Luckily, we live in a country where cars are fairly inexpensive; where your average Joe Bloggs can, for just a few dollars, look at a car way out of his price bracket and pretend that he's a genuine customer.
There are three generally accepted practices for purchasing a car; the first is where the buyer enters into a private transaction with a seller. This is known as a private sale and is widely used when you wish to purchase a stolen vehicle or one that is about to be repossessed. The Second is an Auction where you get to bid for the car of your dreams, and, if you're extraordinarily unlucky, get to actually bid SUCCESSFULLY for it, you simple minded feeb. Not long thereafter your dreams are nightmares (like that one where you turn up to work with no clothes on and the rooms are shrinking and all those spiders are chasing you...) and that peice of "dirt" on the right front bumper turns out to be the only original peice of metal in the whole vehicle. The last way to buy a car is through a dealer, a strange creature, with the highest scruples money can buy, again and again, and it is him/her I intend to concentrate on.
How to buy a car from a dealer
Here's the basic scenario:
You park your car outside the Car Yard, that way the dealers are put in a good mood by thinking up jokes to tell you about that particular model if you seem undecided about buying an up-to-date joke. The dealer will let you browse around the cars until you pause for too long by one. The pause time is usually electronically measured in microseconds and rigidly enforced. As soon as you pause, Honest John will leap from behind you with the selling phrase "Nice set of wheels that, I've got one myself" It could be anything; that's why it's very important not to stop next to a telephone pole or rubbish tin, because poor Honest John might have to beat himself to death with a tyre lever. You then mutter something incomprehensible but positive and John will continue, "Yes, I've had mine for three years now, and nothing's gone wrong with it!!!" (This is, of course, because it's been sitting on the car yard for three years and no-one had been stupid enough to pause by it till you came along.) "And economical, why this little baby..." Honest John will burble along about how it was almost bought to power the next space mission except that it doesn't run on solid fuel, meanwhile you are doing the experienced car buyer things, kicking the wheels, tooting the horn, sitting in the seats listening to the smooth clunka-clunka of the engine - pretending you can recognise a burnt valve at 12 paces with a standing start.
Note: It is extremely important at this point to avoid nodding your head as this will constitute agreement to buy this and several other cars on the yard. Being an extremely experienced car buyer, I always wear a neck brace in case someone runs into the back of the car while I'm examining the vehicle for those important driving features that only an expert can detect (tooting the horn and seeing if the Radio has those neat lights that go up and down with the music) This way terrible misunderstandings are avoided.
What sort of dealer should you choose?
Always choose a Licensed Motor Vehicle Dealer, that way, if you have any complaints about your vehicle, you can take it to the licensing authority to do nothing about instead of the dealer to do less than nothing. Should the horror of a complete fraud come your way, the dealer may even lose his license, and have to be an unlicensed motor vehicle dealer, which as you know is a great strain on business.
How Dealers get their names:
Contrary to popular public opinion, Car Dealers don't just change their names to Honest John, Mad Dave etc; they have these names from birth. The usual birth scene goes something like:
Doctor: Did you see that, he went straight for my wallet! Nurse: Yes, and he's already got the Gyno's Gold Fob watch! Doctor: (turning to Mother) Commiserations, it's a used car dealer. Mother: Oh dear, and we were going to give him a normal name too... I suppose Fair Deal Fred will have to do...Yes, Used Car Dealers are a special and unique breed. Whereas Normal, everyday children get stories about good fairies, Goldilocks etc, The children of Used Car Dealers get stories about Little Old Ladies who go shopping once a week and never use their car otherwise, who live happily right up until they decide to trade their vehicle on a peice of chewing gum on the ground that they stopped for too long by.
The Buyers Rules
Don't stop by anything - Avoid getting blocked off by "Honest John"
If cornered, claim to be an income tax assessor or a Policeman, being taken to court for this is a small price to pay in comparison to being forced to listen to "John" ramble for 2 hours about the particular virtues of that make and model.
NEVER EVER say you know nothing about cars
If they try and corner you into a test drive, just mention your 78 driving offenses and your cateract operation OR that you've got heaps of time for a test drive, what with being on the unemployment benefit and waiting for those court convictions etc
UCS can smell fear and indecision, so be in control at all times. (I.e. "No, I think I want to take a look at that Camaro with the "BORN TO RUN DOWN PHONE BOOTHS" bumper sticker - Take that Corolla away and burn it!")
These are of course, basic guidelines, but it's important to remember as many of them as you can when you decide to use your own money to become wheeled. Good Luck. You car will self destruct in 1 day after the warranty expires...