By on June 27, 2014

civic1

My brother-in-law’s 1997 Honda Civic took a vacation recently, and it only cost me about $700.

The customer who escorted the Civic to the humidity ridden swamps of Crystal Lakes, Florida, let’s call him, Mud, had already been financing a 2005 Ford Freestar from my dealership.

freestar

Some weeks he would pay on time. Other times, he would be late. The phone always worked though, and since the Freestar had been one of my unsellable cars of the past year, I was just happy to have the vehicle out there to what I hoped would be a good owner.

If only it were so.

One day, I got a call from Mud while his chain smoking soon-to-be pregnant ex-girlfriend was screaming at him in the background.

“Hello?”

“Steve, I’m returning the Freestar today. Me and Wildflower are splitting  and…. shut up! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!!”

“Aaahhh… that’s fine. Just call me back in a few.”

The few turned out to be a day.

“Hello?”

“Hey Steve. That  Civic you have on the lot. Can I exchange that with the Freestar and just make the same payment?”

Normally I say no to these things because the math doesn’t work out and, even if it does, exchange customers often get into the habit of delaying maintenance on their vehicles. Right around oil change time, these customers will come back to the lot and ask for an upgrade. What I do instead is tell them of a place a mile down the road where they can get the oil changed for $20. The cheap price has a surprisingly nice halo effect on the affordability of the vehicle they drive, and then I never hear from them until I start having payment issues.

freestar2

Mud wasn’t bad when it came to payments. But his ex-girlfriend’s smoking meant that the Freestar would need to have the interior detailed, and God knows what else.

“Bring the Freestar down and let me see what we can do.”

When I saw the platinum colored Freestar, I was both surprised and not surprised. The interior was still in decent shape. It had a faint smell of smoke, but not too bad. What did surprise me was a nice big dent on the driver’s door. That would cost some money to pop out along with the interior detail.

178,000 miles. When he had bought it from me it had all of 170,000. Or so I thought. This guy was driving close to 1,000 miles a week, and whatever I gave him, if I gave him anything, it needed to be able to handle that constant driving.

Thankfully, my brother-in-law’s Civic had more or less been overhauled before I got it. New belts, water pump, tensioner, plugs, wires, on and on. I did need to put four new tires on it, which turned out to cost only $233 thanks to my usual discount and a $100 gift card promo that the chain tire store was offering at the time.

I tried retailing the Civic for $3500, then $3300, and then $3000.

Nobody wanted it, and those that did just didn’t have the money. I had two kids in college and one older fellow tell me that they were going to get it in the next week, two weeks, when they got a settlement check, etc.

I didn’t care that much either way. Even though it was an unsellable car, I enjoyed driving thanks to my brother-in-law’s maintenance regimen. I knew it would eventually sell.

Then things started to get a bit, complicated. My sister-in-law mentioned to my wife, that my BIL hadn’t sold the vehicle for a lot of money, and that she thought it would get more than the $2000 I had paid for it.

When I hear things like this, I pretty much assume that this recent decision may not have been as smooth as I had initially thought.

I also couldn’t ask for nicer in-laws over the years. They have always been wonderful to me and my wife,  and I didn’t want anything that would cause hard feelings.  When their Camry’s engine blew up a couple years ago, I bought the vehicle for all of $500 with a very nice body and a perfect interior.   I replaced the engine with a JDM 2.0 four cylinder, financed it, had it voluntarily repoed in Denver (owner went out there and ran out of money). I then paid $750 for it to be delivered back to Atlanta, and sold it for $3000 cash which turned out to be my net profit.

I was thinking about selling the Freestar for cash, financing the Civic, and when I got my money back out of the Civic (about $2400), I would give my in-laws the profits. They had two young kids and I figured out this money, nine months from now, would be a perfect way to balance out their monthly daycare costs that I remember paying for back in my 30′s.

