Like millions of other people in this world, I have a long commute to work every day. I do it because I choose to live in a paradise nestled in the country about an hour away from my office in the city. But I love CBC Radio, so I enjoy my morning commute with Robyn Bresnehan (more recently Hallie Cotnam) and my afternoon drive with Allan Neal.
But when my 2000 Saturn kept breaking down (like when it puttered out on the highway in a snowstorm, as one example), it made for some stressful drives. Each time I got into the car, I said a little prayer that I’d make it to my destination, which was a little impressive, given that I’m not even religious. And being a 13 year-old six-cylinder, it was also a gas guzzler. And you may have noticed that gas isn’t getting any cheaper these days.
So early this summer, I embarked on one of life’s biggest challenges: car shopping. For car enthusiasts, this could be an inviting and even fun task. For people like me, it’s akin to rolling around on hot tar in your birthday suit. And it doesn’t help that I’m not the most educated person when it comes to the world of vehicles. For me they are red, black or silver, big, small, and maybe I’ll go so far as to say 2-door or 4-door.
My dad’s girlfriend was helpful in getting the ball really rolling on the search for a new car – she would send me links (and links and links!) to cars all over the web, more as a way of helping me find a starting point. It helped me a lot and though it was still a long, drawn-out and very daunting task, she really helped me zone in on what would be a good deal and a good car for me. I test drove a whack of cars – from Honda to Suzuki to Toyota. I had my heart set on a Honda, for I have such fond memories of the Honda I owned with my ex-husband…loved that car…and shed a wee tear when I had to hand her over to her final resting place at the scrap yard a few years ago.
But then a Honda salesman I had spoken to and visited on several occasions quoted me a “negotiable” price over the phone and when I walked in the door for our appointment the next morning, that price magically jumped by $500 and became non-negotiable. This left a bad taste in my mouth and I did not return.
So when a deal presented itself at a Toyota dealership down the street from my dad and his girlfriend in Montreal, well, it was a definite fit. The saleswoman was awesome – not the least bit slimy – and due to the fact that my car was brand new but had been returned by the buyer just 2 weeks after purchasing it because they wanted something smaller, I saved myself over $4000 on a 2013 Toyota Corolla.
Driving her home from Montreal that day in June, I was, of course, listening to CBC Radio and a local Ottawa band called Little Stella was being interviewed. They seemed like a cool crew and I liked their music – folksy and easy to listen to. I also thought it was kind of cool that this band made up of men called themselves “Little Stella”. It didn’t take me long to name my new cool car.
For the first time in several years, I don’t balk at driving my car more than I have to. Going to the Saturday market isn’t out of the question because I’m counting how much it will cost me in gas. Even an extra drive or two to the city here and there doesn’t make me seize with worry about when/if I will break down on the side of the road. Instead, I climb into my car with confidence and ease, turn on my radio, and even smile every time I have to fill it with gas (which is about once a week instead of twice a week).
Definitely worth the headache of car shopping.