My wife needed a new car as her car was giving us subtle hints that its lease was reaching a premature end like the odometer readout sweating, actually growing teeth and whispering it's hungry for money every 100 miles.
The lease situation was perfect as she only had to drive about three miles to work every day, but then she had to go and get a new job to “better herself,” “get out of this rut” and “I swear to God, Mark, if I don’t get out of that office, I’m going into an early grave, and I’m taking you with me!” --you know, the normal reactions.
The new job, however, has her driving roughly 40 miles to 283 miles per day round trip, which is an estimate because I rarely look at her odometer because I’m a gentleman and know to buy a lady a drink before it goes that far.
Anyway, we had to head to a dealership, which makes my skin crawl. I’d rather go to the dentist who does colonoscopies on the side with the same equipment than deal with a car salesman.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’re good people, but as they approach, my defense goes up, and they know it’s up, and I know that they know it’s up, but after that point, I’m not too sure if they know that I know that they know it’s up or what is considered up at that point because I’ve spun myself into mass confusion and conspiracy before any words are even exchanged.
My wife, on the other, decided to spill her guts.
“Oh, it’s a miracle we even made it here in my deathtrap of a car!” were her code words through her ramblings. “Here’s my Social Security number, my bank account number and passwords and feel free to repeatedly punch my husband in the face.”
On my list of car-buying grievances, a major one is the forced rapport from the salesperson when they try to bond with you.
They normally agree with everything you say, and a part of me always wants to see how far I can take the conversation.
“Now that I think about it, Mr. Hofmann, I guess I would renounce my citizenship in favor of a totalitarian system of government controlled by aardvarks. Here’s how you activate the cruise control.”
It also never fails that when you make it abundantly clear that you’re just looking with no intention whatsoever of buying or agreeing to anything today, you’re just setting the bar higher for them to sell you the car.
That’s because, to them, it’s abundantly clear that after you’re satisfied with the test drive, the car is going home with you like you fell into some kind of semi-mutual agreement loophole.
“Well, Mr. and Mrs. Hofmann, that was a great test drive,” they say. “Let’s go in and get the paperwork started.”
“Nah, like I said, we’re just looking right now.”
“Of course, so, we’ll crunch some numbers and get you a good deal.”
“We just wanted to see some cars, look at prices and stuff — that’s it.”
“Wait! What’s that? The car keys just magically appeared in your pocket!”
“No! We’re just looking!”
“Well, seven years has already flashed by, and you’re bringing this car in for a trade! Let’s go for a test ride.”
“But I just bought this one!”
“Wonderful! Let’s start the paperwork.”
Yeah, I'm too much of a pushover, especially when I hear about people who love to haggle and know how to work the system.
I knew a guy who was the master of that. He would go as far as walking in, demand everything he could think of on the car and for a lower price. Once the salesman said importing a car from the future was impossible, the guy would turn around and walk off the lot.
Then the salesperson would call the next day and say they can do it for a certain price, and then the guy would demand something else for a lower cost and then hang up when the salesperson said it couldn’t be done.
That went on until the guy was able to drive off the lot in a 2052 gold-plated Porsche 928 (they will bring them back in 2048 after they're discontinued again in 2035) complete with hover package and the salesman's girlfriend for a measly $700.
And that burns me up because I’m still paying $900 a month for the 2032 Honda Brick economy model that the car salesman said I had already purchased as a result of me asking about the location of the restroom.
According to Hofmann is written by staff reporter Mark Hofmann of Rostraver Township. He hosts the “Locally Yours” radio show on WMBS 590 AM every Friday. His book, “Stupid Brain,” is available on Amazon.com.