March 20th, 2018


By G. E. Shuman

A few months ago, my wife and I got a new car. We had been leasing, and the lease was up. If you’ve never leased, this means that you have to go back to the dealer and get another one. With us that’s worked out well. We get a new car every few years and have a somewhat lower payment than if we had bought the thing. It’s my opinion that you never win with car deals anyway, so you might as well have the lowest payment you can.

For the past several car transactions Lorna has braved the annoying phone calls and the trip to the dealership and done the deals for us. (I love that woman!) I have made the excuse that I work days so it’s probably easier for her to go. We used to go together, and I would enjoy the experience about as much as my last colonoscopy. No, the colonoscopy was better. Lorna seems to almost enjoy wrangling with car salesmen, and I simply loathe it. So, it works out well for her to go make a deal. (Note here: I’m probably different from most men, in that I don’t care a lot about what I drive, as long as it’s dependable. I do insist that it has cruise control and air conditioning, but what car doesn’t these days?)

So, the day always comes that she is at the dealer haggling away over money and options and I don’t know what else, and I get the call or text telling me that she has found something to buy. This is good, as I know the process is almost over for the next car-leasing cycle. But, this last time was different. This time Lorna texted me and said that she REALLY LOVED the car she was looking at. Truthfully, I don’t think she has ever used the word REALLY in a statement saying that she loved ME, and that situation put me into an “Okay, just buy it.” frame of mind, if I wanted to have a happy wife.

The car is great, but now I’ll get to what I wanted to write about in the first place this week. That is that I have noticed every time we get another vehicle it has more ‘options’ than the last one. We don’t ask for them, they’re just there in the car. I think this is a ploy on the part of the car makers to get you into a more ‘pricy’ vehicle. In fact, I know it is. I do realize that most of the options are enjoyable, and human nature says that we should enjoy things and never go backward. No one wants to buy something that isn’t quite as ‘good’ as what we already have, so we get one with more ‘options’, like it was an option or something.

The car we bought, although it doesn’t have everything I have ever heard of in a car, has lots of ‘stuff’. It has leather seats, so, of course, they have to be heated because leather freezes in the winter and getting into a frozen car isn’t a lot of fun. It has a back up camera because the shape of the car makes it almost impossible to see behind it unless you have a neck like a giraffe, which my wife and I don’t. (Someone, please make a car camera that doesn’t have to be cleaned every day to make it see.) And the car has all kinds of other stuff related to navigation, entertainment, phone connections, automatic headlights, etcetera, most of which I wonder if it is worth pouring through the two-inch-thick manual to figure out. (The glove compartment is very large, mostly to accommodate this manual. You must put your gloves somewhere else.) I will say that I do like the climate control. We’ve never before had a car that had individual climate control, and since my wife is always cold and I’m always hot, (Thankfully, opposites attract.) it’s nice for both of us to be able to be comfortable.

One option on this new car that I found truly laughable when I discovered it, is that the dash display alerts you that your windshield wipers are on. FRONT WIPERS ON LOW it will say when you turn them on. FRONT WIPERS OFF when you turn them off. In the past I have always had some idea that the wipers were on because of those big black things swooshing back and forth in front of me when I’m driving. I also knew that they were off when this action stopped. Now I can just take my eyes off the road in a rain storm and look down at the display to get the same information. Technology is truly amazing. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the car has keyless entry, as long as the key is in your pocket. The salesman actually told my wife that the key, hidden in the fob, is in case of an emergency. He didn’t say what kind of emergency that would be, as there is no key slot anywhere in or on the car. I’ve looked.

Just so that you know, if you have never heard me mention it, I do own one car that I truly love, if you can love a car. It’s a nicely restored 1970 VW beetle… and I think that it has NO options at all, not even power brakes, power steering, or, thankfully, any electronic anything. If you want the windshield wipers on you simply put them on (and hope that they work). If you want climate control on your side of the car, you roll the window down, (with the nifty crank) or put it up. You can also tell if a tire is low on that car without looking at any dash display because the tire will be flat on the bottom. If you want the seats to heat up, well, too bad.

I like our new car and appreciate the fact that we have it. But summer is coming, and soon I will have the ‘option’ of driving the one I really like.

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