It was not meant to be. At least not when it came to Dirt, I mean, Mud. He was a pathological liar along with, what I would later found out, a serial impregnator. I should have taken the keys to the Freestar, shot him, and Jersey dumped his ass in Deliverance country.

Instead I took $305. $120 for what he owed on the Freestar, $120 as a payment cushion on the Civic, and $65 for the actual cost of the detail. I forgave the dent on the Freestar because, psychologically, if you do a nice favor for someone, they tend to be far less screwy with you in the future. However this isn’t always the case,  which is why I also asked him to give me the afternoon so that I can straighten it all out with my bank.

Well, the Bank of Steve has certain strict requirements. One of them is when you have a high-risk customer, you always put a GPS on that vehicle. Since I had initially planned on selling the Civic for cash, I had to take it to the mechanic shop so that we can put one in it. The cost of the unit is $129, and once we had three successful hits on the GPS, Mud got the keys.

Mud then took the car, went to Florida, and decided to play the BS game.

Instead of telling me the truth, that he had no job, he decided to tell me over the weeks, “I’ll get the money in on Tuesday.” Or, “I’ll be riding up to Georgia this weekend and I’ll get the money in and set up an automatic payment with Wells Fargo.” Every week was a new lie, a new excuse, and a new headache.

My policy with payments is relatively straight forward.

If you can’t pay me, then just tell me the truth.

If you can’t tell the truth, at least return my call.

If you can’t bother to return my calls over the course of three days, I’m going to get back my property.

And it is my property. Just because someone pays for the use of it, doesn’t mean they own it.

I get especially steamed when someone tells me, “It’s my car.” or “I already paid too much for it.” Hello? You don’t own my property. I am also not here to lecture you . My business is to provide for my wife and family and if you have some genuine catastrophic event that’s taken place, I’ll put the payments on a temporary hiatus. If you’re nice, I may even try to figure out a way to work off the balance with a side job related to your former work, so that you can become a long-term owner (and keeper) instead of a perpetual debtor.

Most of the time, I don’t want the car back. In the past I’ve had cleaning women do interior details. Small farmers pay me in chicken, eggs and tomatoes. I have even accepted lawnmower repairs, small generators, automotive repair work, assistance with transporting vehicles to and from the auctions, and  minor landscaping projects.

However in this case, I wanted the car back, big time. Last night the repo company scooped up the Civic that was suntanning in Lakeland, Florida. The old cost was $250 for the repo. $65 to transfer it to a nearby auction. $20 to mail the auction the keys so that it can be loaded onto a transport truck next Tuesday, and $275 to have it hauled back to my dealership.

I hope to see it on Thursday. From there it will likely need a $65 interior detail, and $42 to relist it on Autotrader and Craigslist.

So now I have another stickshift back on the lot. The Freestar sold for $3000 cash to a Latino family thanks to my posting the Craigslist ad in Spanish. By my calculations, this guy managed to do about 10,000 miles of driving for which I netted about $700. I got nailed by Mud, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wash myself of him and move forward to the next chapter in life.

 

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106 Comments on “Hammer Time: The $700 Repo...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Not sure about your inlaws. Sounds like they dropped hints indicating you short-changed them originally. If they thought they could have sold it for more elsewhere, they should have.

    But really great read anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Sellers remorse is a funny thing, especially when you resell something that you bought off family or a friend. I wouldn’t be as nice as Steve as 2K was a very fair offer.

  • avatar
    Banger

    You’re a good man, Mr. Lang. Probably too good for a lot of your customers, as a matter of fact.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    You are not inspiring confidence in a guy who just bought a stick shift Civic to flip in a few months…

  • avatar
    RHD

    Here in California, a stick-shift Civic would sell within hours, if not minutes, of being listed on Craigslist. It would be either commuted to death, or riced within an inch of its life.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Same deal here in Seattle. That civic would have sold within a day.

