This evening marks the end of my first week back in Arizona, and I am still in need of two things: a car and a place to live. Most of my worldly possessions are still on a ship somewhere out on the Pacific, and the government is paying my temporary lodging - so the house is less of a priority than getting a dependable set of wheels.
I have spent three evenings this week car-shopping and have so far come up with three cars that fit or almost fit my shopping parameters: reasonable price (cheap), low mileage (50,000 miles or less), fairly recent vintage - say, less than six-years-old, and economical. I am looking at a big-ass 2004 Buick LeSabre, a 2010 Cbevy Aveo, and now a 1995 Firebird.
A 1995 Firebird? Allow me to elucidate. It is a one-owner, spotless vehicle with less than 50,000 miles that looks like it just rolled off of the showroom floor - and it is priced under $8,000! And of course the owners were a white-haired little old couple from Pasadena, or Pascagoula, or Pass the Metamucil, who finally traded it to the car agency for something more befitting their advanced years. The beautiful little Firebird is white, the perfect color for the desert, and I would look really good driving it down the road.
The Chevy Aveo is bright yellow and also would look great with me at the wheel - and an Obama sticker on the back bumper!
Tomorrow is Saturday, the day when I intend to buy something, somewhere.
This evening after work I visited a place on the western edge of Phoenix that is called an auto mall. It is a strip of dealerships that run two miles or so along a frontage road of Interstate 10. I began at the Chevrolet dealership on the eastern end of the road. Those sales people were so cool, that they wouldn't leave the air conditioning to come outside and try to unload one of their lemons on the sucker driving the rental car. I walked their lot on my own, found nothing of interest, and moved on to the next dealership.
At the second lot I was greeted by, well...a young lady who called herself a "greeter." She found out what I was after and then rushed inside to find a salesman as I began wandering through their vehicles. The salesman quickly joined me, carrying a printout of cars that met my criteria - low miles, fairly new, economical, and cheap. But there was nothing there that grabbed my interest, so I moved on.
The third place had the aforementioned Firebird. Two salesmen dealt with me, and while they were fairly nice, they were also more persistent and insistent than the guy on the lot that I had just left.
The salesman at the next lot was even hungrier and tried everything that he could think of to hook me on one of his cars - but to no avail. That was followed by a young lady in the adjoining lot who played every card in her salesmanship deck.. She began as cheerful and helpful, and then when she sensed that I was edging toward my rental to make an escape, she seemed to be on the verge of crying. But tears wouldn't stop a seasoned shopper like me, so as I got to the rental, she shifted into the hateful mode.
And from there on it seemed to get worse with each stop. The final car lot had stakes driven into the ground around the perimeter that were topped with severed human heads. The salesman who waddled out to meet me was named Kurtz. He has a blow-gun in one hand and a bloody machete in the other. Kurtz had obviously spent way too much time at the end of the road in the hot Arizona sun!
The horror! The horror!
It was time to call it a day and go home!