Saturday, March 3, 2012

Adventures In Car Buying for a Teenager

My son, Darth Spoilboy, reached yet another milestone in the road of life last Wednesday and if I am very lucky the complications that have ensued since then will not kill me. First a little bit of a back-story on how things got to the point they did last night.

While I honestly feel my son takes after me in many of my easygoing personality traits, when it comes to something he truly wants, he can become quite driven and obstinate like his attorney mother. Such was the case with his desire to have what every teenage boy wants after he gets his driver’s license, his own car. If I remember correctly, we had not even made it out the DMV building when the refrain, “Dad, when can you and mom buy me a car” started.

Since then his persistence has only increased to the point there have been times I have been forced to stick each of my index fingers into my ears and start singing Margaritaville in an attempt to seek some relief. This tactic provides quite an effective block to his whining, unless I happen to me in the middle of Walmart buying groceries. In such a situation people tend to stare, grab their small children, and give me a wide berth.

Anyone even faintly familiar with my dislike of shopping in general would be correct in assuming I have been sorely tempted to use such a tactic in the crowded grocery suburbanite stores that surround me. Far too often, I have run the aisles of the local grocery stores looking for some obscure item only to finally locate it but have two middle-aged WASP chicks blocking my access while intensely discussing some horrible aspect of their comfortable American lives. Fortunately, I possess the barest minimum in commonsense that prevents me from ever using such an approach. But, I digress.

Now understand my family and I do enjoy a comfortable American middleclass lifestyle but we are not awash in money. Making matters worse like other teenage boys my son’s tastes in cars has leaned towards unreasonable sports cars and curiously enough certain brands of SUV’s. His desire for a sports car is logical and to give my son credit he understands when my wife and I explained to him how a snowball has a better chance spending a day in hell than he does of owning a Mitsubishi Eclipses while he lives with us. Now we do own a 2004 Honda CRV and have offered to let him buy it from us for a very, very cheap price but while he has a fascination with the Jeep Cherokee model of SUV he turns his nose up at our offer. He would rather own a junkie, used sedan than a well-maintained SUV that even now sits in our garage.

This has created something of an impasse, which has forced each person involved into a defacto agreement that when Spoilboy saved up enough money or got a job we would then go buy him a car. Over the intervening months Spoilboy was inching ever closer to saving up the required amount of money purchase one doing chores around the house and small jobs like tutoring and teaching basic piano to a couple of kids. Of course, he was also looking for some sort of real part-time job which until very recently had proved fruitless.

Now we are almost caught up to the present day but I have one more little item of essential information to drop. I learned the week before last that Spoilboy had gone on a shopping spree with a large portion of his car nest egg buying what amounted to a load of crap. While this development did not put him completely back at square one it did extend the time for which he would be required to toll in near servitude here at the house unless some new factor presented itself.

This new factor appeared last Wednesday with the call from one of the local fast-food joints that my son now had a job. That night I sang to the stars and danced a funny little jig that my blessed son had entered the ranks of working stiffs and had left the land of slackers. This milestone, while exceptionally joyous, did force the hand of my wife and I requiring us to go out yesterday and begin the process of buying Spoilboy a car.

Folks, the vast majority of my hair passed on to follicle heaven years ago and what I have left is just enough to make me look like an uglier and disgruntled version of the beloved  Albert Einstein. By all accounts given the humongous stress from yesterday, I should make the late Telly Savalas look like some unshaven hippie.

The first issue started just as soon as I walked in the door Friday morning after working all night. After I left for work Thursday night Spoilboy and Dragonwife located a small Ford Ranger on Craig’s List that had low mileage, which they wanted me to call and get some more information about. Understand, I freely admit I have a significant Southern accent but this guy made me sound like a New York Yankee. As best I could, I followed his directions but ended up in some serious “Deliverance” country before giving up and turning around to take care of a few, much delayed personal errands.

Matters were only made worse when I arrived back at the house and had a very late brainstorm to look up the advertisement myself on Craig’s List and found a second number to call along with an actual street address as to the location of the small, rural used car dealership. Calling this second number connected me to a more understandable person who described the truck well enough to give me the idea that even I wanted to see it.

Time was the biggest issue by then, both Spoilboy and his sister Darth Wiggles would soon be home soon, so I had to wait for them. I am sure you can guess that by the time we made it to this backcountry used car lot the Ford Ranger had sold. Spoilboy was understandably disappointed, to the point his frustration was showing and my maximum irritation level was being reached.

The next segment of this quest came when we called Dragonwife on the cell who told us to drive all the way across Columbia and meet her at a Kia dealership. This was during rush hour traffic with me not having slept more than two hours. We arrived at the dealership to find the poor salesman that apparently approached my wife doing his best to climb up a light pole in an attempt to get away. Luckily, I was able to mediate the near hostage situation and get negotiations back on track.

