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Seeing as this week’s entry is something of a milestone (Blog #150, for those not keeping count – which I suspect is everyone apart from me), I thought I would treat you all to something a little different – an angry rant (yes, that was sarcasm). This week’s entry, is all about the stress of buying a new car.

Why do salesmen, dealerships and – in particular – car supermarkets, all like to pretend they are all making the purchase of your new motor as stress-free as possible, whilst actually making the process extremely stress-ful? I’m a lawyer, and even I think the constant bullshit they come out with is excessive.

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Along with moving home, changing jobs, and having a child, buying a new car is right up there on the ‘life’s most stressful experiences’ leaderboard. I have moved house and changed jobs a few times, and have gone through the ordeal of childbirth twice (yes, I know women have childbirth slightly worse than men, blah, blah, blah….); but as it is more than ten years since my last house move or job switch, and the chances of us having any more children are remote at best, the most recurrent life-stress in my foreseeable future is going to be changing cars.

Thinking about it, buying a new car is a little like having a baby:

  1. The whole process seems to take about nine months;
  2. When your bundle of joy arrives, you are overcome with love, and want to spend all your time with them;
  3. They smell really nice at first;
  4. After a few weeks, the novelty begins to wear off, they start to smell bad, and you realise how fucking expensive they are to maintain;
  5. It’ll probably be at least a couple of years before you get screwed again.

Having owned my current car for two years, and having witnessed the novelty wear off far sooner than with its predecessors (on account of the fact VWs are largely boring), I planned to upgrade once Christmas was over; but as soon as I started making enquiries, I knew the process was yet again going to be an unhappy one.

First of all, the part-exchange valuations I have been getting are disappointing to say the least (it’s like all the dealerships have met my children, and have – correctly – anticipated the damage they have caused to my car, both inside and out).

I am, however, realistic, and if all of the online valuations had been similar, I would have most likely accepted this, and adjusted my spending limit accordingly. Unfortunately, however, one particularly well-known car supermarket (for reasons which will become clear, I had better not mention Fords of Winsford by name), were quite a bit higher than everyone else, and I stupidly fell for it. What makes this even more irritating, is that it isn’t the first time this particular company have conned me, and I swore last time I would never go back there.

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Very much as a last resort, because I appeared to be getting nowhere with other car dealers locally, I searched the selection on Fords of Winsford’s website, and to my amazement the prices weren’t as ridiculous as I had found them in the past. I therefore assumed it would be the part-ex valuation for my car which would be the disappointment, but having completed their online form, I was pleasantly surprised – they were seemingly willing to offer around one thousand pounds more than anyone else.

To ensure this was completely accurate, I ‘modified’ the form, to correct some of the assumptions they had made about my VW: in particular, I told them that the bodywork was not perfect (thanks to a devious little bastard of a concrete pillar at Crewe County Court), that the MOT is due within six months, and that I do have a personalised number plate (although why this devalues my car is a mystery). I even over-inflated the current mileage, so that they couldn’t use this against me by the time I had driven the ten miles or so to their premises. In short, not a single bit of information on that form was anything other than accurate, yet the valuation was still coming out at £7,600 – £8,025. I was happy with that.

So, on Sunday, I braved the icy sleet and hailstones, and drove to Winsford, despite having more than a sneaking suspicion that it was a wasted trip. You see, I have bought two cars from Fords of Winsford in the past, neither was without its problems, and the few occasions I have been back there since, they have tried to screw me on the part-ex valuation. This time, however, I tried to convince myself that their online calculator was more detailed, and because I had been nothing but honest, there was no way they could fail to honour that bracket. Even if they offered me the lower end of the range, which they surely would (I’m not an idiot), it was still higher than every other company I had contacted.

I didn’t want to get my hopes up by looking at the range of Kugas on offer, and falling in love with one (the one advantage that car buying has over childbirth, is that you get to see what they look like before you commit to the deal), so I decided to make certain of the part-exchange before proceeding.

