This is my car:
If you squint really hard, it almost looks like a Land Rover
This 1995 Ford Explorer has been in the family for its whole life. 19 years old- is that vintage yet? Classic? I’m guessing no.
The Exploder is on its last wheels. Literally. It creaks through turns and over speed bumps, and sometimes it kalumps along like it’s driving on oval wheels. Oh- and only two of its doors are fully functional. My 11-year-old daughter will ride in Mom’s car any chance she can get. But she’s usually stuck with me. At least I’ve got tinted windows.
But a guy needs wheels, and the Exploder’s end is imminent. So I’ve decided to get a truck. Abby and I went to the dealer the other day with the following wish list:
We need four doors (that you can open from the inside AND the outside)
The truck should look new-ish
It must not be red. (Blue, silver, or gray are ideal)
Big bonus points for MPG, a good stereo system, and a USB port
The car lot
Long story short, we found a great truck at the car dealer. And then we found the sticker price- just under $37,000!
Ah the joys of sticker shock. Right up to that moment, there was hope. I had big dreams! But now there was nothing but doubt and despair. This truck was just plain out of my league. My head slumped a little bit, Charlie Brown style, and I walked away feeling like a deadbeat.
But wait! What was this?? Why it was my valiant salesman, slashing away heroically at that MSRP. And oh! The joy I felt! Pure jubilant joy, as the price came plummeting down with incentive after incentive. Godspeed, dear salesman! Slay the dragon! Kill the beast! Make that price tag disappear completely! I threw in a $5000 down payment. And then my one last dagger. The trade-in value of my old car!
The test-driver guy took the Exploder out for a spin, and was back before we knew it. He huddled with the manager, and the sales guy came back with the offer.
I knew I had been hoping for a minor miracle. But still, I was bummed when it didn’t happen. I don’t remember any of the details, except for one glaring number: the number 100. One hundred dollars. That’s what they offered for the Exploder. No, they hadn’t forgotten a zero. The trade-in value of the Exploder was ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. $100! I was dumbstruck. What was I feeling here? Was it anti-sticker shock? A Scooby-Doo-stickers-on-the-back-window kind of sticker shock? A Stick-‘er-in-the-car-squisher-at-the-junkyard-and-sell-her-for-scrap-metal kind of sticker shock? It didn’t matter. I had more important things to think about. For God’s sake- I’d just been diagnosed with a $100 car.
And on top of that, that new truck would still end up costing over $30,000 (not even including taxes and licensing.) These prices were blowing my mind. The disparity was stunning.
According to this offer, that new truck is worth 300 times more than my old car.
Check this out:
1 NEW TRUCK
Move over Dodge- there’s a new Caravan in town!
Or how about this:
100 new Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars!
(author’s note- these are used cars, because I couldn’t find a picture of 100 new ones)
Anywho… Back to reality.
Even with $5000 down, the payments were terrifying. With the same money I paid on a new car payment, I could buy a new Exploder every week for the next 5 years, and a tank of gas to go with it.
In the end, I decided to put off buying a new truck. Or any truck at all. My daughter won’t like this, but it turns out that for a couple thousand bucks, I can probably keep the ol’ Exploder running for at least another year. Still though, that’s spending $2000 for maintenance on a $100 car. Sheesh- if I’m going to spend $2000, maybe I should just get 20 more Exploders…