      Steve, you should buy those civics by the truckload and send them out west. Thar’s a fortune to be made out here, by golly!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    When I met my wife she ran a car lot. We took my Lincoln TC and a tow dolly on several repos. She normally arranged it so there weren’t confrontations. I guess despite the bravado involved I never felt very comfortable.

    The car lot actually belonged to my now stepson. His motto was the fastest way to get back on your feet is to miss my payment. He lived by that for a reason and Mud exemplifies the reason. You are obviously successful so I won’t insult you with advice. I needed to know you when my ex was screwing up my credit.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    a serial impregnator…

    Yeah why do the dumbest and most impoverished never have any trouble knocking anybody up? It makes me think Idiocracy will happen some day.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Who was the first (and so far, only) high school kid in my neighborhood to knock a girl up?

      The dumbest, white-trashiest one, of course!

      Sigh…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It never fails – I have a couple of smart, well-educated, married and stable friends who have been trying for YEARS to get pregnant, with no success, yet my idiot kid brother knocked up his girlfriend when he was 20 without even trying.

      And living in a city with more than a hint of white trash in it, the number of babies hauling babies around the streets never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I have NO doubt that any number of girls in my upper middle class suburban high school got pregnant – but it was “take care of” quietly. The poor have fewer options.

      I will never, ever, ever, sell a car to a relative again. For any price. Burned by idiot brother, of course.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The poor don’t have fewer options. Margaret Sanger set up her abattoirs to cull them. They see babies as something to give their meaningless secular lives meaning and the key to the entitlement casino.

        Want to know why the ‘smart, well-educated’ folks are having trouble conceiving? Feminism. Women are spending their peak child bearing years doing what they’ve been indoctrinated to do instead, something they’ve been conditioned so completely for that it over-writes any instinct for producing the healthy children they aborted in their 20s.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          I chose to support women’s rights over their traditional sentence to the role of brood mares.

          But I despise the encumbrance they become to a workplace if they chose to attempt both paths.

          Tragically, educated women are often guilted into that, like an MD I know.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Hey CJ, want to bet your religious convictions against my scientific principles that secular teens don’t have a higher rate of impregnation than religious ones? No? Then stop spewing untruthful noise.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          CJ
          “women are spending their peak child bearing years doing what they’ve been indoctrinated to do instead”

          Really? Or, you know, doing what they want to do or are naturally talented at instead of what someone else whose business it isn’t thinks they should be doing. I’ve got a lot more respect for the working woman’s point of view on this one to be honest. My wife is one of them, and she’s better at her job than I would be. She’s also quite capable of being a great mom at the same time. Our entire peer group follows the same formula…kids exist and yet both parents work.

          On the “having trouble conceiving” front…who exactly are you talking about? The tiny minority of women who give birth in their later 30′s? That would be my mother actually. She had two, both have survived to adulthood with college degrees and work productively so I’d have to assume her “instincts” survived the workplace intact.

          This particular talking point has a wholly political origin and was just recently revitalized on the right wing talk radio/tv circuit. It is not particularly relevant or accurate as these things go and in hindsight we will look back at it as a swing and a miss. If the Republicans have any sense it will disappear long before the next election cycle is in full swing. To sum up, it’s not a good look.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      @ PrincipalDan: Since they don’t work, they have plenty of time to screw around.

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      “It makes me think Idiocracy will happen some day.”
      SOMEday??

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/economix/2012/04/03/income-inequality-and-teenage-pregnancy/

      It seems that the issue is they feel that there is little chance of economic upward mobility so they might as well have the kid now.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      From what I’ve seen, it’s often the case that the woman (or little girl) is just as stupid as the man (or little boy) who impregnated her. Or, more often still, a complete idiot of a male meets a female who may not be the smartest or most-educated person, but she has some sense and a trajectory toward a successful, decent life. This female has had some trouble with relationships—and keeping them—and feels that there aren’t enough “good” men to go around. So she settles. Then she gets in bed with the idiot and *boom*…there’s Idiot Jr., and all of the missed child support and drama that comes with.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I may have been in the same position in 2001 had I too been malformed, uneducated, and without morals as my first true love certainly had been. Idiocy breeds idiocy. Correct one of the two sides of the coin as it were and you significantly reduce the possibilities.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m a little late to the party, but your echo my thoughts PrincipalDan. I see a three strikes law needed here, three strikes and you become a unic.

