Somehow when I graduated college, I was able to buy myself a brand new car. A 2003 Mini Cooper, custom made for me in the factory. It was the best car ever and I had it for several years before I had to sell it. Why did I have to sell it? Because I moved to NYC. I was already paying $360 per month, but then my insurance costs tripled – equaling the loan payment. Add an average of 3 parking tickets per month at $125 apiece to a car I never drove anyway (NYC has awesome public transport and horrible traffic), and well, it didn’t make sense to keep it. Sadly, the real cost was more than my love could afford.
I no longer live in NYC, and ever since then I’ve wanted another mini. Unfortunately as of right now I do not qualify for one because I’ve only had my job and apartment for a few months. Plus half of my income comes from unclaimed cash tips. So even though I could definitely afford a new mini (I wouldn’t try if I couldn’t), banks think I’m risky so I can’t get a loan. YET.
My current car is not, as they say “awesome”, so I’ve accepted that I need an intermediate car. I’m not terribly picky, but I do want something small, good on gas, and reliable. The only MUST is that it needs a manual transmission. Automatics are boring and far less fun. If I’m going to drive, I want to enjoy it. Most ads list the transmission type along with the mileage, year, and other mandatories. However a few don’t for some reason. So I will email and ask them. I found a disturbing correlation: Those who don’t initially list this information find it very difficult to ever give it up. One place – an actual car dealership (new and used) – kept giving me the same stock form letter but still never answered the question. I emailed, tried the “instant chat” feature on their (horrible) website, and called. The best answer I got was “I’ll have a manager get back to you with that information.” I don’t need a damn manager! I just need someone to go look in the window of the car and tell me what the gearshift looks like. Also, no manager ever got back to me, btw. So I vowed to never give that dealership my business, no matter how great a deal.
Also, lots of them insisted on calling me on the phone, even though the first words in my contact email were DO NOT CALL ME. I put a fake phone number when possible, but some of the websites would not accept (000) 000-0000. I’ve since learned my lesson and do not put my real number, but some of them held onto it and used it. Multiple times a day. In fact, another dealership lost my business by contacting me so often that it qualified as harassment. I told them as much, and the calls and emails only stopped when I asked to speak to the general manager so I could file a formal complaint. I never did get to speak to the manager, but I have since heard that the particular
harasser salesman does not work there anymore. (Don’t think I was overreacting – they were up to over 10 calls a day and countless emails that went directly into my spam folder. No lie.)
You may think that I could save myself a lot of headaches by just driving down to the dealerships and looking at the cars in person. But then the salesman wants to talk to me in person as well, and that is harder to ignore. And I would hate to waste a trip just to find that the car is not what I wanted in the first place.
So, my frustration continues. I’m hoping that someday I’ll have enough money to just walk into a dealership, point at a car, and hand over a big wad of cash. Maybe by then, it will be another brand new mini cooper.