I am an abysmal 0 for 3 on used car negotiations and it might be time to change tactics. My usual style is to find something that looks like it will reliably start for the next two years and hopefully not crush me with onesie-twosie repairs. I am not an idiot and completely understand that the elderly high mileage vehicle that I seek will have plenty of problems but I am under strict orders from my insurance guy. I called him to see if there was a used car I could buy that would take some of the sting out of insuring a sixteen-year-old male driver and he said: “yes, buy something cheap that way if he wrecks it you will leave it at the side of the road and start over.” So, I have some very specific targets in mind and have been actively engaging their owners.

I usually begin with a question about reliability or some such nonsense then ask about service history. I don’t expect anyone to tell me the whole truth here but what they will commit to in writing is the clue. I am lucky because there is no rush. I am not looking forward to shuffling another car around the lot and the boy’s schedule makes staging another notch more difficult. Wait, back to the failed negotiations… I let them know there is a live fish on the line and give all the signals of easy prey in an effort to find their lowest nice guy price. Then I turn into a Steve Irwin killing stingray and hit them with my drive right over and pick it up after a test drive price.

I will also have a mechanic give it a once-over but no need to spill those beans just yet. They always balk at the shockingly low number but that’s where the fun begins. We go back and forth until I get the lowest number they are willing to take which signals time for the real work to begin. I let them know that the price sounds fair but I will need to have the car checked out and any major repairs will reopen negotiations. This is usually where I lose them but tonight I had one that I thought might go through. I was setting things up to drive it tomorrow during lunch and take it to the mechanic for checking. At the point I told him the test drive would take just about an hour he lost his shit and this is the reason I am writing this big pile of boring.

We were on the phone as he had passed my electronic communications tests but I might have shown too much weakness because he tried to bully me on the call. I was so taken aback that I didn’t initially respond which he mistook for the upper hand. He finished berating me into “just buying the car without all this other bullshit” by calling me a pussy and then it was like a mental fog lifted. I let loose with a barrage of swear that was quite honestly beautiful. The pussy comment led me to believe that I was talking to a real Man’s man so I was putting words together like cock and gobble as well as some other choice swear arrangements but I finished by asking if the Jared from Subway arrest and conviction rocked his community. When he asked what I meant I said “you know, kid fuckers. Did it freak you out that one of your own went down so hard and there is no pun intended but it’s funny none the less.” 

His hanging up let me know the negotiations had ended but the stupid idiot had already given me his home address. I’m sure this is eating away at him still. He has my cell number but I changed his contact name to Jared from Subway so I look forward to any future calls. Oh well, back to the search.

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