Today I went car shopping. In all honesty, my main drive behind wanting a new car is my acknowledged self delusion that somehow it won’t end up being a complete shit pit like my current car.
My husband does clean my car out with reasonable regularity. However, it really only takes a week before it ends up looking a bit like a bin lorry inside. When I opened the door yesterday, out fell used food wrappers, 3 brightly coloured plastic unicorns, a coke bottle, several items of kids clothing and a toy car. That was before I attempted to dig my way through the interior debris to retrieve the wellies I was actually looking for.
As I climbed into the back seat, I was assaulted by various substances including sucked jelly sweets, Pom bears, orange segments, and the obligatory squished black mouldy banana. I placed my hand carefully to lean on what I though was a clean patch of seat, only to find that it had obviously recently been painted in jam.
So, today we went on our roughly bi-annual car shopping trip. I put on my best patient face and exited the car. The used car salesman pounced with alarming prowess given his less then agile appearance. Then he saw the kids, and realised immediately his error. Sadly, there was no way he could politely reverse, so he grimaced, and offered me his slimy hand. Checking I had the baby wipes in my coat pocket, I duly shook the proffered hand.
I explained in a no-nonsense kind of way that I had come to look at a particular car, and was not even remotely interested in discussing any other one. The car salesman looked relieved. He emphasised to me the quality and hard wearing nature of the interior leather, and the fact that this was a true family car. As I sat in the drivers seat, the kids climbed around in the back, pulling anything that looked vaguely like a handle, and pushing anything which looked even remotely like a button. Seeing his horrified expression in the rear view mirror, I explained to the car salesman that my children were just testing the hard wearing leather, and family car properties. He managed a smile through gritted teeth.
When I started loading the car seats in the back, explaining that I was now going to take the car for a test drive, the used car salesman looked horrified. To be fair, they had been munching on jam sandwiches on the way there, and the little darlings were sporting a fair amount of the jam about their faces and clothing. Nonetheless, I give him full credit for remaining polite and business like, and retrieving the keys for me.
As we drove the kids initially squealed with delight, but quickly reverted to kicking one another and arguing over who had got the best seat. The car salesman clearly hadn’t been shut in a car with a pile of marauding infants and a slightly demented mummy before. In addition to the used car salesman aura, I could smell fear. Real fear.
He chattered nervously about things like miles per gallon, towing ratios and other stuff, all the while clearing hoping I would turn back towards the showroom. After 10 minutes laughing quietly to myself, I took him back to the showroom. He immediately plied the little darlings with crayons and paper, which they ignored because they had discovered the water fountain which is much more fun. I got a coffee, and so began the sales patter. He asked me lots of questions apparently designed for protecting complete imbeciles from being unhappy with their car purchases. These went a a little like this:
S: Have you considered any other makes or models.
Me: Yes, I did, before concluding that this is the make and model I want.
S: Do you plan to park it in a garage?
Me: No. It’s very unlikely it would fit in a garage.
S: That’s why I have to ask. It is so I don’t sell you something which isn’t fit for purpose. Do you plan to tow with it?
S: Have you considered the towing ratios?
Me: Given that what I am purchasing verges on being a lorry, and has a 3 litre engine, there isn’t going to be a great deal it doesn’t tow.
S: Well, yes, of course. Do you need to trade in your current car?
*S Looks distinctly relieved. I suspect he really didn’t want to have to clean it.*
S: Apart from the four children, do you need space to carry any other passengers?
Me: Well, there’s the four children, my husband, the au pair, the puppy, the cat, 4 chickens and 2 dwarf Russian hamsters.
S: Giggles nervously as he’s not sure whether I am joking or not. Calls his boss over to do the sales patter. After talking at me for 10 minutes or so, they conclude that this car is the perfect one for my needs. They have no doubt about this at all, and they think I should immediately give them a substantial deposit. I suspect they would have come to that conclusion a whole lot quicker had they been able to see what the kids were doing with the water fountain, cups and calculators.
Me: Well, thanks very much. I have taken on board everything which you have said, and I am glad that I now fully understand the importance of ensuring whatever I buy is fit for purpose. In order to make absolutely sure the car is fit for my purposes, I will come tomorrow with my husband, the 4 kids, the au pair, the cat, the 4 chickens, and the 2 dwarf Russian hamsters, you know, just to make sure we all fit in. 10am ok?