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Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Buying Cars

I hate to shop. Any kind, any place. That is why I buy almost everything except fresh items on line. The internet and its wide services came just in time for me.

While visiting my family in Pineville, Missouri for Thanksgiving many years ago, I woke on Sunday and prepared to drive back to Minneapolis. My car was dead and there was no resurrecting it. But that isn’t the end of the story. I had connections. I didn’t have to buy a car in person. My Dad got on the phone and called my brother. “Your sister needs a new car.” He said flatly.

“But Dad. It is Sunday morning and nothing is open.”

“Your sister needs a new car.” Dad repeated.

Accepting the inevitable, my brother asked to speak to me. “What kind of car do you want?”

“I think a blue one.” Was my lame response

“Let me see what I can do.”

He called back about an hour later. “I have a friend who owns a dealership in Poplar Bluff. (A mere 350 miles from Pineville.) He will deliver a new, blue Oldsmobile tomorrow morning. You will have to miss only one day of work.”

Daddy smiled.

A few years later, I decided to go to a dealer on my own and buy a new car. I was completely ignored by the salesmen. (Yes, they were all men,) Annoyed, I approached one and asked to be waited on and why I was invisible to him. “It is simple.” he said. “Talking to a single woman about a deal is a waste of time. They always want to come back with a husband, boyfriend or other male to kick the tires and handle negotiations so we wait until two show up.”

Totally miffed, I said, “I am a professional woman who makes a good income and am completely capable of buying a car on my own. You just missed a sure sale.”

With that I marched back to my old car and drove away. I returned to my sure fire backup – my brother. A few phone calls later, I met the driver of my new car halfway between Kansas City and Poplar Bluff. We got out, signed paper on the fender of “Buffy” my new transportation and both drove off with a mission accomplished.

This was repeated once more when we bought a shiny silver Jeep Grand Cherokee. Perfect for country driving. It was delivered on a big flat bed truck. Ten years later, we decided to buy a new hybrid car – a Prius. By then, the internet was easy to use and we bought a sparkly red Prius from a dealer in Joplin. Again, sight unseen.

Last year, our son declared that “Marilyn needs a new car.” The Prius was 10 years old and a bit unreliable. I have a friend in Joplin working at the same Toyota dealer where we bought the first Prius. A couple of phone calls later. We struck a deal. They would deliver a new Prius to our home in Minnesota and drive the trade-in back.

At 78, it is unlikely I will be buying another car, but if I do, I know how. I may have not made the best deals in my car-buying efforts, but I can’t complain.

The service was terrific.

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