“Did you know that the back window on the driver’s side doesn’t work?” said a prospective buyer last weekend.
I didn’t have power windows, I had powerless windows. If somebody were to buy the car, here is what I would suggest: Press the switch, wedge in a large screwdriver so you can jam in your fingertips and first knuckle and then grunt and press down with all your might.
Powerless windows didn’t jive with the ad I was running:
“The best $5,000 car you will ever own. Immaculate, gorgeous new leather upholstery, perfect shape. Engine purrs. Should run for years and years. 158,000 easy miles on it.”
From the description, you would have thought that the Lexus sedan was capable of flight. This wasn’t a car, it was transportation for the heaven bound.
There is no surer way of discovering what’s wrong with a car then putting it up for sale. When I took the car into Bob’s Auto Glass to fix the window and told him (not Bob; there is no Bob) the story, he pointed to a cream-colored Cadillac and laughed.
“He had the same problem with his window,” said not-Bob. “His is for sale too.”
Just fine at $4,999
When people call or text, I say this is the second-best car I’ve ever owned and that I’ve owned 20, which may be an exaggeration but it’s a nice round number. I say “second-best” because I want people to think I have given it some thought. The "best" car sounds like a story, “second-best” sounds sincere.
I priced the car at $4,999. Jim Gibbons, my old friend who used to run Jim Burke Ford, taught me that. Not $5,000, but $4,999, which sounds cheaper and sexier.
“Cheaper and sexier” hasn’t worked so far although I did get a couple of low-ball offers from the low-ball fishermen.
“Will you take $3,500 cash, right now,” one buyer said, the day after the ad was placed.
Cash? Do you think I’m taking a check? Think yard sale here.
I controlled my indignation and skillfully moved him to a higher price but a fair one. I told him if he could find a better car at that price he should buy it, advice I believe he may have taken because I never heard from him again.
I’ve spent the money 10 times already from deals that looked like sure things, but weren’t. I’ve thought about how crisp those $100 bills were going to feel in my hand. Those $100 bills went poof right before my greedy little eyes.
A few days later, I thought I had a live one. The niece of a friend from high school. First car, new driver, this car has a new driver written all over it. They brought the whole family over because buying a new car, when it’s your first car, is a big deal. There is ritual to observe. Memories to make.
All four of them piled into the car for a test drive and when they returned, the father told me the back window didn’t work and the new driver said she wanted a SUV because she preferred sitting higher up.
You and the rest of America. I might have to sell this car in Cuba. Somewhere where sitting low is still in style.
Prior to taping For Sale signs on the front and back windows, I went to the car wash and bought the $12 deluxe package, which included wax and rim polish rather than my usual, no frills $8 job where they barely use water.
The car looked beautiful the first weekend but when no one bought it, the birds started circling as if it were dead. I may have to buy one of those monthly passes at the car wash and use it on a daily basis or lie spread eagle on the car to blunt the onslaught.
The car is in the shop getting the back window fixed. That’s another $300. Nothing for the second-best car I’ve ever owned.