Hammer Time: Bumming A Ride

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I always tell folks that when I retire from my work as an auto auctioneer, I’ll be walking. They think I’m joking. Fat chance. I currently waste anywhere from ten to fifteen hours a week on the open road. Now given I’m not stuck in an office building or bathed underneath florescent lights. But all that road time is still about ten to fifteen percent of my waking hours inside a car. All that time. I’m on the radio, the phone. Just sitting. Driving. Passing the time. I could opt for far shorter commutes. But I have three nagging issues.

The first is my wife. She doesn’t want to move. Ever. She loves the house. Loves her friends (someone has to). Loves the neighbors. Also nearly every commercialized convenience is within five miles of us. So we’re not moving.

The second is my work. If I say no to driving, I say no to money. Believe it or not, I have friends who drive six hours to a sale and add 1200+ miles on their steads over the course of a week. Comparatively, my 500 mile a week diet is downright stingy with a Honda Insight that can do it all in a tankful. I have a family to care for so this ain’t changing… yet.

But here’s the real issue.

I’m a tightwad AND cultural misfit. Asking me to go shopping for crap I don’t need is the equivalent of putting a financial gun to my head. The last time I visited my mom and in-laws they dragged me kicking and screaming to Ikea. I proceeded to find a couch with display books nearby and just read for two hours. Then I talked the Ikea manager into letting me keep one of these books. A book about bankruptcy auctions out of all things, so I wouldn’t have to endure another worthless afternoon looking at crap in a Long Island mall.

After telling my family how cheap I can buy all these things at thrift stores and estate auctions in Georgia, I am officially on their ‘Do Not Call’ list as it pertains to shopping.

And there’s the issue. If I didn’t have a car I probably wouldn’t go anywhere. I would definitely consider a pickup game of basketball or softball. Perhaps a bit of time at the library or gardening. But I wouldn’t need a car. Screw that. I would bum rides and maybe even get a real job. Part-time of course. With very flexible hours. Hmmm… maybe I should just open another car lot.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • 50merc 50merc on Nov 18, 2009

    Mr. Lang, it sounds like you need a vacation.

  • Colinpolyps Colinpolyps on Nov 18, 2009

    Oh am I ever glad to hear I am not the only anti-Ikeadroid in the world. I hate following arrows like a lost herd of sheep finding their way home and then insult of all insults when I say I will go now and wait in the car, I cant find my way out. So I start backtracking against the arrows and some dinglenuttdoofberry sez he you can't go that way. Oh yeah watch me. Time before this she wants to get there for the friggin 99 cent breakfast so we stand in line and just as we get to the serving area---ding! Sorry folks the special is over. These retailers I am sure are the direct cause of alcoholism among husbands fanatical hanger shufflers. Strangely enough I don't mind going shopping in a pleasant atmosphere but I will be damned if I set foot in an Ikea again. I was just told to plan on going to Ikea this weekend. I wanna be a car auction guy and hang out with good ol boyz that can spit n' scratch their nutz. Ain't life grand

  • Dartdude Having the queen of nothing as the head of Dodge is a recipe for disaster. She hasn't done anything with Chrysler for 4 years, May as well fold up Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.