All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Lot Lizards

Back in the day between undergrad and grad school I used to own a red Ford Escort. It was cheap, gas friendly, transportation. It was my first car that I bought on credit. It met its doom when a drunken Canadian slammed into the front wheel and totaled it out. After getting the insurance check I still had to pay 4 months worth of payments.

Lucky for me, mom and dad had an old piece of junk that they were willing to let me use. Secretly I think they were hoping I’d wreck it so they could buy a new one. Being 22 and driving the car that you used to drive at 16 can take its toll emotionally on a guy. After 6 months of driving the blue beater I was ready for some new wheels, any wheels. I NEEDED a car.

I should mention that I was working my way through school and my job at the time was selling vinyl replacement windows. If I was lucky I was making $200 a week take home. I needed a car dealer that would work with me and give me credit.

Enter Sundance Chevrolet. “write this down on the dust on your dash, we want to deal on an automobile with you”, “if we make a buck its shear luck” “easy financing”. Easy financing? I’m there.

So I went to the “Chevy ranch” i.e. lot lizard land with cowboy boots and knock off Stetsons.

The sales guy and showed me around. We found the only car on the place I could actually afford BOTH the payment and the insurance for, a Volkswagen Fox, 48,000 miles, not a lot of rust, and the vinyl seats weren’t in too bad of shape, about $2,800. (I got screwed, I know, brand new with tax title and extended warranty it didn’t cost $5 grand, I was 22). I counted out ten $100 dollar bills and started filling out the loan ap.

Then the sales manager showed up to “close the deal”, i.e. beat me up and screw me harder. He informed me that the car with taxes, title, dealership BS fees, etc would cost me $3,050. Then he started with the hard sell, the “T” close and a few other cheap tricks. I told him that I couldn’t afford a dime over $3,000. Two hours into the close he went for the “take away close”. For those of you who don’t know this is a trick that they use to pretend that they aren’t going to deal with you and start to slowly take the deal off the table so you think you can’t get the car. The plan is that you will see the $50 as no big deal and freak out that you might not get the car, so you’ll give in.

I didn’t. I was pissed off after the whole deal. I made the sales guy count my hundreds back to me, one at a time, putting each one of them in my hand, right in front of his sales manager. Then I turned to his boss and said, “one of us came in here today looking to deal on an automobile, it wasn’t you”. I walked out, back to the blue beater. Before I made it across the parking lot, the sales guy was barking at my heals about how he had just got off the phone with the owner of the dealership (lie), told him how big of a bind I was in (big lie), how the owner felt sorry for me (bigger lie), and how even though they were only making $78 bucks on the deal (huge freaking lot lizard lie that Satan himself would have blushed over), they would sell it to me for $3,000.

I bought the car.

Lessons learned:

Never buy a car on time, you get screwed.

Never tell a car dealer your needs and concerns, they’ll use it against you.

Never buy a car from a lot lizard, you can’t win at their game.

When you encounter a take away close, walk away as fast as you can and don’t get reroped into going back to the table.

I should have counter offered $1,500 for the car, I doubt they paid more than $500 for it when they bought it.

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