Archive for July, 2015

“Will you take $750 for that 2013 BMW?” – Helping my teenager buy her first car

Car purchase - Emmy with carRecently I helped our younger teenage daughter, Emmy, purchase her first car. She had no idea how much used cars cost. I think she was hoping to afford a slightly used Lexus. What she got instead was a lesson in how much cars actually cost. Emmy hates it when I mention her by name in my blog, so I will just call her Miss Enthusiasm” – “M. E.” for short.

When we started this process, like a lot of young people, Emmy’s, I mean M. E.’s concept of buying a car was rather simplistic: You buy a Japanese luxury car on Craigslist from someone you’ve never heard of named Vinny for a few hundred dollars. Your only ongoing expense is the gasoline fill-ups required four times a year. Period, the end. More esoteric concepts like collision & liability insurance, vehicle registration, tire rotations, oil changes and other routine maintenance were vague abstractions that she had never quite grasped – mainly because she invariably tuned out my relentless attempts to explain the substantial ongoing costs of vehicle ownership. I apologize, M.E., for intruding upon your much more fascinating texting conversations with Haley on more important topics like whazzup.

When the time finally came for her to look for a car, I told M. E. I would contribute up to $3,000 towards the cost. Anything beyond that – including insurance was her responsibility. The only part I am sure she heard was the part of about me paying $3,000 – which is really all she needed to know, because she was pretty sure that figure would be enough to get her that brand new 2015 Lexus LS she saw on TV. I explained to her that cars cost a lot more than she imagined, so she reluctantly lowered her sights towards a used car – specifically the 2013 Lexus LS – ideally with the Bose surround-sound stereo system and the chrome wheel package. I could tell I was in for an exhausting couple of days.

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  • When it came time for me to get my license, my indulgent father said, "Oh, yeah? Pay the cost of…
    Drew Fisher
  • Published On Jul. 29, 2015 by TEJ
  • The joy of buying a new computer

    joy of a new computer - frustrated manI recently bought a new laptop because my old one was having problems. From my purchase experience, I want to pass along the following helpful piece of advice: NEVER EVER BUY A NEW COMPUTER.

    Limp along with your Apple Lisa for as long as you possibly can – because once you buy a new computer, your nightmares have just begun. The following is a 100% true retelling of my experience.

    I chose to shop at one of the major Big Box retailers. I will change their actual name in this column so as to protect their identity. I walked into WORST BUY, and the salesperson Brad was quite helpful. He directed me to a perfectly adequate laptop. It had keys with letters and numbers in exactly the right locations. He told me that it had a 1.33 gigahertz dual processor with 2 GB of memory, 32 GB of storage, and a Windows 8.1 64-bit something or other. I had no idea what he was talking about, but it came in blue. I like blue. So I bought it.

    Then I asked Brad if they could transfer all my data from my old computer to the new one – you know, email contacts, calendar appointments, embarrassing photos of my girls naked in the bathtub when they were two years old, saved so I could show them at their future weddings – you know, important files.

    For the very reasonable fee of $150, they could transfer it all. So I said “sure.” Brad then passed me over to their tech team, the name of which, again, out of respect for their privacy, I will disguise. After only a 20-minute wait, I was greeted cheerfully by a member of their Greek Squad team named Nick, who was extremely helpful and said the job would be done overnight. So when they finished the overnight job four days later, I returned to WORST BUY to pick up my new computer. When I got home, I discovered just how helpful they had actually been, and by “helpful” I mean they had somehow managed to lose ALL OF MY DATA.

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    • I beg to differ with Janice!!! Apples are great UNTIL something goes wrong....like the video card, which isn't really a…
      Shirley Freitas
  • Published On Jul. 13, 2015 by TEJ
  • The case against marriage equality for left-handed people

    Lefthanded - No left turnchartIt’s time patriotic, flag-waving Americans stand up for our God-given right to oppose any minority group that makes us feel slightly uncomfortable. The time is now to raise arms – and legs – against the moral decay of this once great land. Join me in opposing the misguided policy of marriage equality for left-handed people. As our forefathers would no doubt agree: WHAT’S RIGHT IS RIGHT! Therefore anything else must be wrong.

    Now, before you start getting all tied up in knots, I’m not saying that all left-handed people are bad. I’m just saying, why take the risk of letting them marry? If we do, the odds are their innocent children may grow up to be left-handed too. We need to stop this epidemic – for the children.

    I honestly don’t mind if someone is left-handed – just so long as they don’t behave left-handedly around me. Thankfully, southpaws represent only a tiny sliver of the American population – less than 11% of our nation’s 321 million people. So it’s not like we have to interact with their type on a daily basis – unless we are forced to leave home to get groceries.

    Have you ever met a left-handed person you really trusted? Me neither. And I should know. I’m married to one. There is no shortage of hysterical – I mean historical – reasons for treating left-handed people differently. Those reasons date back more than 2,000 years. In ancient Rome, the Latin word for “left” was sinistra. It’s where the modern term “sinister” comes from, which, according to Webster’s Dictionary, literally means “threatening or portending evil, harm, or trouble; ominous.”  The word “left” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word lyft, which means “weak”. The Dutch word for “left” is links, which also can be translated as “cunning, shifty or risky”. And the Dutch invented Dutch Chocolate, which I love. So if they don’t trust left-handed people, who am I to argue with the wisdom of people who wear wooden shoes and live below sea level, protected only by dikes?

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    • You've taken your handest bias too far. It's one thing to be anti-left-handed marriage, but to then fail to mention…
      Rey Carr
  • Published On Jul. 07, 2015 by TEJ