Having approached Grumpy Old Git at the entrance, and having been re-directed to Disinterested Young Girl at the main reception, I was told the waiting time for valuations was about twenty minutes. True to their word (the one time this happened in the entire visit), in just over fifteen minutes I was approached by Fat Salesman, who directed me to his ‘booth’ so that he could take some of my details down. I obliged, despite having already provided everything online that they needed to value my car, and I again made it clear that I had been very honest on their website, and expected the valuation to be within the quoted bracket.

If anything, I explained, their valuation did not take into account the recent improvements I had paid for (new tyres, cambelt, etc.), nor the Parrot phone system I had installed, and would gladly leave in the car (I neglected to mention that it is the single worst phone system ever invented).

Having gone through the motions, Fat Salesman took me over to my car, and explained we would now need to wait for Fat Engineer to come and give me an ‘exact’ valuation.

After another ten minute wait in the freezing cold, Fat Engineer waddled over, and spent a similar period inspecting my car, noting the scuff at the rear, reading the (full) service history, and laughing with Fat Salesman at the Stockport County sticker in the rear window (despite it being perfectly clear that neither had the first fucking clue about football).

Fat Salesman then pointed out to Fat Engineer that I had already received a valuation via their website (following which, the two shared a knowing smile, which did not go unnoticed), and Fat Engineer grimaced slightly – which I assumed was either his way of indicating I should prepare myself for disappointment, or else it was a build up of potentially fatal cholesterol – before wandering off.

Fat Salesman (who either had no concept of personal space, or was drawing me towards him by some kind of gravitational pull), then lead me back into the main showroom. After another ten minute wait for Fat Engineer to upload his valuation into their system – presumably the delay was down to his massive sausage fingers mistyping everything – Fat Salesman finally broke the news: their actual valuation was almost £1,000 lower than the bottom end of the bracket I had received online

I very politely – and slightly more eloquently – offered a ‘what the fuck?’ reaction, explaining for a third time about my honesty when filling in their online form, but all Fat Salesman could offer by way of an explanation, was that the website calculator was merely a guide, and it was Fat Engineer who provided the final figure.

I questioned whether their website valuation was therefore just made-up bullshit, designed to lure poor unsuspecting bastards to their showroom (presumably in the hope that, once they had travelled all the way there, they would reluctantly accept a sizeable deduction in valuation rather than leave empty-handed), but he had no answer to that. I therefore took his silence to mean ‘yes, that’s precisely what we’re doing, I can’t believe you figured us out’.

I was about to storm out, in anger at yet another wasted trip, but decided it was still worthwhile taking a look at some of their stock, if only to narrow down exactly what I wanted for my new car, even though I had no intention of buying it from them.

Having spent a further twenty minutes looking at a few cars (and making sure I trapped a particularly pungent fart in each and every one of them), I returned the keys to Woman-With-A-Face-Like-A-Bulldog-Chewing-A-Wasp, scribbled something offensive in the Stock List handout they had given me, replaced it on the pile, and then stormed out.

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My anger hadn’t subsided by the time I got home, so I made myself feel better by leaving as many negative reviews as I could muster (how very British), and was slightly comforted by the fact most of their recent online feedback was very similar.

I have since had a response from Fords of Winsford to one of my reviews, explaining (for the benefit of any potential customers reading it), that they have had some ‘teething trouble’ with their new online valuation service, and they regret my wasted trip, as that was certainly not their intention. All of which looks very reasonable to those reading, except for the fact FOW have done this to me twice in the past, long before their ‘new’ system was introduced. To rub salt into the wound, they have also e-mailed me three times since then (in the space of fourteen minutes), with precisely the same valuation. Yes, I get it, you’re lying fuckers, you don’t need to keep reminding me.

So, now I’m back to square one, hoping that somewhere out there I can find a genuine car salesman, who isn’t trying to screw everyone. After all, I’m a genuine lawyer, so I feel certain that – whilst rare – they must exist.

Either that, or I’ll keep this car forever.