    • 0 avatar
      Southern Perspective

      I think that Idiocracy has already been our sad reality for quite some time now

    • 0 avatar
      Slow_Joe_Crow

      Cue the opening few minutes of Idiocracy.
      Apparently I was less original than I thought

    • 0 avatar
      Avatar77

      Someday? Look around! It’s here.

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    You’re being way too gracious with the inlaws. If she doesn’t like the price you paid them, she oughta buy it back and sell it herself. Simple.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Some of Steve’s clients sound like they moonlight as celebrities on Cops and Dog the Bounty Hunter.

  • avatar
    TheyBeRollin

    Steve: This is a remarkable story. You’re a saint for dealing with guys like this and for working with others that have fallen on hard times get back on their feet. It does raise an important question in my mind, though: How could he afford the fuel? We’re talking 750-800 a month for the two months with the Freestar, assuming 4k miles a month at 18mpg (roughly what he should have been seeing in the Freestar). Based on his driving habits, the Civic should have saved him more in gas money than you were asking for in payments. This guy sounds like a train wreck if he couldn’t manage his money well enough to exploit this screaming deal.

    How do you usually vet people like this? What percentage do you simply turn away? I imagine most of your customers are not the types with steady jobs/paychecks…

    What was it like before Selective Availability was discontinued and cell service so ubiquitous that you could track cars like this? How did you (or others) keep track of their property?

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      It is pretty easy to afford gas when you don’t make payments.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        I disagree. At roughly $4 a gallon, driving 4k miles a month is a sizable gas bill. Mud did 10k miles in about 2.5 months, 2 of which were in a Freestar (~18mpg) and he was somehow able to make payments that kept Steve happy enough that he was willing to trade that car up to the Civic (~32mpg). It just doesn’t add up to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Steven Lang

          You have the ratios wrong. 8 on the Windstar, 2 on the Civic. The 2k is an estimate since I have yet to see the car in person. Also, the Freestar was an 05 loaded model (170k w/ leather but no TV) and the Civic was a 97 EX model with 130k and mild cosmetics.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            That Civic would be perfect for my stepdaughter, who turns 16 in January. I’d be shocked if you still have it next spring, but I’ll check with you all the same. I’m trying to get rid of the Kia and go car-payment-free, but I’m gonna have to put numbers on paper to convince me lady that we need a long-term plan to get some financial breathing room.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Section 8 is a boon I suppose. Easy to tackle high gas payments and keep the dealer/bank happy when you don’t have to pay rent, pay for food, children’s necessities, etc. This is what happens here FWIW, I can’t speak for Florida.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I’ll tell you one truth I’ve learned: poor people ALWAYS have money. A poor person may not ever have a lot of money, but they are never broke.

        They never, ever do without:

        1) alcohol
        2) cigarettes
        3) loterry tickets
        4) cable tv
        5) drugs (if they are addicts)

        I bet if you went into Mud’s singlewide, you would have found the first 4, and possibly all five.

        They will find a way to get cash for their “needs” listed above, even if it’s stealing, dealing, or sucking richards. So he had money for gas. He had money to pay for the van, too. He just chose not to.

        Note: I used to work rent-to-own in the late 1990′s. I know Steve’s pain all too well, and we had to be the delivery guy AND the repo guy. The stories I could tell!!

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          I remember reading a story about a slumlord who half-joking said he was going to start selling drugs and cheap liquor to his tenants in place of rent, because while they NEVER had the rent, they ALWAYS has money for weed and Night Train.

