolis and recently moved out of college and into her own apartment. While she was a student, mass transit worked just fine for her, but now she needs a car to get to work among other things.
Now, it's hard to say I ever had a pleasant car purchase experience. Ever.
But here's the deal. It sucks but it's part of life. It's part of being an adult. I rank it right up there with a colonoscopy or a dental crown on the fun scale. I'd sooner get blasted by a fire hose, frankly.
I hate looking for cars. I hate test drives. I hate negotiations. I hate pushy salesmen. I hate pushier finance guys I hate the paperwork and I hate sitting in sterile cubicles of salesmen who are likely looking for another job.
Some people get a charge out of a new car. I am not one of those. To me, a car is a good way to get from here to there. Simpler is better, but hey, if I have to have seat warmers and a back up camera, well I guess that'll be okay.
For starters, she was looking on Craigslist. That was until she fell for a scam deal that was a "spoof sale" by a well know scammer. She didn't send the scammer any money but she did get a fake-O email saying how this owner was willing to get rid of the low mile vehicle for cheap because her "husband" died of a heart attack and the car gave her bad memories. To my daughter's credit, she googled the woman's name and found out other had been scammed by the same email. The whole experience was a good cautionary exercise for her. People are nasty sometimes.
So when she started sending me pictures of cars from legitimate dealers, I started to get all defensive of my daughter. I wanted to be there to help keep the salesman and finance guy from fleecing her for the "extended warranty-undercoating-seal coating-scotchguarding".
Because, she's my daughter see. She's my little girl, right? And she's a good person. Treat her nice you snakes! And if you don't I'm gonna come up there and talk to you.
But because I live 5 hours away, this wasn't really something I could do. Plus, there is the whole life skills element of it. I bought my first car at her age and got fleeced. They sold me stuff like insurance and an extended warranty that I did not need. It made me physically sick because my payment was $50 more a month than I expected when I bought the thing. I actually went back and had them take off some items to get it back to where it should have been all along.
On the night she bought it she texted me that the salesman was "a nice guy, very helpful."
To which I said, I believed her but she should wait till the finance guy talks to her. THEY'RE the problem. (Having just bough a new car ourselves a month ago.)
The next text read:
"Oh boy, you were correct, the salesman was very nice but then we got the old man strong arm trying to sell me paint coatings and windsheild coatings and dancing monkeys for my dashboard and hamster wheels for my engine."
I laughed hard! Welcome to reality, babe. May the force be with you.
To her credit, she didn't bend on any of it and got away with an affordable payment and a 2010 Honda Fit.
More importantly though, she got a life lesson in pushy salesmen and the bureaucratic nightmare that goes into a car sale.