Friday, February 6, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

Every time I buy a car, it seems that I end up at the dealership late at night. After walking around the lot, getting in and out of cars and then going on a couple of test drives, we find a car we actually like. Then we go into the office where the negotiations begin. The salesman, who apparently has no authority, leaves to "check" if he can give you the deal you want. This must be text book car sales techniques. You finally agree on a price and then meet with the finance guy. Suddenly the numbers aren't looking the same.

At this point it's like waiting in a ride at Disneyland for an hour and when you get to the front of the line you hear screaming and other strange noises. You would like to skip the ride and walk away, but you don't want to waste the time spent in line.

(Back to the car dealership). After signing the final papers, I soon feel buyers remorse. Why? I think it's because I felt manipulated into making a decision that will have an enormous impact on my personal finances.

My worst experience was buying an Expedition. The $9000 rebate was so enticing. The problem was the $4000 per year depreciation and the doubling of our gas bill. The later hurt even more as gas prices went through the roof.

This week, our U.S. Congress is contemplating an Economic Stimulus Package with a price tag of close to a trillion dollars, a million piles of a million dollars, or $1,000,000,000,000. I have emailed and called my Senators. I know both of my liberal senators are going to vote yes even if every single voter called them and asked them not to. A trillion dollar blank check is just too tempting. Will they have buyer's remorse? No, since they aren't paying for it. Will the tax payer have buyer's remorse? I know that I already do.

I read a very enlightening essay this week. It's by Frederic Bastiat, a Frenchman who lived in the early 1800s. The title of the essay is "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen". I recommend section V, "Public Works". Here's an excerpt:
Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.


1 comment:

Kenton W. Davis said...

Ron, I liked the way you connected your personal experience with "buyer's remorse" with the current political climate. Nice blog. I'll be back.