        • 0 avatar

          And tattoos. They always seem to have money for ink.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            Yeah that’s a 21st century thing. Back in 1998 the American lower class wasn’t ink-addicted like they are now. I miss those days, to an extent.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            +1000

            You should see my idiot brother – like a circus freak, but he is $10K in debt for back child support. WTF??

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          Accurate. Further, at least 3/4 of the people we arrest are on multiple forms of government assistance. One guy, who we all hated to encounter because he could run like a jackrabbit (he’s since been killed) was on disability.

          I was just at a gathering of individuals who are the sort who stiffed Mr. Lang. They have the money for their grows and shine and the like…but stiff any legit creditor as a matter of habit.

        • 0 avatar
          readallover

          cigarrettes and cell phones

        • 0 avatar
          Phil in Englewood

          Don’t forget the tattoos…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Tell them, I enjoy such anecdotes.

        • 0 avatar
          greaseyknight

          I’d put a smartphone near the top of that list, they always have the money to spend on a nice fancy one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Especially phone. They don’t know where they’re gonna live – or the next time they might get some hours at work – but by damn they need that new iPhone. And they get it.

        • 0 avatar
          skor

          kvndoom, spoken like a guy who failed statistics 101. So you KNOW all poor people are like that, do you? Or maybe it’s the poor people who get caught up in the criminal justice system who are like that? The rest living lives of quiet desperation.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The other thing they do is spend tons of money at convenience stores. No money to get to the grocery store and buy proper food, but they’ll go get a 32oz Pepsi and some Snickers and pork rhinds instead, for the same cost as three days worth of food.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Reminds me of some of the slime balls that I have sold my own personal cars to. I keep my cars so long that only those types will answer the ads. I stopped selling my own personal cars. We traded in a 2000 Taurus with leather interior, sunroof, and only 72k miles (it was in perfect shape with all service records and the dealer didn’t even need to detail it) last year for a new CRV. If someone in our family needed it I would have given it to them because it was a very good car. We got $3,500 trade in and they sold it in less than a week for $6,900, but then the dealer provides the financing and they have to deal with the customer. I usually run the wheels off my vehicles, but my wife wanted a new car. I would rather junk my cars than put up with selling to someone like Mud. It is too bad there is not mandatory sterilization for low life like Mud, it would save the rest of us taxpayers a lot of money.

    • 0 avatar

      there was a drop in criminality which began around the time the first cohort born after abortion became legal got into their mid-teens.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Curious. Have a link by chance?

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          The Donohue-Levitt hypothesis that legalized abortion in the 70s caused the drop in crime in the late 80s and early 90s is discussed in the following article.
          http://freakonomics.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            A second competing hypothesis is that the decline in US crime rates coincided with the welfare reform movement of the 1990′s. Both theories are supported by the data, so it is difficult to tell whether one or the other or both are valid.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Wasn’t this also the first cohort that grew up mostly after lead was removed from gas?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Jeff S….After my last attempt to sell my wifes 2003 Jimmy I vowed “never again” The truck was in great shape,and the price was below dealer prices.

      I’m with you….Car dealing, is for car dealers.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        I had the truck listed for $4000 cerified and E tested. You wouldn’t believe some of the idiots that come out of the woodwork.

        I guy on the other side of Toronto with an old Dodge HD went out for a test, with a buyer.

        The Cops never did find the truck, but they did find his body.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      I don’t understand that fear of selling privately. As long as you don’t finance and they pay cash or with certified check, what could be the problem after the sale? Assuming you made a contract and listed all known deficiencies (like former accidents) they have a hard time coming after you.
      Especially for a car in good shape the dealer never gives you close to what you could get privately.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Jeff S: “It is too bad there is not mandatory sterilization for low life like Mud, it would save the rest of us taxpayers a lot of money.”

