On buying a car

It’s finally time. After many years of being a one-car family, with kids and needing to go more and more places, it’s finally time to become a two-car family. Jessi worked very hard and finally got her license (hooray!), so then it was time for me to go car shopping, as she would primarily be driving the minivan with the kids, and I’d get a new (or at least new to me) car for my daily commute. Taking a large vehicle (and thus mediocre gas mileage) with just me in it all the way to work wasn’t making a lot of sense anyway.

So, I go car shopping. I’m pretty overwhelmed with the number of options. New versus Used, different brands, different models, and plenty of trims, packages, and options within each model. It’s a fairly terrible process. I think that Planet Money’s podcast episode on the subject pretty much covers it. For a variety of historical reasons that may have made sense at the time but don’t make as much sense now, one can’t go to a new car retailer, but one has to first select a brand that one likes, and then from there compare the options. Somehow, I can’t just pop onto Amazon, filter by features, select what I want, and put in my credit card number (or send Bitcoin) like buying pretty much anything else works.

There’s no real purpose to this post; I’m mainly just ranting. All the people I’ve worked with have been very friendly and helpful, but as with many sales-related things I feel that upon doing just a little research ahead of times made me more knowledgeable than the sales reps, at least about the parts I care most about. (And it’s likely that what I care most about isn’t what most people care most about.) I don’t think that the sales reps did anything wrong or even that there was anything that they could have done better, I’m just so much more used to being able to buy things without a person involved that it’s jarring to involve one, especially when I’m not sure that they added a whole lot to my experience. Perhaps eventually, the industry will catch up.

Ford Focus Stock PhotoBut I have selected a “2014 Ford Focus SE with SFE”, which is being ordered and I should have “in 4–6 weeks”. I’m sure I’ll be very happy with it, and it should get twice the mileage I get in the van, but I sure wish that the whole car buying experience had been less annoying.