Goodbye Eric..


.. and Hello, er something that, other than sporting a colour change,appears to be exactly the same. Which isn’t entirely surprising when you consider the trauma my previous car buying experiences invoked.

Whereas with mountain bikes, the whole new ‘buying a frame‘ experience is extremely exciting, rigorously researched and pointlessly publicised*, cars leave me bored, uninterested and confused.

The ice cream van, we’ve owned for the last three years,has been quietly brilliant. Starts, stops, goes without any drama, fits us all in, keeps us warm and safe, and has a loud enough stereo to annoy the youngest two occupants.

So you can see my car purchasing criteria reads like a buyers guide from SAGA magazine. They do a Yeti in some kind of horrible beige with matching interior, but not even my middle aged predilections pushed me quite that far.

I didn’t even need a new car, but the company did. Based on the amount of business miles driven (lots) as compared to personal running about (not many), hiring a car through the medium of hire purchase became a fairly compelling financial choice.

So any car within some kind of sane fiscal constraints then. After about an hours desultory browsing, I found myself with no ideas other than to just buy another Yeti. A new one comes out next year, new engines are mooted for later this year. and there are loads more similar types of cars sold now. But I have enough trouble keeping up with the mountain bike gravy train, so I just stuck my order in and forgot about it for four months.

During which time, I’d also failed to remember why I’d chosen the tiny petrol engine over the mighty diesel, a complicated gearbox that removes the need to press anything to change gear, a whole set of expensive options, and even what colour it was.

The garage did better tho, they forgot where it was. Or to be more precise lost it completely. We had an email exchange that went something like:

Me: ‘So for the last month we’ve agreed I’m picking it up next week. Can you chuck a set of mats in please?’
Garage ‘Sure, your car’s here. We’ll get that sorted today’
Garage (one hour later). ‘Er, sorry your cars not here. We had a look for it. And it’s definitely not here’
Me ‘Where is it then?’
Garage ‘We don’t know’
Me ‘At least tell me which country it’s in then?’
Garage ‘We don’t know that either’

A few more electronic interactions whizzed past before a burst of short but unsustained joy when the car was discovered dock-side in Grimsby, or some such godforsaken northern port. However, while it’d had fallen off the ship, it hadn’t yet been collected, or even acknowledged by the transport company.

This went on for a while.

Finally this,morning through the blurry medium of smudged faxes (I didn’t even know there were two working fax machines left in the UK!), the garage received confirmation it might be turning up later this week. Assuming they don’t lose it again. And while I think I should be excited about receiving a brand new car that’s going to be living with us for three years**, I don’t really care.

I care that the previously enjoyed old one will be part of the painful and drawn-out process of dispatching it to a new owner. I care that my new bike isn’t going to get here before our early Spring France trip. I sort of care – in a ‘did I really just do that kind of way‘ – that I went for the little engine and no 4×4 and I’m stuck with it. But not really.

Anyway it’s goodbye to Eric and Hello to VX15 LEF which – based on the purchasing experience so far – must stand for Logical Existential Fallacy.

* even after buying more than 30. Still get a buzz out of it. I much prefer the smell of ‘fresh cardboard box’ than ‘fresh car smell’

** so like a bike. Only for 2 and 1/2 years longer. And obviously it’ll work out cheaper to run as well.

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