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I Go Blogging In My Car

I now commute around 12,000 miles a year, and this means that I encounter more than my fair share of utter pillocks on the road (on an almost daily basis).

My hatred of (most) other road users, has got to the point where my wife is now convinced that I will soon perish in a road-related incident – either due to a driving-induced heart attack, or because someone bigger than me has caved my head in with a wing mirror, after I insinuated that they indulge in sexual relations with their own mother.

Please don’t think that I am one of those motorists who is permanently angry and aggressive (well, I kind of am, but not outwardly), as I view road rage as totally abhorrent, but my disdain for fellow drivers has got so extreme, that my wife fears I will shortly utter something totally regrettable, to someone totally regrettable, and this will be the end of me.

I have therefore decided to compromise with her, and I have made a conscious decision to no longer chastise those who are accidentally shit at driving.  Those road users who must have slept with the examiner to pass their test, because there is no way on God’s green earth, that they should be legally allowed behind the wheel. These people are dangerous, don’t get me wrong, but they are seemingly unaware of how poor a driver they are, and we have to hope that their incompetence only results in their own demise, and no one else’s.

That said, I refuse to back down on my hatred of drivers who deliberately behave like arseholes, as there is simply no excuse for it. True, these are the drivers who are far more likely to stave in my bonce with a wing mirror (because the other category will simply drive away, oblivious to the motoring torment they leave in their wake), but they need naming and shaming. If the good, considerate folk on the road – like myself – stick together, we can show them the error of their ways. Of course, they will probably ignore us, and continue being arseholes, but at least we can say we tried.

I have therefore decided to compile a definitive list, of the ten most detestable offences on the road (with the exception of actually killing someone, leaving the scene of an accident, or being in possession of a bicycle, as there is a special place in hell reserved for those folk).

It’s a countdown, so by all means play this in the background while you read:

10. Peekers

The most inoffensive motorists in my list (although still the most detestable humans to be placed at number 10 since Thatcher), are those people who, when faced with a queue of traffic, feel the need to move their car a couple of feet to the right, to try and discover what the reason is for the hold up, as if that will make the queue move faster.

Unless they are a doctor, and the reason for the delay is a medical emergency, then whatever they see up ahead, will make no difference to the speed at which they progress.

They may be inoffensive, but they’re still annoying.

Suggested Response: “What exactly did you expect to see?”

9. Nudgers

I understand that, if you have been trying to get out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, for a while, and there are no gaps in the traffic, it can be frustrating. But let us get one thing clear: sticking the front of your car out, to try and force me to stop, is only going to make me swerve around you elaborately, and hurl obscenities in your direction.

No one, in the history of motoring, has been faced with someone nudging their way into traffic, and thought ‘they’ve obviously been there a while, poor thing, so I’ll slam my brakes on and let them go.’ Your best chances of being let out, in that situation, are to not be a dickhead about it.

Suggested Response: “Stick it out any further, and I’ll take it off.”

8. Blockers

Having said that, if you are waiting to turn right out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, and the traffic you are trying to bisect is queuing, it is far more offensive for them to deliberately block your path, rather than let you out, when they are going nowhere themselves.

All they have to do, is bring their car to a standstill roughly ten feet earlier, and they can let you out, meaning that you can be on your way, they are no further back in their queue, and everyone goes home without being called a twat.

Suggested Response: “Well, thank you very much, you twat.”

7. Two-Space Parkers

Some people aren’t very good at parking, and get too close to the lines, I understand that. But no one, unless they have recently undergone some form of frontal lobotomy, can be so bad at parking that they take up two whole spaces, without being aware of their actions.

It’s making my blood boil just looking at these pictures (and far be it from me to point out they are all the same make of car).

Suggested Response (if there is someone in the car):

Suggested Response (if there is no one in the car): Wait for them to come back, then see above.

