Modest Proposal: Retirement Home for Car Buyers

Posted on September 22, 2010


I am about to purchase what may be, at the very least, the penultimate car during my lifetime.  When I was a teenager, I was fortunate my father was an airman who collected cars, fixed them up and sold them.  He gave me an army green 1951 Mercury stick shift to learn on. It was a clean car but huge for little me.  The state of Florida would not let me drive it unless I sat on a pillow.  We could never get the trunk open so we took whatever (body?) was in it at the time of the sale.  Of course Dad handled the entire transaction.

“Wrap this car around a tree, put a dime in the phone, I’ll come get you and there will be no hard feelings” Dad said as he handed me the keys.  I handed him a mouthful of gravel from the drive as I learned to use a stick shift.  That car was so huge, one day I dragged home a young sapling from the church parking lot. That was just cause to go on to my next neat car, a stick shift little Chrysler convertible.

My graduation from high school and my safe entrance into a good college were just causes for me to graduate to a white Ford Thunderbird two-seat convertible, 1967.  It was  like a roller skate with an engine.  Only the Jaguar XK-E had a longer hood out front IMO.

Dad died and my brothers got mother to sign over the car to buy a Corvair convertible we three siblings could share.  You will remember that was the car Ralph Nader took off the road.  The wind picked up the front end of that car and sent my eldest brother and his girl sliding down the side of  a large hill in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

So much for my protection when Dad had died.  I saved and bought the first Ford Mustang.  I was my father’s own girl.  It was my first car purchase – one of many in which I was taken to the cleaners but selected the car of the moment.  I just wanted it over and the car salesmen knew that – especially since it is women who are this way.  Men will hang in there forever because it is one way to get out of doing the dishes or taking out the garbage.

OK GM et al. Build that retirement home for us automobile sales victims and “[we] will come.” I am weak from a lifetime of car sales transactions preceded by weeks of research . This time I got lucky. A  male colleague has offered to help.  Is this a mirage?  Is help REALLY on the way?  Can I accept the help without jeopardizing my independent woman status? And when it is all over, can I park it in front of my new condo in a retirement community for recovering car sales victims?  The automobile industry owes us that.  If you can’t do that, then count on a million old ladies who can’t afford to live anywhere driving RVs.  Think we sink below the wheel in a car?  And it will be exciting to see us go into reverse. Yes American car dealers, it would be a public safety measure if you would give us safe harbor.