When two super-shoppers hit the (auto) mall

Few stereotypes have perpetuated longer than that of gal-pal shoppers who love going to the mall. Now kick that stereotype up a notch. Yep, I’m talking New Car Shopping.

Turns out my good friend, Macey, and I were both in the market for a new car. At the exact same time! And although my hubby and I generally purchase our vehicles pre-owned and post-depreciation, on my last (sorta) big birthday, he suggested I buy a new vehicle. As in brand new, fresh off the lot. Zero miles.

Tragically, neither Macey’s spouse nor mine relishes the dealership experience, so we girls scheduled a fun day of car shopping and lunch.

Now, think “Lucy and Ethel hit the car lots” because do you realize how many KINDS of cars there are? That’s right; all the major makes, of course, have “models.” And the models have “packages” with clever names like “Two,” “Three” or “Four.” This gets confusing at the dealerships. For example:

Me: “I’d like to test drive the Cilantro please.”

Auto Salesman: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t make a vehicle called a ‘Cilantro.’”

Me: “Oh, I mean the Silverado.”

Salesman: “Well, actually that’s …”

Me: “And does the Silverado come in a convertible?”

Salesman: “You sure you want a truck, ma’am? Because they don’t make convertible trucks. Could you possibly mean a ‘Sonata?’”

Me: “Um … maybe.”

Yeah, I get a little uneasy with all those models. And colors? Don’t get me started. Pretty soon I don’t know what I want. But Macey and I were both focused on carbon footprints and gas economy, so when a zippy hybrid resembling a small wagon came out this year, we were all over it. At the dealership, the salesman greeted us.

Me: “Hi! We’re interested in the Prius C.”

Macey: “No, you mean the Prius V.”

Me: “Whatever. The new one? We’d like to drive that one.”

After a test drive, during which the salesman explained the car’s great features, I was in love. It had an awesome sunroof. Back at the showroom, the salesman asked if we wanted to look at anything else.

“Nope. We love the C,” I said.

“She means the ‘V,’” explained Macey to the salesman. “When she says ‘C,’ she means ‘V.’”

Unfortunately, the zippy new C, I mean V, has a sunroof that isn’t meant to actually open, so the V slid over to Macey’s “Rejected” list and onto my “Maybe” list. We have our priorities, people! I mean, you bring a man along on a car-hunting trip, you’re talking engines and boring things like that. Macey and I had other requirements. Sunroofs. Cupholders. Fun stuff. So we pushed onward.

By the third dealership, we were tired, hot and hungry. We wandered about the lot, but our hearts weren’t in it. Although there was a nice salesman there (they were actually ALL nice, for which we were grateful) who said we could drive the car to Vegas if he could come along and, by the way, he really needed to sell a car because things had been a little slow this month.

Macey found one possibility on that lot but in our lunch-deprived condition we arranged another date to come back for the test drive.

“I liked that salesman,” Macey said, “I could buy a car from him.”

Mainly, though, Macey liked the headlights on the model she wanted to drive. Because, honestly, if a car doesn’t have cute headlights, why bother?

Back at home I continued my car search online. Holy cow, this was confusing. Can you say “Accessories?”

Yes, I knew about regular accessories like trailer hitches, but whoa! Snowboard and surfboard attachments? Or kayak attachment? And, no, I’m not making this up. So many decisions. I figured I’d better go lie down.

So I’m beginning to see the wisdom of my husband turning me loose to buy a new car. Because he knows it’ll take me forever. Heck, by the time I finally find the perfect vehicle, I may not even be allowed to drive anymore. They’ll have taken away my driver’s license due to being old, blind and senile. Story of my life, people.

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