      You are filth.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Given you need a license to drive a car, I think you should have to get a license to breed. And part of it should be proving financial responsibility to support the child.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I had similar thoughts BUT such policies open up Pandora’s Box and could pave the way for a true dystopia.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            At least it would be a dystopia with a LOT fewer people in it.

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            And much higher quality people at that.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “And much higher quality people at that”

            The elitist in me can’t totally disagree. But I have to say, from what I’ve seen you post previously around here, you’re providing proof that exceptions exist to every rule.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Mankind is a strange, pathetic beast.

    We breed animals for greater positive traits – more strength, more intelligence and so on.

    But when it comes to ourselves we encourage, or more accurately DON’T DISCOURAGE, the breeding of the exact opposite.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-uneducated-outbreeding-intelligentsia-2to1,4282/

    • 0 avatar

      I would somewhat agree with the first statement, but I don’t know that breeding for intelligence would help. We are culturally driven as much as we are genetically driven, and we should be making human decency the sin qua non of our culture, but we don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        How are we ever going to do that when killing babies is considered a virtue by many?

        • 0 avatar
          koshchei

          Giving women control of when and how often she reproduces is the greatest driver in determining the wealth of a society, not appeasing your imaginary friend, who you’re scared will torture you for eternity you after you die.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @koshchei, yes, yes, yes. The goal of those who oppose abortion should be to make it safe, legal, and rare. Meaning that if there is wide availability of contraception and a goal to make every child a wanted child.

            Women do have to be given control because I’m sure MUD would have still f*&^ed wildflower if she was on the pill but there would be one less consequence involved for not only them but society.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            “Women’s health” and “reproductive rights” indeed.

            Genocide-scale mass-murder in the name of convenience is why I put Planned Parenthood above even the Soviet Union and the Communist Chinese on my list of evil bloodsoaked ideologies.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            @OneAlpha

            Dude, there are over 7 billion people in the world and a goodly share are heading to a bike trail near you. We’ll never do anything to stop them because they’re too useful to every elite.

            If it weren’t for Planned Parenthood and similar orgs it would already be worse.

            People Are The Problem

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Someone is confusing correlation with causation in order to justify mass murder. It seems to me that people like you are the best proof of the biblical narrative.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            You can’t be uncompromisingly pro-life and expect anything but the kind of rot consuming our Southwest after finishing off the rustbelt cities.

            Had my philosophy been applied to me while still a tadpole I wouldn’t be bloviating today.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Sorry, it’s not a “baby” until it can breath on its own. Or do you cry for all the poor removed appendixes out there too? Abortion bothers me about as much as a bowel movement.

          I’m also firmly of the opinion that if you don’t possess a vagina, you should not get a say in the matter.

          • 0 avatar

            If possessors of the aforementioned anatomical structures are the only ones who have a say in the matter, then logically and morally they should also be the only ones responsible for the consequences of using their vaginas. Do men have any reproductive rights and choices? Currently men are in a severely disadvantaged legal position regarding children. A child can be aborted or given up for adoption without the consent of the father, yet even in the case of fraud, with the mother lying either about contraception or who the true biological father of the child is, men are legally obligated to financially support a child that they may have had no interest in having in the first place.

          • 0 avatar

            Guys, I said to can it. Next violation receives a ban. Dead serious here.

          • 0 avatar

            Bark,

            My apologies. I was trying to address a broader topic but failed to make that distinction. Either way, gender politics are irrelevant to $700 repos. Mea culpa. Again, my apologies.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Nah, wait a minute.

            After a few hours of inward seething I’m gonna say Eff TTAC and hit the bricks.

            This is simple censorship to appease, I guess, some ultra religious Canadians who own a hosting company?

            o_O

            Had to suffer this sh1t in parochial school, but not n’more.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s not censorship. No posts have been removed. It’s called moderation, something which we have been quite light on in these parts lately.

