Monday, June 30, 2008

My car, my whip, my ride, my problem

Who wants to buy a nice used car so I don't have to park it for $500 a month in New York?

Nobody, apparently. Although I don't really need one, it's been nice to have my slick wheels out here, if only because I get to go to Culver's out in the burbs whenever I want. Three weeks ago, I put up ads on Craigslist, (for $40) (also not free) and the Reader. I've had a few calls, but nobody has even come to see the thing - I'm starting to get the feeling that nobody wants to buy a car that gets 26 mpg on the highway anymore. These are some of the responses I've had:

- Nice Midwestern-sounding lady: Called up on a Saturday morning, asked about fuel economy right off the bat, then said "I'll call you." Never called. Hussy.

- All-caps guy: Had the cash ready, but made a very, very low-ball offer in text-screaming like when one of your elderly relatives first learned how to use email. I waited too long to see if I could do better, and he lost interest. Just to rub it in, he told me in his final email that he thought the car was worth $500 less than his initial offer. Thanks, buddy.

- The Hoosier Loser: He had the same make and model I did and wanted to buy my car for his brother, who was moving into town. "I got a lemon last time I bought a used car, so I was wondering if I could take your car for a week to let my mechanic down her in Indiana take a look at it," he asked. Is this some sort of joke? "What if I give you a check for $1,000 as a deposit?" Then I have $1,000 and no car (my car is worth a significant amount over that). Great. Still, we arranged a time to meet. The next day, he called me up and spoke like a woman who drunkenly gave her number to a guy she was never interested in. "Umm, I can't make it today." Another time? "I'll call you." Good luck finding someone willing to surrender their car for a week.

- Blocked-number guy: He called, had lots of specific questions and didn't ask about the fuel economy. Unfortunately, I took the call when I was out of the house. He said he would call me back the next day to make a time to see the car. He never called. I thought he might have expected me to call him, but his number appeared blocked on my phone. Who are you, wonderful stranger, and do you still want my car? [makes "call me" hand gesture]

- Cheesehead tease: Wanted me to drive half of the way between my garage downtown and his office in Kenosha, Wisconsin, five hours after his call. He was supposed to quickly call back to settle on a parking lot in Gurnee to meet. He never called. I sense a trend.

- Broken-English emailer: Wants to see the car between 7 and 7:30. I waited in the car, bored out of my mind because I removed my iPod adapter and CDs during the painstaking cleaning process. No calls. Upon returning home, I get an email, timestamped 7:21, telling me he can't come. Thanks.

It's been three weeks and nobody has even seen the car. Today is the last day I have my garage space, so I'm giving in and bringing my car to CarMax, where they will make an offer 20% below what I should have got on the open market. But bar review is starting to seriously ramp up and I don't want to park outside and wash the car every time someone pretends to want to see the thing. It's good for the environment and the country that people are selling their cars and buying hybrids, taking transit or riding bikes, but $4 gas has made turned my car from a V6 beast with great acceleration and seat warmers to a white elephant mocking me as it gathers dust in its parking space. I'll try to comfort myself by thinking of it as taking one for the country.

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