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Car Talk - Joe Shlabotnik Is My Hero [Who Is Joe Shlabotnik?] [20 Random Pictures Taken By Peter] [What Is Peter Reading?]
February 14th, 2006
01:44 pm

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Car Talk

Still Life: Two Cars
Originally uploaded by Joe Shlabotnik.
Forest Hills, Queens, Februrary 12, 2006 - It sure seemed like a lot of snow, but record-setting snow? Yes, Central Park got 26.9 inches of snow on Sunday, which apparently is indeed the most these parts have ever gotten in a single storm. Well, hooray for that. I like snow. It's pretty. But did it have to happen on a Sunday? If it were during the week, I could have had taken the day off and Sunday would have been used to continue our car shopping.

Instead, we stayed inside and painted, then shoveled that evening when the snow stopped. Our neighbors had parked their car in our extra parking spot because they had guests over, and that made it harder to shovel out the spot in front of our garage. The extra spot is where our snow is supposed to go. So we decided to just bury their car. (Pictured is the PT Cruiser we're renting right now, next to a very well-hidden Taurus). They were good sports about it, and I assume they're not planning any sort of good-natured revenge...

Anyway, car shopping is less fun than it should be. There's the anxiety of making an expensive purchase that you have to live with for years to come (speaking of which: today, February 14, marks exactly 15 years since Sue and I started dating. We'll be ten years married this July. We've outlasted all the cars we've had. Fortunately, cars don't get upset when you dump them for a younger, cuter, model - again, see picture.)

Back to car shopping... Is there anyone on this planet who likes car salesmen? Do they go to special seminars on How To Annoy The Hell Out Of A Potential Customer? All I want is to be left alone and I'll let them know when I have a question. In general, the more downscale the car dealership, the less likely that that will happen. The guys at the Chrysler and Mazda dealerships we went to latched onto us like evil lampreys. Salesmen at Orlando-area Subaru, VW, and Honda dealerships attacked us before we had even gotten out of our car! Two Nissan dealerships pulled some "oh, you want a brochure? I'm just a receptionist, I'll have to call a salesman to give you one" crap. Neither of the Toyota dealers we went to had any Priuses to test, but that didn't stop the salesmen from blab blab blabbing away. Rallye BMW was an outlier - the the boneheaded salesman essentially talked us out of buying a 325 by implying that they were so expensive to fix that it was absolutely essential that we get the extended warranty. And then they wouldn't even let us test drive the car. (That's Rallye BMW in Roslyn, New York - they suck. Don't go there.)

Rallye Mercedes and Rallye Acura were both great, though. There, and at Volvo, Saab, Mini, and two Audi dealerships, we were treated more than decently. Saab was unique in that it had actual brochures we could actually grab without having to actually talk to anyone (didn't all dealers used to do that?) And both Saab and Audi let us test-drive on our own, without a salesman in the car. I don't expect that of all dealerships, but would it kill Chrysler to have their salesmen emulate Audi salesmen and not treat their customers as prey?

So as you can see, we haven't much narrowed down our choices. Sunday was supposed to help us do that. But we'll have to wait until this coming weekend...

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