Monday, April 16, 2018

Sam's First Car Buying Experience

I think when we live in cities, even small ones, we tend to forget our ancient roots; the roots of our heritage that warn us that nature is savage and wild. We lose our fear of what nature can do, even when we hear reports on TV about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. We continue stirring the hot coffee in our hands at our local coffee place, stare blankly out at the storm pounding on its shop windows, and passively forget that we are a part of the treacherous beast that is openly demanding our attention. 

This is something that was brought to mind earlier this year when one of my husband's co-workers, let's call him Sam, did not realize quite how different country life is from city life.

Sam is a second generation immigrant from Asia. His mother and father immigrated to the United States before he was born, and both are now proud, legal citizens. Because of this, Sam is very proud to be an American and fully embraces our country’s no-quit spirit. So when he graduated from a major university in the Lost Angeles area of California, Sam was ecstatic. He had done it, he had pushed himself through college and now held a degree from a major university.

There was only one problem… No one would hire him. He interviewed and interviewed, but for every job that opened up, it seemed there were more applicants than there was time in the day. He waited in lines with his peers, sat in carefully appointed waiting rooms, and found himself muttering the same rehearsed answers to standard questions as every other person in the room; but still at the end of every day, he found himself unemployed and upset.

Sam didn’t quit though; instead, he asked himself a very important question: Is location that important?

So, Sam began to branch out his job search to other states, targeting areas with major companies in his field that had positions open in distant country areas. He began interviewing with renewed zeal and suddenly found himself game fully employed in the same company as my husband.

He was overjoyed. He would be working with a major company that could eventually move him into more favorable positions. He immediately packed up his room at his parents’ house, kissed them goodbye, and made his way out to the mountains of our great state of West Virginia.

However, the day after the rental car was returned, Sam discovered a very important difference between LA and West Virginia; he needed a car. In LA, it was easy for him to hop in a cab, city bus, or Uber to get around town. However, in our neck of the mountains, nature is in your face. She reminds you every winter, if not in some way every season, that she is savage and wild. You can’t ignore her here as you can so easily in a city. She sprinkles black ice on long stretches of solitary winding, back country roads, and blasts us with high power winds that can carry hale.
She reminded Sam daily as he walked the miles long stretch of highway in mid-winter from his apartment to his new job that his ancestry is not only rooted in Asia, or America, or in those coffee shops in LA; she reminded him that his roots are in her, and that he must respect nature in this new place.  

I have to admire Sam though, this challenge did not deter him. Instead, he did as he had with his job search; he began looking for ways to think outside of the box. He did not simply have someone take him down to the nearest dealership to be ripped off. He instead, spent months saving and asking openly for advice.
To which, I have this to say to him: Never buy a car with a loan. Here’s why:

The average interest rate of a car loan per today’s publication date for an individual like Sam with a low, beginner credit score is 15.24%. (See Reference 1)
Today’s average new car price tag as of January 2018, is $36,270 (See Reference 2)
The longest car loan Sam can get today is 84 months (See Reference 3)
New-car warranties on average in 2017, last three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. (See Reference 4)
On average, a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life. (See Reference 5)

Now, if Sam does the math on this he will find:
At the end of the first three years the warrantee on Sam’s car will be over, leaving poor Sam to fend for himself when, not if, the car breaks down.
At the end of his fifth year of ownership his car will only be worth $14,508.
At the end of SEVEN years, when the car loan ends, Sam will have paid: $41,797.59
 **Not the initial signing number of $36,270.

However, if Sam instead:
Researches the KIND of FIVE YEAR OLD car that he wants; one with an all-wheel drive package for example, then writes it down.
Then researches three different dealerships on the West Coast that are selling that particular vehicle – The reason I say to buy West Coast dealerships is that their chassis will have been exposed to less road salt, thereby insuring that they will be in better condition.
He must also consider how many owners each car has had by running a Carfax report (See Reference 6); the fewer the owners, the traditionally better maintained the vehicle will be.
Then he must look up the value of his preferred car on Kelley Blue Book. (See Reference 7)
This is the longest step: He must save up enough cash to pay for the car up front with shipping costs included.
After saving up enough cash, young Sam then must do the scariest thing that some young people have ever done; negotiate. He must contact each dealership and ask them for the lowest price they will be willing to sell the vehicle for. This is when having the other dealerships’ pricing will come in handy.
Once Sam has spoken with all three dealerships and gotten their lowest price, he must ensure that each dealership knows that he has cash to pay for the vehicle, and give them his phone number.
He then must wait 24 hours. Yes, I said 24 whole long hours. This will give each dealership a long enough time period to decide if they can give him a better price.
Bite the bullet time. This is when Sam will buy the car, and work with the dealer to have the car shipped to him.

I must add here that I know most people in Sam’s position won’t be willing to go through this process. It is hard on a person who attaches emotion to money to see each of the steps through to the end. However, if you can see car buying not as an emotional experience, but as a simple business transaction; the dealer wants your money, you want their car, it will be easier all the way around. Negotiation does not have to be hard, or mean. The best negotiations end with smiles on both party’s faces.

So in closing, dear Sam, I hope that you do follow my words of wisdom. Nature is not the only treacherous beast we need to pay attention to in this life. Don’t give up on your future dream house so that you can stare at a shiny car you can’t afford to put gas in right now. You can watch the rain come down from inside a car you can afford just the same as one you can’t, but the difference is in how you will feel about it in the future. ©JoyJohnson2018


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About the Author

Joy Johnson has traveled all over the United States as both an active duty United States Marine and now as a Veteran. She is married, and is the mother of two children. She lives a quiet life in the mountains of West Virginia, and loves the beauty of putting words to paper. It is her supreme hope that her characters find their way into the world and provide others with the same kind of wonder that they have provided her with these past years.
For more of her books and stories, visit her author page at:

To all the ‘Sam’s’ out there, may your sense of determination to succeed drive you to happiness untold!

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This story is an original work of fiction. Any and all resemblance to persons; living or dead, places, events or locations, are purely coincidental, and should not be taken for fact. The characters represented within this working of fiction are productions of the author’s imaginings and are fictitious. This should be considered young adult to adult reading material. 
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About Me

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West Virginia, United States
I have traveled all over the United States as both an active duty United States Marine and now as a Veteran. It is my supreme hope that my characters find their way into the world and provide others with the same kind of wonder that they have provided me with these past years. I have a number of short stories for children, adults, and young adults on my Amazon Author page: Click on by if you are interested. Currently, I am working on a new book, The Family Slayer. I am publishing it one chapter at a time, and is my first time attempting to publish and creatively write simultaneously. Drop by and write me a review about it! By the way: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. I use all proceeds from my blog and Amazon to cover medical costs for my son whom has Treacher Collins Syndrome. I try to update this blog as well as my new book on Amazon, The Family Slayer every Friday.