If you’ve accidentally stumbled upon stuff I’ve written over the last 20 years, you’ll be aware that I drive over 100 new cars every year and own a small fleet of generally broken old stuff.
For nearly as long as I’ve held a driver’s license, I’ve owned at least one car. My parents wisely made me wait until I turned 17 to legally get behind the wheel of a car. By the time I turned 18, I’d harassed my parents so much that they decided to buy peace and “sell” me the family’s 9-year old Mazda 626. In the 24 years since then, I’ve called 21 other cars my own. Of those 21, I’m currently harbouring six.
So yes, I am saying that I currently have six cars at home and drive more than 100 new cars every year. What gives? What’s my problem? You’ll die of old age before I get through the list of my most prominent issues.
From an early age, cars meant more to me than most people could understand. It went without saying then that the moment I had enough pocket money to buy, I would. At the age of 22, recently separated after a long-term relationship (2 years was a long time at that age!) and back living with my parents, I’d accumulated three cars: a 1992 VW Jetta, a 1989 Mazda MX-6 GT and a 1974 Ford Galaxie 500XL.
I bought, scrapped and sold many cars over the years having never purchased anything new – I wasn’t interested and there really was no need. That was, until baby #2 was about to arrive. At that very moment, my brain switched up on me and I wanted, no, needed something new.
If you’re thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to purchase, you’re right. In the last 10 years alone, I bought six cars, four of which were wagons. My next car was going to be a Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen 4MOTION with a 6-speed manual transmission. In other words, a compact AWD turbocharged station wagon.
You’d also be right in thinking that buying a new car is a different experience for me than for most consumers. But even if I had dealer invoice/net information, had figured out their markup and had already located the exact car I wanted, what’s most important is that I kept a level head.
This disgusting sense of entitlement that many of have is a real issue. The person you meet at the dealership and talk to you is not a lesser human being than you are. Like you, they have families, obligations and want to be treated with respect. Of all the generally pointless and annoying sayings people love to post on social media, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the only one that should guide your every action.
I’m not preaching but with the information I had and the experience I’ve accumulated through my career, I could have walked into a showroom with the sole intent of making some poor salesperson’s day miserable. Instead, I sat down with a young gentleman, explained most of my situation, and not in a condescending way, and two weeks later, I was driving off with my new set of wheels.
Charles wrote a blog about the money aspect related to acquiring new cars and it prompted me to write these stories. Emotions can and do get in the way of rational thinking. In fact, it did for me as my 2008 Audi A4 wagon was perfectly suited for family duty.
Money does things to people and for most, image is everything. From the moment we walk into the dealership, we want to demonstrate we are in charge. And in fact, we as consumers certainly are in control of the transaction.