Over the intervening two to three hours, the poor salesman jumped through many hoops while Dragonwife and I test drove several rather nice models. Now understand Dragonwife is an attorney and does not pass gas unless she reviews all the possible legal ramifications so when we were not on a test drive she was doing the financial and safety specification mumbo-jumbo dance with the salesman who was acting increasingly dizzy and disorientated.

Unfortunately, after everything we went through we did not buy a car, which tested Spoilboy to the extreme and required Dragonwife to mentally decompress for several hours from her legalistic frame of mind after we returned home. I on the other hand, grabbed several beers and fled upstairs seeking refuge from my son and wife.

This brings us to Saturday morning with all the relevant parties rested and me planning to buy a new bottle of tequila at some point. Everyone please say a word of prayer for my poor soul, as I sit here at the kitchen table pouring out my experiences I figure I will need all the help I can get today, at least until I get my bottle of tequila.


Sarge said...

Let me sing the praises of a KIA.
I own (well, drive - the finance company owns it) a 09 KIA Sportage.
Great small sized SUV. When I left Korea after my second tour of duty in the ROK - there was no way in hell that I would have ever imagined driving a vehicle made in Korea. I mean, not even well made
Well, Samsung became the Korean Sony and the people started getting their shit together. What I have today is exceptionally well made, rides smoother than anything I have ever driven and has a 100K -
10 year warranty.

A KIA is the way to go.

Now, once I get moved down to Evansville I am parking the KIA and buying a cheap rice-burner scooter...


Mr. Charleston said...

Can't believe Spoilboy would pass up a CRV. Something seriously wrong with your kid? Anyway, here's to you. Buying a car is the biggest pain in the ass ever invented in the best of circumstances much less for a teenager. I would get him a brand new one of those box looking things that kids like and cost about fifteen grand with cash back to help you buy it and no maintenance worries until he's out of the house and your pocket book. That's what I did when my kid was in college and never regretted it.

Akelamalu said...

Oh the joys of parenthood. ;)

lime said...

i feel your pain, oh yes i do. i have an 18 yr old who will need a car in a few short months and a 16 yr old chomping at the bit for one. pass the tequila?

Pearl said...

The KIA is a great car.

Start 'em out practical-like, that's what I always say.



Windsmoke. said...

Been there done that its not pretty but it will work out ok in the end you'll just have to keep on plugging away :-).

Pixel Peeper said...

I feel your pain!

Korean cars have come a long way, Mr. Pixel drives a Hyundai and is quite happy with it.

We were lucky with our son; he was perfectly happy to accept our 2004 Honda Civic when he started needing more rides than we were willing to provide. In a way, that was always the plan - I remember standing in the Honda dealership in Columbia when we bought that Civic and he said in his most confident 12-year-old pipsqueak voice that this was going to be his car some day.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Whoa! THAT adventure surpasses anything I could dream up, OR actually do downunder in OZ!! But hang on - I sense a win-win situation. Why not get DW to approve the re-purchase of the car she sold out from under you several posts ago, so you can share some quality bonding time with DSB??!!

PS Sorry. We Aussies abbreviate EVERYTHING!!

Beach Bum said...

Sarge: I liked the Kia's very much but my wife just couldn't beat the salesdude into submission enough to make the deal. Although the guy probably had to get drunk once he got off work Friday evening.

Mr. Charleston: Dragonwife and Spoilboy went out Saturday morning looking at cars and came back with some sort deal on a Ford Ranger. Monday morning we have to run to the bank and pull out some cash then take the thing to a repair shop for some "minor repairs." I have not seen it yet but I have a bad feeling about the whole thing.

Akelamalu: I love my kids but there is a portion of my mind that is looking forward to them going to college.

Lime: Had three shots of cheap tequila before making several pitchers of margaritas.

Pearl: Working on that, like I mentioned above there has been a change plans but I would prefer a Kia.

Windsmoke: My son better appreciate all this.

Pixel: My son actually had a bad reaction to the recent post I wrote describing how my wife sold my beloved Camaro. He said that would have been the perfect car for him. How we would have stored and preserved it until now is beyond me.

Red: Yeah, that would be nice but I lost track of the Camaro.

Ranch Chimp said...

Morning Bum ... I think it is wise for young folk's to earn on their own to buy. I have a friend who grew up in poverty, Dallas' original Pikes Park/ Little Mexico, had a big familia a couple daughter's and one son, he made well for himself and his sibling's and climbed to average middle class home's apid for, small business, etc ... and made a nice nest egg. But since he only had one son, he spolied the Hell out of him ... nice car, $2000 BC Rich guitar, etc, yet the kid never worked a day in his life and loathed doing such. I sat down with his dad one day and talked to him about it, just because were friend's ... and told him "Did you ever think of telling your son to get off his ass and work some?" ... he already gave him 3 car's by the time he was 19 or so at that, even changed the oil for his son ... his son's only halfway job was playing death metal music and he didnt like school either ... but to cut it short, after that talk, he changed his way of thinking. The guy basically grew up with nothing himself, and his clothes came from Goodwill as a kid, when he done well later in life, he just forgot the basic's and gave everything to his son without his son working for anything.

