Car shopping can strain a relationship
I hate my boyfriend’s car. It’s a 1987 Toyota MR2. For those who don’t know what that looks like, just think of any movie about the future that was made in the 80s and pick a car from that. The list of reasons for my loathing is endless. First of all, it’s a two-seater, which renders it completely useless for any type of carpooling or furniture-transporting situations. The exhaust has a hole in it so it’s extremely loud and every time Awesome steps out of it he smells like straight gasoline. It has no power steering, the car handle has to be lifted from the outside in order for the door to lock, the speakers on the driver’s side are dry-rotted, the shift handle is exposed, the seats are torn up. And did I mention it is the most obnoxious electric blue color?
Of course, boyfriend thinks it’s the bees knees. He loves the car, loves working on it, loves driving it around, loves that it makes noise and smells, loves that it’s from the 80s, etc, etc. However, not the best car to drive around in the snow, possibly because the frame is bent and the tires are as bald as my uncle. I have finally put my foot down because every time he walks out the front door I wonder if the cops are going to knock on my door to tell me he died in a fiery, electric blue colored car accident. Once I presented my reasoning, which of course included a spreadsheet of expenses vs. value of the car itself, we decided to buy a “new” car (a.k.a. a used car).
The car buying process is probably one of the most terrible things you will have to go through in life. Unless you have thousands of dollars in the bank just sitting around waiting to get spent on a car – then I’m sure your experience will be lovely because all you will have to do is test drive cars until you find a good one. We, however, do not have thousands of dollars in the bank for a car, so we have to get a loan.
I called my bank, and they pre-approved me for a loan and said all we had to do was find a car. Whenever a bank person says the words “All you have to do is…” be very wary. That is most certainly NOT “all you have to do.” In my case, my bank didn’t tell me there were all these rules and restrictions on the loan, like, the car has to be a 2005 or newer, has to have less than 125,000 miles, and can’t come from a rinky dink Mom-and-Pop dealer.
We have now gone through four attempts to buy cars. The first guy had a nice truck but the title was in his business’ name and he couldn’t prove that he owned the business so the bank said no. The second guy had an Isuzu Trooper for $1,000 more than it was worth and the bank caught that and said no. The third car, a Ford Escape, was through a dealer – everything seemed great, they had the car on hold for us, we were going to pick it up right after we got the check in the mail – and then the dealer called me the morning we were supposed to pick it up to tell me that they sold it “by accident”. The fourth one was also a title issue – the guy had it in his business’ name.
This has all happened in the past two weeks. Awesome and I are about to kill each other. Making big decisions like this can really put strain on a relationship. I am in new territory. Making such a huge purchase together is nervewracking. Not to mention, every time we don’t get the car, we just get more annoyed with each other (“Oh, so now it’s my fault the guy put the title in his business’ name!” “For God’s sake Emily thinking the car is ugly is not a reason not to buy it!”)
We started the buying process pretty excited – I was happy we were getting an SUV for traveling and he was happy that his odds of dying in a fiery crash were going down – but now we are just completely deflated. It’s a chore now. I know, I know, rich white girl problem, but really, it’s not. If I was rich I would just go out and buy an Eddie Bauer Ford Expedition with cash and pop bottles of Cristal and pour them all over the new car to christen it. My blog would be a page long complaint about how the seat warmers don’t warm up for a full minute. Instead, we are faced with pouring over Craig’s List, haggling over prices with shady dealers, and narrowly avoiding scams that would cost us our financial identity. I just hope we get though it without committing spousal homicide.
By the way, if anyone would like to purchase a slightly used electric blue 1987 Toyota MR2, I know of someone who has one.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.