            There are literally hundreds of places on the internet where a pro-choice v. pro-life debate can be had. This just isn’t the right place for it. It’s an inflammatory subject on which no new light can be shed, and, unlike many of the political discussions which occur here daily, has not even a tangential relationship to our site’s purpose.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        There’s no shame in being poor, but Mud’s problems aren’t about material poverty.

        Poor doesn’t mean “lacking in class or decency.” The guy’s just a dirtball.

        He’d be just as bad if he had Bill Gates’ bank account.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Bill Gates certainly pulls it off.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Yes, exactly.

          The guy who lives down the street from me who knocked a girl up isn’t poor. He’s just a f***ing idiot.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “There’s no shame in being poor”

          You’re joking, right?

          Billions of ad budget dollars and many thousands of supremely gifted people are working 24/7 to assure precisely that.

          This ain’t Father Flanagan’s America anymore. Americans are judged *solely* by what we gots.

          Unfortunately we’re falling back into an economy that the good Father would easily recognize. So, maximum pressure to buy stuff and no outlet for that pressure except plastic and assistance programs.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “we should be making human decency the sin qua non of our culture”

        The “we” who might be capable of taking that goal seriously in a world of talibans, North African boat people, vodka oligarchies and illegals being encouraged to stay in America, “we” are all on heart meds.

        Progressivism is so 1960.

    • 0 avatar
      koshchei

      Natural selection favours the most adaptive, not those with the most arbitrarily defined “positive” traits.

      People like “Mud” are merely a side-effect of the environment where they exist. To change things, you need to change the environment, so that it’s no longer possible to produce a “Mud”. The best way I can think of is to raise the quality of education there, by eliminating religious bullsh!t from schools, and increasing the funding to a level necessary to pay for a rigorous academic curriculum that encourages personal agency and innovation.

      People like “Mud” are lost, but their kids and grand-kids might not be.

      PS. You realize that The Onion is a satirical publication, right? Just checking.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        “The best way I can think of is to raise the quality of education there, by eliminating religious bullsh!t from schools, and increasing the funding to a level necessary to pay for a rigorous academic curriculum that encourages personal agency and innovation.”

        Just wow. Every possible form of religion has already been stomped out of schools for some time in the name of “seperation of church and state”; what do you think is still left?

        And we are left with amoral “pathological liars” and “serial impregnators” like Mud who place a burden on society with their string of fatherless children and unpaid debts. Vaccumed minds which are ripe for the next Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, or whatever dictator is depicted in your avitar to rise up and kill their millions in the name of the state, and leave the state in worst shape than before.

        I trust my “imaginary friend” with my welfare more than I do your “friends” with their machine guns and machetes. And I am less likely to cause you harm than them; unless my beliefs scare you more than they do.

    • 0 avatar

      Guys—can it on the Abortion talk. This isn’t the place for it. Thanks.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I forgot one thing.

    Have you ever noticed how in America, the guy who marries your sister or your daughter is always a useless fuck?

  • avatar
    StaysCrunchy

    I tried my hand at selling cars about 15 years ago, also at a small “buy here pay here” lot, and my boss was a lot like you. It always used to frustrate and anger me, because here he was doing all things for his customers that nobody else would ever do like fixing things that broke MONTHS after the sale, letting people skip or be late on payments, even going to their house and doing minor repairs on the cars if he had the time and knowledge to do the job. Yet it seemed like every customer, almost without exception, would screw him over at every opportunity. These same people who preach to anybody who’ll listen about how vile and dishonest used car salesmen are were doing things far worse than we’d ever dream of doing to them.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    I’m disappointed.
    With the end of my life not far away I find by reading the comments that I missed most of it.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I’m curious to the legality of the GPS tracker.

    • 0 avatar
      I've got a Jaaaaag

      Very legal, I used to be a PI and am well versed in vehicle GPS law. A lender can put on on a vehicle and must disable it the day the final payment is made. There are some disclosure rules.