No ... I grew up as a street kid, if I told my mom I needed a car, she would have told me to ride the subway and give me a token, or ge off my ass and work (I left home though at 13/ 14, never returned to live) ... I had to even hustle my first bicycle shining shoes, my first car, etc ... even had to do alot of my mechanic work because the car's I had, which were many, I was too poor to take them to a shop, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. I got a jon in my late teen's at an oil/ lube place in Houston, just so I could do work on my car for free, and we smoked pot all day on the job, but you had to, to get through the summer Houston heat, working in an auto bay.

My daughter's I actually put behind the wheel as early as 9/ 10 year's old, sometime's on pillow's to sit on (3 daughter's) and put them under the hood, teaching them all the basic's, one daughter wanted to be a race car driver, but changed her mind later after getting her degree ... they are excellent driver's, so the talk that women are bad driver's is a myth, my daughter's are kick ass behind the wheel. I also taught them at a young age how to use firearm's, one of my daughter's is like me when it come's to gun's and archery for sport ... like me she is also a big NRA supporter, and just filed for her concealed handgun permit (she's a business woman and travel's alot, and she feel's she want's protection). But I taught my daughter's to not depend on me for anything they didnt have to ... and not to wait on the side of the road with a flat tire expecting for some Guy to come along and change it for you ... they thank me to this day for my raising them this way.

Have a good un Bum ... beautiful morning here on the Ranch!

Ranch Chimp said...

BTW Bum ... did you get a looksy at the new Camaro? My daughetr now a marketing coordinator for one of the big 3 automaker's, get's to drive new car's all the time, most I dont waste my time with, like the yuppie Cadillac Escalade ... a couple week's back she had a new Camaro ... I had to take it out (with her permission) and it was loaded man! I got out on a far North Dallas turnpike and took that thing up to 110mph ... and what pick- up it had too! It's bad ass ... those Dodge Chargers are kick ass too these dayz.

Randal Graves said...

“Dad, when can you and mom buy me a car?”

"When you get a job and can pay us back."

Drink heavily, sir.

Nance said...

Bless my parents and the economic heyday of the nineties; they gave each of my kids their old cars as a first car and bought new ones for themselves. Otherwise, we'd have been right where you are and there aren't many worse parenting moments than these.

Cloudia said...

hmmmm....WHO spoil-boyed him, eh?!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

>< } } ( ° >

Life As I Know It Now said...

My son's first car was a Ford Thunderbird which he inherited from me. It was a tank of a car and yet sporty and so he didn't mind getting it since it was nearly a free deal for him. He had to work to pay toward insurance, upkeep, and gas to get around.

Good luck with the car hunting.

Jim said...

Doesn't KIA stand for killed in action?

John McElveen said...

Der der dert der der der der derrrrr, dah da da dant da,

One word--MOPED : not as in Darth MOPED around the house...but Darth, you can my your own MO PED!!

LMBO BB...this was a phenomenal post and exactly why I had my wife spayed as soon as we got married!

G'Luck Bro--I can't believe you were in Cola!! Cool man!

Pass me the salt Dude...and the Quervo!

John Boy

okjimm said...

Almost four years ago my son picked up a 1990 Volvo sedan for $1200. His next lesson was the price of auto maintenance. Wonder Girl now owns it. I figure after four yeas we have stuck an additional $1200 into it. But it runs like a top, even though it does not look so spiffy anymore.

Guy left a note on her wiper blade last month...'if you ever want to sell' with a $1000 offer and a phone number. Volvo's can run forever if you take care of them.

Unknown said...

First car,
$800.00 for an 76 MG Midget, with the use of a 84 cavalier when it rained...yeah the same chevy that saved Georgetown during Hugo. MG ran better than the Chevy..rephrase MG ran, Chevy didn't, but it did exude that protective sphere where no trees fell....

John Myste said...

Damn! My daughter has incubated for nearly 35 weeks. I hear rumors that she was to be delivered at 37 weeks. Now my question is this: can I have the pregnancy discontinued this late in the game?

It is not worth is. Samantha already owes me around $12,000.00 and she is not even born yet!

Marja said...

oh beach just hilarious I love your writing style. Fantastic that your son got a job That is the biggest milestone and he is pretty lucky to receive a car Here kids buy a car themselves, otherwise they have to bus bad luck.

momto8 said...

4 kids...10 cars. we are smarter now..we know the next 4 kids are not as smart as they say they are. no more cars in our house for 16 yr olds!!!
I am your newer follower..pls follow back if you can.
good luck!!