Leave Your Conscience in the Driveway

We just bought a new car.  A Prius.  Now we are officially a half-green family.  I say half-green because one of us still has an SUV.  But we got this at Carmax, and we’re so far very happy:  with the deal, with the car, with the financing.  But what to do with the old car?The Mitsubishi Eclipse with 225K miles on it and the original clutch.  It also has no air-conditioning, which is why we got rid of it.

I put it on Craigslist.org, and I was extremely careful to not glorify it in any way.  I listed the miles, the air-conditioning dilemma, asking $2300 and waited….about 10 minutes before the first call came in.  There were six calls in a row.  All young men.  All wanting to see the car.  I told the first one I would accept his $2K offer, but to wait until until my husband came home so he could test drive it.  “Not necessary,” he said.  He’ll take it. Please don’t sell it to anyone else.  He’ll come over now and look at it, pay for it, and then come back later to test drive it.  Well, I thought, this young man really wants this car “to get him to and from school,” as he said.

So he came with his dad, tried to talk me down some more on the price, and to change my mind about driving it and taking it NOW.  I stood firm.  The kid was very young.  I mentioned the original clutch again.  I said it would need one soon.  I also reminded him again that there was 225K miles on it. Did he know how to work on cars? Nothing deterred his lust for this car.

So I told the others I’d keep their numbers, in case it did not sell.  Alex was number two to call.  At three o’clock the young man and his dad came and got the car after a one-block test drive.  The dad tried again to renegotiate the price, but I mentioned the other calls. They left.  I worried.

All evening we talked about this.  Did we over charge?  Would the boy be caught on the freeway with a broken clutch?  Would he drive this sporty vehicle (which has tons of pep) too fast and be in a wreck?  Would this be the month that the car falls apart?  Did we take advantage?  But all our answers were the same.  It’s a good car.  We maintained it with regular oil changes and tire rotations, belt replacements, etc.  My husband drove it to work on Friday and there’s never been a serious problem, never an accident, and there were no recent problems.  It drives well.  The clutch is tight now.  It was a matter of paying thousands to replace the air-conditioner, an investment we were not interested in making.  So even though our consciences were clear, we still worried.  We’re honest people with a streak of humanity, especially when it comes to young men.

So this morning, the day after this sale, I get a call from Alex, caller number two.  He asks if the car is still for sale.  I tell him it’s sold.  He tells me it’s up on Craigslist for $3500.  I tell him it must be another car.  He says: “Another car, identical in appearance, with 225K and broken air-conditioning?”  I’m dumbfounded.  I open Craigslist.  There’s our car. “Runs like NEW.”  Broken air-conditioning, 225K, blah, blah, blah.  I keep blinking my eyes.

But here’s the best part.  I am free.  I am over the worry.  I don’t have to spend one more minute thinking that I’ve put this young man in a situation that would interfere with school or cost him money. We got a fair price. He got a good deal.  But why lie?  Why not tell me the truth so I don’t have to even think about his safety and well-being….like he’s somebody’s boy, which of course…he is.

Do I resent this?  No.  I applaud him/them for their guile, making money the old fashion way: lying.  The next owner of the car will still get the same car, and it is a good car, but will pay much more.  They have inadvertently done me a humongous favor.   Now it’s off my radar screen, and I am extremely thankful.  I’m off the hook. I won’t know who owns the car. I’ll sleep better tonight.

p.s.  In case you are wondering how I KNOW it’s my car…there’s a stain on the driver’s seat that, unlike doubt, will not wash out.


About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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