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What Are You Looking For?

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Recently, the car I was driving started costing me money, and not regular money, but ridiculous amounts of money. The car was past its prime, for many years, and was no longer worth the amount of money that was being poured into it.

So needless to say, I had to get myself a new car, or a car that was new to me, it didn’t matter. Upon approaching a salesman at the dealership and providing the required information, I was asked what I was looking for in my new car, and the question actually threw me off a bit. What features are important when the vehicle is a necessity?

For some people, when they purchase a new car, there is a lengthy list of things that must be part of their car in order for them to sign beside the X. However, for many of these people, the car is something they want and not something they need. When you’re in a situation of desperation, are the bells and whistles all that important? If so, how important are they? Would you turn down a great car, if some of the items from your list were missing?

There are typically two types of drivers; there is the driver who wants a new car as frequently as possible and there is the driver who will avoid a car payment at all costs. Whether you’re searching for a Used Jeep or a brand spanking new Audi, drivers who want to be in the new car are usually the ones that have an extensive list of must-haves in order to drive off the lot. When I got my new car I had three requirements; four doors, auxiliary input, and good gas mileage, but judging from the salesman’s face, I’m an anomaly. He kept asking if I was sure that I didn’t have any further requirements.

When you’ve spent years driving a car that is over ten years old, you don’t miss the little features and you spend more time missing the idea of being able to drive long distances without worrying. You spend more time worrying when you take the car in for an inspection than you do thinking about the things your car doesn’t have. Bluetooth, Keyless Entry, and heated seats don’t really matter when you run the risk of spending five hundred dollars every time the car makes a noise. Is this feeling, that is clearly true for me, true for everyone that is driving an older car?

If your car purchase comes from necessity rather than desire, are you willing to forego some of the features that you may enjoy? Is leather interior a must-have when your heat hasn’t worked for a year and a half? Are multiple cup holders a deal breaker if you have the same scratched CD jammed into the slot for three years? Everyone has a list of things they’d like to see if they ever got into a brand new car, but when it isn’t a theoretical discussion anymore, how many items are you willing to tick off that list?

A new car, or even a car that is simply new to you, is enjoyable and can be exhilarating, but you may have to let go of the things you think are important in order to make it happen when you don’t have a choice. In my particular case, my car was leaking oil, had lost the rearview mirror, had three broken off door handles, and hadn’t had air conditioning for three years, so the idea of push button start wasn’t of the utmost importance to me, but it’s pretty exciting that my new car has it.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, but it is also the mother of acceptance. We must accept that things aren’t always going to be perfect and tailored to our list of demands, especially when we no longer have a choice. However, are there people that will turn down a good deal and a great car if they’re not getting every single special feature they desire in that car? How much does needing a reliable car affect your decision-making process about what you can live without or does it impact your list at all?

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