      Now on the “Catch the cheating spouse” side of the coin if the car is considered “Marital Property” you can hire a third party through an attorney to put a self-contained GPS unit on it. Unless you have control of the car then you can do whatever you want.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I still want that Civic. Not many coupes at all of that vintage here in Norway, and definitely not in that condition. (most coupes were imported used from the US after ‘the Fast and the Furious, then they had VTI engines installed, and then rust killed them, or boost)

  • avatar

    Sad (in many ways deplorable) thread.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Marcelo, you are back!
    Have missed your posts since the World Cup started.

    I’m sure you will be able to regale us with many anecdotes -car oriented, of course- once its all over.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Steve you are truly a Man Among Men .

    Kudos to you .

    When I sold low end used cars it was ca$h & carry or GTFO .

    I hope this thread gets more used car stories , that’s right and proper ~ don’t kill it off with dogma guys , please .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    I like you, Steve. Your good karma will be returned.

  • avatar
    SayMyName

    Walk down a typical street in America, and take a good look at the people you see. Most will be normal and decent… but you’ll also see walking, breathing, and breeding human garbage like “Mud.”

    It isn’t very hard to identify the trash among us. There’s a lot more of them than there used to be, since we’ve made it incredibly easy to be a willfully nonproductive drain on society. Existence should be made much less tenable for this group.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Steve you are a good decent person who I would definitely do business with. There is a stereo type of the bad and crooked used car salesman. My first car I bought off of a used car lot and the owner was honest and forthright with me. The lot had a lot of high mileage late model used cars that had been company cars which were all priced very low. I did not want to spend a lot of money because I was getting ready to graduate from Baylor and needed to get a job first but I wanted a good late model car. I bought a 73 Chevelle DeLuxe that with over 90k miles in the Spring of 1975 for $1,400 which as the owner on the lot said it was the best car on the lot (he even replaced the cracked windshield with a new one which was not cheap because it had the built in radio antenna in the windshield). I drove the Chevelle for over 2 years and would have driven it longer but I had the new car bug. The Chevelle was one of the best running cars I ever owned.

  • avatar
    skor

    Steve I always enjoy reading your stories, and not because I get any perverse thrill from reading about the less fortunate that make up the bulk of your clientele. You tell the truth in a straight forward way, and I respect that.

    I find your stories both fascinating and horrifying in equal measures. Outside of some affluent areas, the kinds of people you write about seem to be the new normal. While people like your customers always existed, they were once a small minority. The middle class no longer seems to exist. It’s either people who are very well off, or people who are in survival mode. It’s a very different American now than when I was young.

  • avatar
    George B

    Interesting as always Steve. I’ve always been curious if you have more difficulty in finding good used cars or good customers? You’re very skilled and patient in sorting the good from the bad on both fronts.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I grew up on a large, buy here pay here in Missouri.

    My mother ran the office. My stepfather was a salesperson. My sister worked there for years. I had my first job there as a porter/lot boy.

    I used to play in the cars as a child, which is why I have this car infatuation that I do now.

    It seems that there’s certainly no shortage of basket cases with poor, poor financial habits dealing with used cars, ESPECIALLY if you do your own financing (I feel for you, bud). You must have thick skin if you’re going to play this game.

    Customers can’t pay then they get angry. They come to the window in the office and make threats. They get their car repo’d then they want to come raise hell.

    I remember as a young boy having to go down to the lot with my folks in the middle of the night because an angry customer went on a window smashing spree. Fun times.

    My favorite repossessions were the ones who couldn’t pay the monthly note, but could somehow manage to afford to stuff large chrome wheels on the vehicles and outfit them with expensive stereo systems. (I remember a green Mitsubishi Diamante which was repo’d, early 90′s model, that fit that description. Being all of 14 at the time, I thought that car, in all of its urban glory, was the epitome of cool.)


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