The wife and I bought a new car – new to us at least. With just under 12,000 miles, this is the newest car she and I have ever bought together. The experience filled us with both excitement and dread.
We were excited, because the purchase was part of our happy little partnership pursuing a business opportunity that required a nice vehicle that was reliable. The old Caravan just sucked nearly $1000 out of our savings, demanding a repair that deadlined the vehicle at an Amoco station. While the new oil pump, water pump and timing belt might give the minivan another 10,000 trouble-free miles, the last thing our fledgling enterprise needed was for her to be broken down on the way to a revenue event.
Our dread sprang forth from the uncertainty we face in the economy. The payment is not insurmountable, and we have retired quite a bit of debt despite the fact that my income has drastically dropped since 2009. We accomplished this by adopting quite a bit of austerity – something we simply had to do since our family cannot borrow indefinitely and cannot print our own money to pay it back.
We bought the car from Dave Sinclair, a venerable fixture in South County since I can remember. Latif (LA*teef) took care of us, was a warm and friendly fellow. He is originally from Bosnia, but seems to have adopted the was of a hardworking Midwesterner. Not once did he express anything but professional conduct as I hemmed and hawed, agonized and pondered.
You can tell a great deal about your government when buying a car. When buying from an individual, you give them money and they give you a title. Go through a dealer and a substantial pile of meaningless paperwork has to be signed. Loan papers are fine, contracts matter, but it seemed fruitless to sign a paper acknowledging that Dave Sinclair Ford had told us what they would NOT be doing with our personal information. Looking at that statement with my signature, I looked at the man-hours spent by the dealership in collecting and maintaining the damn thing, plus the bureaucrats whose job it was to enforce compliance. What a waste.
In the private market, not getting screwed is my job. Apparently the government thinks that with enough paperwork, I can let down my guard at a dealership. This seems foolish.
Waiting our turn to see the financing guy, we watched Bill O’Reilly. In a previous blog, I lamented that CNN was the default channel on nearly every television in public. Having Fox News on really spoke to me. I am not a huge fan of O’Reilly (I’m not even a small fan – I think he’s a tool) but it was nice to see a business color outside the lines.
On our way out, I spied a t-shirt with the Ford logo and the caption “Built Without Your Taxpayer Dollars.” It made me wish we were buying new.