How Buying A Car is Like Watching “The Bachelor/ette”

Chris Harrison accompanying "The Bachelorette" Jillian Harris to her next scene.

When the Bachelor/Bachelorette started all those years ago, I tuned in just out of curiosity. Well, that and because I went to college with the host Chris Harrison and wanted to check out his new project. Over the years, I have watched every season. Some were obviously better than others. I cried along with the fairytale of Trista finding her Prince Charming in Ryan. I laughed at Bob’s goofy antics but was pretty grossed out as he mugged down with every female in close proximity. I was bored to tears as Prince Personality searched for his princess. I wanted to gouge out my eardrums as Wes sang his “special love song” to Jillian for the 437th time. I screamed at Jake through my TV and begged him not to pick Vienna but he wouldn’t listen! Now, with Brad in his second turn as the bachelor, I am firmly hooked once again.

If you untangle yourself from all of the drama and take a step back, you will see that the Bachelor/ette concept is also a pretty interesting social experiment. During the Bachelorette, the men are certainly no angels. They remind me of the many National Geographic shows I’ve watched about animal behavior. You know the ones where the little tiny bird puffs up and swaggers around, his magnificent feathers on full display as he proudly and somewhat desperately struts around, trying to get the attention of the female.

But, the claws usually come out during the Bachelor because of so many women living together in one house. Some women just don’t play well with others. It never ceases to amaze me how the craziest girl in the house will slap on a smile and pretend to be perfectly normal when she is with the Bachelor. She’ll throw her head back, tossing her perfectly conditioned hair so that it catches optimal lighting, and laugh charmingly at all of his jokes. As soon as he leaves, her face contorts into something that looks like my Uncle Milton, her head spins around and she starts spewing pea soup and cursing someone’s mother. Yet, she can always miraculously pull it together when she is wooing the Bachelor.   I always thought it would be much better if they would let the prize in question (aka the Bachelor or Bachelorette) watch the footage of how the rose seekers act when he/she isn’t around. Wouldn’t that give them a much fairer shot at love?

"The Bachelor, 2011" poster.

Because I have worked in the financial industry for 13 years, it’s hard for me not to see how financial transactions correlate with other life situations like the Bachelor. My husband wants to buy a new car later this year and even though I know how to navigate through it, I still don’t look forward to dealing with the sales people, who sometimes strut around the car lot with their chests puffed out while they try to get us to notice one type of car or another. It definitely depends on the sales person. I’ve had great ones who I felt were just being straight shooters. I’ve had others that were just throwing their head back to laugh charmingly at all of my jokes so that I would sign on the dotted line.

Think of how much more interesting the Bachelor would be if it played out like this: He drives his Aston Martin to pick up adorable lil’ Becky Sue for their first date. As she sits smiling sweetly at him across the candlelit table, he pulls out a briefcase and says, “After reviewing your credit report, criminal history, traffic record, two months of bank statements, tax returns, Facebook photos, and STD test results, I have a few questions.”

The good news is that when I’m buying the car, I am the holder of the roses. My business is the prize and I want to be wooed. I will gather all of the information I can to make sure that we are committing to the deal of our dreams instead of one that may end up being a hellish nightmare. I have the chance to do my homework ahead of time so that I can get the best deal, unlike the poor Bachelor.

First, I’ll make sure we know exactly what we should be able to expect for Earl, our grey 2006 Mazda 6. That will help us decide whether to trade it in or sell it outright. Carmax will make us an offer that we can compare to the Kelly Blue Book value at www.kbb.com. Then we will check the local market to check the price of similar cars to know if we could get more by selling to a private party.

Next, I’ll go to our local credit union and get prequalified for financing before I ever set foot on the car lot. I will be assured that I can probably get somewhere around 4% interest on my loan. That way, when I get to the finance office, I can throw my head back and laugh wildly when they offer me 8% interest. Ha!

Then, I will whip out a printout from Kelly Blue Book of the value of the car we are buying to help me negotiate the price. Trust me when I say that my husband is already doing the research on exactly how much car he can get for our price point. He’s been doing car research since 2007.

Once I have all of these ducks in a row, I will read the entire finance contract before I sign it.  Wouldn’t the Bachelor be able to make a better decision if he got to read the disclaimers and fine print before he dropped to one knee? It has been said that the bold print giveth and the fine print taketh away. As a consumer, reading and comprehending the fine print gives me the power to make a well-informed buying decision.

If I play my cards right, car dealers will see what a “catch” I am and I will have them competing for my business. I am the holder of the roses and I won’t give one unless I’m sure I have uncovered all of the skeletons in this particular car deal’s closet. The Bachelor may not know what lurks beneath that pretty exterior, but when I am buying my car, I will know exactly what I am signing up for.

Now, I’m thinking I really need to contact Chris Harrison to share my ideas of how to shake things up next season…

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7 thoughts on “How Buying A Car is Like Watching “The Bachelor/ette””

  1. Wouldn’t it be easier if there were personal car shoppers for hire? In so many other large purchases there are personal assistants…like a real estate agent, attorney, even a golf pro. Why not partner with someone looking out for your best interest, coaching you and helping secure the best deal to meet your needs?!?! New career already….hummmm???????

  2. Great analogy! I thought you might discuss how men and women may be treated differently in the car buying process. Any tips? Maybe another article.

  3. Research, research, research! In buying a car, finding a mate, job hunting, house buying, or even something as simple as purchasing a game system. Hopefully Brad has a team of ABC producers that have already screened out the crazies…but if I were him, I’d like to do the research myself!

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