Birthday Presents

For my 57th birthday earlier this month, I gave myself a new car and a trip to Orlando. The new car was somewhat of a requirement. The PT Cruiser I bought in 2005 had enough miles on it to make me nervous about driving to Florida.

I’ve known for months what kind of car I wanted to get. My PT Cruiser was the first convertible I’ve had the pleasure of owning. Driving with the top down is possible at least a few days every month here in Georgia. Wishing I’d bought another convertible seemed more likely than wishing I hadn’t.

Refusing to pay more for a car than I paid for my first house ruled out a lot of options. A car is a means of getting from place to place for me, not a statement about who I am as a person. Call me cheap if you want, but I have other priorities — like retiring from my day job ASAP.

I narrowed the field down to a Mustang, a Miata, or a Beetle. Friends informed me all three were cars parents buy daughters for graduation presents. Calling me girly stopped bothering me decades ago. The Miata was too small, and a ton of issues with my American-made Chrysler steered me away from the Mustang.

Deciding on a Beetle was easy. Working up the nerve to buy one took some doing. Car salesmen, in my humble opinion, are professional, highly-trained con artists. Getting ripped off is guaranteed — minimizing the damage is the challenge.

Experts advise against buying new because the car loses value the minute you drive off the lot. Buying used cars scares me. I’d rather take my chances with a new car than buy someone else’s problems.

The dealership here in Athens is one of the sleaziest operations I’ve ever encountered — and that’s saying something. I should have walked away, but driving to Atlanta appealed to me about as much as a root canal with no anesthetic. I’ve yet to receive the customer satisfaction survey they referred to throughout the transaction.

Beyond any doubt, I paid too much, but I don’t care. Like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder and I love my new car. Spreading the cost over the ten or more years I’ll likely drive it eases the pain.

My new Beetle is not the stripped down, utilitarian vehicle of the sixties and seventies. The plush interior is roomy and comfortable, with heated seats (OMG! Where have you been all my life?), lots of storage compartments, and a “bottle holder” on the door that’s just perfect for my favorite coffee cup. In addition to Bluetooth, there’s a port in the glove compartment for a smartphone, with controls on the steering wheel.

Legroom in the backseat is nonexistent. As I rarely have even one passenger, no big deal. I like to have never figured out how to access the gas tank. Figuring out how to use the fancy controls on the steering wheel is a challenge too. Otherwise, I’m 100% satisfied with my new car.

Next time, I’ll tell you about my trip to Orlando.

2 responses to “Birthday Presents”

  1. Always getting ripped off by car salesmen, always. It’s nearly impossible to avoid. Those Beetles are cute, too. I almost got one myself a few years ago, but went with something else. The one I looked at had a flower vase. Now that is civilized. I had a friend with one who kept orchids in it. Conspicuous only because they were real.
    I love a lush interior…and a port for my smartphone is a necessity. In this neck of the woods I desperately need seat warmers. I love mine. The passenger side one went crazy on a road trip and nearly cooked my daughter! But the nearest dealership replaced it, no charge. I also love warranties…did I mention that?
    I have friends in Orlando and (one of them teaches there) so, of course, I want to know about your trip. Enough. Thank you, again, Michael for an interesting post.

    • I worried about ticking off a car salesman, but the likelihood they’d read my blog–or anything really–was so small i want ahead. Hahaha. I’ve been using the Bluetooth connection. I tossed the cable for the port because it was the wrong one for my phone, only to find out later an adapter was a lot cheaper than a new cable. LIve and learn. Toodles likes the heated seats too. Thanks for stopping by!