6. The Ungrateful

If someone does let you out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, or in any way allows you to proceed before them, it takes one second to acknowledge that act of kindness, with a silently-mouthed “thanks”, a quick raise of the hand, or, preferably, both. If it is dark, and they will not see your gratitude, then a quick flash of the lights will suffice.

If you simply drive away, without giving any thanks at all, then you are a despicable human being, who deserves to suffer many years of misery. May your socks be forever rotated, so that the heel part is near your ankle.

Suggested Response: “You’re fucking welcome.”

5. Privileged Space Stealers

I am well aware that disabled spaces are not solely for the physically disabled – at least, not to the extent that their disability is always obvious – so you should never question a driver’s right to park in a disabled space, purely because you cannot see anything outwardly ‘disabled’ about them.

However, you can often tell from the arrogant and selfish way in which the person has parked in the space, that they are anything but disabled. For example, I will wager that this Corvette owner is not disabled:

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Disabled people don’t tend to buy Corvettes and park like this. Dickheads buy Corvettes and park like this.

‘Disability’ is a broad umbrella, which covers many restrictions, but ‘stupidity’, ‘ugliness’ , and ‘wearing a tracksuit’ are not three of them.

There can be no such ambiguity when it comes to ‘parent and child’ spaces though. You either have a child with you, or you don’t. If you don’t, then don’t fucking park there. Simple.

Suggested Response:

4. Queue jumpers

There are two types of queue jumpers, and both are detestable scumbags.

The first, are those motorists who deliberately drive down an empty left or right turn only lane, knowing full well they need to be in the adjacent queue (with the decent, considerate drivers), only to cut in at the last possible moment.

The second, are motorway drivers who know they need to change lanes, either because their lane is closing, or because they need to exit the motorway, but they again speed alongside the queue, and cut across at the last second. Their justification, is no doubt that this eases congestion, but I would counter that argument with the following: fuck off.

Suggested response: Don’t let them in, and force them to turn left or right (as their lane dictates), or continue on the motorway – preferably into some form of barricade.

3. Refusing to Indicate

Not forgetting to indicate, because that happens to the best of us every once in a while, but drivers who consciously decide that they are above indicating. These people actually choose to ignore their indicators when turning, changing lanes, or negotiating a roundabout, in an attempt to deceive other motorists and cause an accident. There can be no other explanation for such obnoxious and inconsiderate behaviour, and anyone trying to deliberately cause a crash, should be jailed for attempted murder.

Suggested Response: “I’ll just guess what you’re planning to do, shall I?”

2. Tailgating

There is absolutely no need to drive so close to the rear of someone’s car that, if they brake suddenly for any reason, you will enter their boot with some velocity. It’s putting your life at risk, but more importantly, they may have shopping in the boot.

Tailgating

Whilst I don’t condone any of the driving offences in this list, I can at least see why some inconsiderate morons commit them (queue jumping gets you to your destination faster, parking in a disabled space gets you nearer to the shop, etc.), but there is literally no benefit to tailgating someone. If they are anything like me, your actions will only cause them to slow down even more, just to make a point.

Suggested response: “Get any nearer, and I might as well tow you. Back off!”

1. Using a Mobile

This makes me so angry, because there is absolutely no excuse for using your mobile phone whilst driving. Not only do a lot of modern cars have the technology for you to make and receive calls, but if your car doesn’t have this facility (mine doesn’t), then it is relatively inexpensive to have one fitted. Don’t buy the same one as me, obviously, as mine is utter shit, but it still just about enables me to make and receive calls, with some (limited) accuracy.

The bottom line is this: if your car does not have the capability to make and receive calls, and you can’t be arsed (or afford) to have a suitable system fitted, then the calls/texts can wait until you stop.

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Suggested response: “Get off your fucking phone!”

Middle-Raged Dad’s Final Thoughts

There you have it – my definitive guide to every arsehole on the road.

Yes, I am well aware that I could have simply condemned all BMW drivers, as they will commit at least six of the ten offences on a daily basis, but then my word count for this week’s entry would have been pitiful.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

 

 

 

 

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