Monday, December 31, 2012

Used car hell, more Cliffisms, and that dog.

Spent the day car shopping. What a waste. I thought I did my homework, looking up several used vehicles on-line that were offered for sale by dealerships in Chantilly, VA, about 35 miles or so away. All were in the same area, in fact all were on the same road, so I should not have been as surprised as I was to find out that the "dealerships" were all small, one-room storefronts in the same industrial complex, basically all flipping a dozen or so auction junk vehicles. Every vehicle that I went to see turned out to be a POS, and the customer service from those places was ludicrous. Nothing like trying to look at an SUV that is parked in so tightly between other POS cars and trucks that you can't even get to it's doors while some guy in the "dealership" watches you out the window without ever bothering to come out to help you. So I'd go inside and wait while the guy talked to someone else on the phone for a while in some foreign language and then he'd hang up and introduce himself as "Paul" or "Kenny" or "James" even though I bet if I yelled "Hey Mohammed!", each and every one of them would have reflexively answered. Do they really think that if they adopt an American-sounding pseudonym that we'll trust them more as they attempt to peddle some piece of junk off on us? And I really got tired of pointing out dents and scratches and rips in the seats on these vehicles as proof that the vehicle wasn't taken care of very well only to be told in pidgin English: "No, no! Is excellent condition! Is excellent!"
Time and time again this was repeated at different places, until finally I caught myself answering them in their own broken-English dialect: "No! Is not excellent!"

I've never been to that mythical place in Afghanistan called the Khyber Pass where cheap, shoddy copies of small arms are created to be passed off as authentic antiques to tourists, but today I found the automotive equivalent on Pleasant Valley Road in Chantilly, VA, USA. There must be 50-60 so-called "car dealers" shoe-horned into four or five ex-warehouses, each of which sells junk that no respectable dealership would ever stand behind, all the while promising "is good, is good! Never have damage!" even as I'm rapping on the bondo that's covered by a half-assed bump-and-paint touch-up. I have honestly never seen a place quite like this and hope that I never see one again. It was kind of like this place--the "Going Out Of Business" store:

Now I've upped my price that I'm willing to spend, and I think I'll shop for a newer used vehicle than I'd planned on picking up. And from now on, at real dealerships.

Oh, and I forgot to add to yesterday's post the really neat instruction that Cliff gives his students on disarming bad guys.

Yep. He doesn't teach them what to do when their own gun jams, but he spends time on this stuff.

Apparently, per Cliff's students, if someone points an semi-auto pistol at you, all you have to do is hit it on the muzzle to knock it out of battery and then grip it tightly to keep it from firing. ("And even if it does fire, as long as you hold onto the slide when it does, it can't cycle...") Likewise with a revolver, just grab it around the cylinder and it won't be able to turn and fire, according to Cliff. Now I'm thinking that I might want to put together a short class of my own on weapon retention and immediate action drills/stoppages because these are nice people and they're likely to get hurt or killed--or sued if they survive--if they rely on what this guy taught them.

Anyway, all was well enough when I got home, and Murphy met me at the door with a toy which he dropped at my feet. I picked it up and threw it for him, and heard it hit what sounded like tin cans. Huh? What was what?

Sure enough, in my absence, Murphy had raided the recycling bin and relocated most of the empty cans from the kitchen to his little corner of the living room next to his dog bed.

Why me? Why can't I have a normal dog like everyone else?

Have a nice New Year's Eve, folks!


  1. I HATE shopping for cars. New and used. That is the best motivator I had for bringing back the '94 from totaled land.

    As to Murph? Can't help you there!

    Happy New Year to you and Murph. I have new toys to bring up there in the spring, any news on 340 Defense?

  2. I got my latest Focus from Carmax. It is no pressure and my experience has been enjoyable....for a car dealership anyway.

  3. My wife just got a new car to replace the one the tree fell on during Hurricane Sandy. Following the recommendations of friends, she went to some REAL dealerships, and made a decision within 4 hours, and she is thus far very happy with her SUV.

    And given some of the incidents I have witnessed firsthand with my (not yet at the time) wife's dog, and my sister's dog, and some dogs of childhood friends, as well as the plethora of anecdotes I have heard secondhand, Murphy's behavior with the empty cans seems quite normal.

    Wishing a Happy New Year to you and Murphy!

  4. Good luck with the car search... And Murphy, well, NO idea what to say there... Happy New Year to you both though!

  5. Just bought a car today from my next door neighbor. 97 toyota corolla for $750.00. The thing gets 30 mpg, and that is what is needed......My big ole Ford supercrew was a killin' me in the gas department.

  6. I do well off Craigslist. Rule #1. If the title isn't in the name of the person you are dealing with, don't buy it. Rule #2. If English is their second or third language, don't buy.

    Since you will probably be armed, you might bring the cash with you. Anybody else, make them drive with you to your bank/credit union.

    Maybe someone will take Murphy in trade - just saving.

  7. I used to know a guy who ran one of those places. Yeah... pass on those.

    Grab the gun and hang on? Hmm... I'm reminded of the old saying about a dog chasing a car not knowing what to do if he actually caught one :)

    Seems like better advice would have been pay attention and don't let someone with a gun get close enough to you where its an issue.

  8. Laugh at me all you want but CarMax is really easy and will match prices you find elsewhere. There is one off 28 by Dulles.
    I also like the service at Dulles Jeep kia in Leesburg. Don't know about sales but it might br worth checking out

  9. A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.