Car shopping with teen is hell

Posted on January 17th, 2012

Photo copyright blackstock

I have been to hell. And I’m probably going there again. And quite possibly a third time. But I will be damned if I go there a fourth time. And where, you might ask, is my personal hell? Oh, that would be car shopping with a nearly 16-year old boy.

I told you it was hell.

Look, it’s a universal truth that nearly all 16-year old boys are filled with hormones and a dream. That dream has them driving a cool car into the school parking lot on their 16th birthday.  And they are so cool in their cool car that every single hot girl in the school flocks to their car and asks that oh-so-awesome boy to go to the movies. Or McDonald’s, which in our small town is the local teen hangout.

Sadly, that is dream that will not come true for my kid.

You see, Junior has to buy his own car. Yes, I know. We are the meanest parents on earth. I know this because for the past year, Junior has been telling me that. Anyway, since Junior has to buy his own car, he’s been saving for it since he was ten years old. And by his standards, the money he saved (several thousand dollars) is nothing to sneeze at.

Unfortunately, by cool car standards, he hasn’t quite saved enough.  And Junior learned this incredibly valuable lesson at the very first car lot. Because at that lot, sitting where everyone could see her, on a raised platform, was the coolest car on the planet.

She was silver. Not a cheap silver, but that expensive, wonderful silver that looks like mercury. She had tinted windows and a big shiny sticker that said ’09, and another one that said Z4. The sun reflected off of her sparkling paint and clean windows.  Her top was down, which I personally thought was a bit risqué for a family car dealership. Music was playing from her sound system; a system that Junior was positive would play his music loud and clear in the McDonald’s parking lot where all the hot girls would flock to Junior and his hot car. And on the hot car were the three initials known to cause heart palpitations in every 16-year old boy on the planet:

B. M. W.

Junior ran to her, much like those cheesy movies where the hero runs on the beach to the heroine and they meet and embrace and then everything fades to black because you know the two of them have found everlasting love. His arms were out. He was smiling. And Harry and I stood back and watched as our only child ran into the waiting arms of the new love of his life.

And then we patiently stood there when he screamed out, “OMG, is this the real price?”

And as gently as we could, we explained the first rule of car buying to our son. Only old guys with no hair, good jobs and excellent credit could afford cars that were only named with a letter and a number. In fact, despite the fact that Harry and I are clearly old, we cannot afford a BMW Z4. And then we explained the second rule of car buying: his entire life savings would only purchase something from the very back of the lot, where the cars are still shiny, mainly because the sun is glinting off the duct tape holding the car together.

And after Junior got over his shock, we went to the back of the lot where I found the car of my dreams for Junior. It was a Toyota Corolla. It still had shiny paint. There was no duct tape anywhere. It even had a spoiler and those stupid tiny tires teenage boys love. Best of all, it had so many airbags that when Junior got into his first accident, the car would turn into a travelling marshmallow, cushioning my only child.

And it was in his price range.

Sadly, it was deemed not cool, despite the idiotic tires. And so we moved on to another car lot. And another. And another. And we came home carless, which means I get to spend another weekend doing the same darned thing. Going to hell with a nearly 16-year-old boy.

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7 Responses to “Car shopping with teen is hell”

  1. Tuesdey Says:

    I so know what you mean. We are also one of the “meanest parents alive” making our child buy her own vehicle. My daughter refuses to purchase unless it is a 2010 Chevy Silverado. Unfortunately for her, the money she has saved would probably not even pay for the tax title and licensing here in Colorado. After sitting down and evaluating the amount of hours needed to work at the local movie theater, she has now turned to explaining the reasons using part of her collage savings would help in the long run. I can not wait until she realizes she must lower her idea of a first vehicle. Lol

  2. Laurie Says:

    @Tuesdey, LOL. These kids! They are nuts. Someone commented yesterday on my FB page that her child wanted a Range Rover. I was happy with the completely crappy car I drove. At least I had a car.

    I can’t wait until Junior realizes how much gas costs. That, too, will be a rude awakening :)

  3. Gina Says:

    Z4…. yes she is a siren and wooes many men and boys to her and even some of us gear head women. I think it is perfectly logical and responsible to have your children pay for their own cars. I had to buy mine from my parents. Yes, the third hand Ford tempo had to be bought from them before I could drive it. My brother and sister had to do the same- buy their vechiles from the parents or dealership before having the keys. We were responsible for gas, normal maintenance, and insurance for said cars. It taught us the value of working, money and responsibility. If we could not afford gas, insurance or the oil change, we could not drive. Poor Junior though, tell him it is better to have loved and lost her before he brought her home. Because the Z4 is an expensive mistress!!!! He wouldnt have enough money to go to McD’s or buy the pretty popular girls a McShake.

  4. et Says:

    HHMmm..I must have been the only teen dude NOT to want to drive….(had bigger plans.. like WORLD DOMINATION! Bwahaha..) now alot older(not saying) I didn’t start driving till I had to work. and even then, I was driving the old old family hand-me-down car…a toyota sumthin…all I know it the fastest it would go was like the speed of a 80-yr old grandma gunning it as fast as her legs could go( and this was WITH the gas pedal on max)…lol. Oh and had to be recharged evrynite like a cell otherwise the car wouldn’t start the next day…literally….sigh good times…Laurie does it make me old if after that one I wanted a volvo…?

  5. Laurie Says:

    @Gina, yes she is a siren, that shameful Z4. I’m not sure the kid thinks it’s better to have loved and lost…LOL. Harry had to buy his car too – and it wasn’t a cool one either. It was his mother’s ancient oldsmobile. Need I tell you that Harry is now leaning toward us putting in some money so Junior can get something cooler?

    @et – Yes, et, it makes you old if you wanted a Volvo :) LOL. Good luck with the World Domination thing :)

  6. Liz Says:

    I am one of the parents that bought their kid a car, it was an investment…in my sanity. I had at the time three children involved in everything. It worked out for us. Cars where always mine to take away. I picked what they drove.

  7. Laurie Says:

    @Liz, you make a great point. In fact, after seeing what is in Junior’s price range, hubby and I talked last night about making a contribution to the cause. We were doing it for safety, but there is the “take away” aspect as well. We realized we needed that car to last all the way through college so Junior wasn’t stuck with possible car payments while in school.

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