Your two cents: ‘Lazy’

Responding to my Oct. 16 column about parting with my 1999 Toyota Corolla, reader Robert Kiensler wrote in full:

Why do novice drivers feel obligated to write about their car neglect as if it’s anything more than being cheap and lazy? A mini will cost a pretty penny to repair and the Toyota will end up in the hands of an illegal alien. Any running car is worth double the money you gave it away for. Being uninitiated (lazy) lost you six hundred more out of pocket!

There are a lot of issues with Kiensler’s blast of negativity: How exactly am I a “novice driver”? Or “uninitiated”? “Car neglect”? My mechanic would disagree with that. And Kiensler couldn’t resist playing the illegal alien card. But let’s peer through the haze and look at his complaint.

WAS I lazy to part with my car for $650 to the dealer instead of selling it privately? Even if I could have gotten “double,” to my mind, another $650 may not have been worth the trouble of figuring out how to get two cars to my house, and then advertising the car and dealing/haggling with potential buyers.

But maybe that’s a lazy person’s thinking. What do you think?

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  • Cliff Hutson

    I think you handled it correctly.

  • John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

    I’ll grant that they have their motives, but one of the dealers put it this way – do YOU want to go into the business of being a car dealer for just a single car?

    • davidallen909

      Wow, I like that quote.

    • gailtang

      I like it too!

  • Rod L

    I would have sold the car myself in order to pocket an extra $650. That said, the last used car I sold was a huge pain in the butt. Scammers disconnected a wire under the hood to trigger the check engine light, then tried to lowball me on an offer because the “engine was bad.” After I ran off those crooks I had to take the car in for service to have wire reconnected and the engine light reset. On top of that, there was an extra half-day I had to spend at the mechanic while the eventual buyer had the car generally inspected. This in addition to the time and expense of placing ads, fielding phone calls, etc. On second thought, you probably did good selling to the dealer.

    • davidallen909

      Glad you came around to my point of view, ha ha. Yeah, that’s the sort of nightmare scenario I wanted to avoid. I’d like the extra dough — who wouldn’t? — but time is money too and that’s a lot of extra time to put in, not to mention aggravation.

  • Steve Adornetto

    If you feel good about the deal , then thats all that matters

  • Joanne Dallas

    Of course you can sell a car for more than a dealer will give. However, the time, hassle, and possible risks need to be factored into the process. You made the transfer and left the lot without complications. ( I’m glad you gave your ex a pat and took her picture as a keepsake before you drove away. )

    • davidallen909

      I liked cutting the cord as far as leaving without complications. And I’m glad I spent an extra couple of minutes, and took an extra couple of photos, too.

  • DebB

    I’ve actually done both: my first two cars I sold privately, the more recent two I traded in to the dealer. In all cases, the cars were so old that they weren’t worth all that much.

    My first car I sold to a missionary family I was introduced to at church. I later heard that within weeks of the sale, the transmission went bad and the people had to have it replaced. I felt pretty badly about it, even though I’d had no idea.

    In my most recent auto purchase, I made an offer to the dealer for the car I wanted, stuck to it for two hours, and finally tossed in my old car as a little bonus. As I said, it was too old to be worth much.

    • davidallen909

      Like Joni Mitchell, you’ve looked at life from both sides now. Ugh, I’d feel terrible too if I sold a car that soon developed a major problem — even more so if the sale was to a missionary family!

  • Doug Evans

    I’ll second the comment that I left on the original column that the hassle of selling a car private party is too much for me and not worth the extra $$ I might get out of it. The one time I tried, I spent a whole day (after waiting several days for someone to express an interest) running around the city getting the car lubed, oil changed, and eventually smogged, only to have the potential buyer stop returning my calls. I don’t mind that she changed her mind; I did mind that she wouldn’t just talk to me and let me know. I know that that experience is undoubtedly atypical, but who needs it? It’s not my personality to haggle, I don’t like waiting by the phone (or text, or however the kids are selling cars these day)… I’m sticking with the dealer from here on out. Good call, David!

    • davidallen909

      Better that the buyer not return your calls than to try to actively rip you off, as in Rod’s case!

      Interesting that most of you are against selling cars yourselves. Doesn’t mean that’s necessarily “right.” It might just show that my blog readers and I are equally “lazy”!

    • John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

      I sold a car privately once. Luckily for me, the buyer worked for Citrus Motors (which was on Holt at the time) and therefore was not only able to perform the work that the car needed, but also knew the legalities of selling a car in California. I don’t know that I made any more money in that case, but both parties were satisfied, and there were no problems afterwards.

      • John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

        I completely forgot – 20+ years later I sold a second car privately…to the owner of an auto repair shop. I think I’m slowly setting a trend…

  • Gavin

    Well…David, you’re polling people here for their two-cents of your character. That’s sampling bias. Many here are already partial to you as they’re fans of your column. It’s not the first time you air out unpleasant phone calls or responses in this blog — and invariably, there will be supporting comments to make you feel better. And I see that as you are putting your readers up in a position to assuage your wounds.

    • gailtang

      Nothing wrong with trying to feel better.

      • davidallen909

        Gavin, I don’t think I was hosting a referendum on my “character,” just on whether readers think selling a car privately is worth the time and effort. This isn’t meant as a poll, impartial or not. It’s just entertainment.

        I took the “Your Two Cents” idea and name from Wendy Leung and her former RC Now blog. She occasionally posted a nasty reader voice mail, call or email.

        Doing so gave the complainer a chance to be heard, but was more a way to entertain her readers by revealing the cranks, racists and rudeness we journalists sometimes encounter. That’s why I do it too. It can be a behind-the-scenes peek into life in the newsroom.

        T.J. Simers, in the LA Times, did something similar by compiling especially rude or clueless responses to his work, beginning those columns with the phrase, “These folks live among you.”

        Mr. Kiensler’s comments didn’t “wound” me. They were rudely expressed, but made me laugh. I take the supportive responses, here and in the earlier Your Two Cents entries (which have their own category on this blog), with a grain of salt, just as I do the complaints.

    • Doug Evans

      He’s not asking us to give our two-cents on his character; he’s asking us what we think of his decision. We might be partial to his column but that doesn’t mean we can’t call him out on a goofball decision, especially if he asks for our opinion. (It just so happens in my case I’m with him 100% on this one.) We can, however, be much more polite about it than original commenter was.

  • Bob House

    Better a “lazy” columnist than a paranoid (“illegal aliens”), ignorant ass-hat with too much time on his hands. To take the time to write to you at all to rant on this confirms the guy is a moron.

    • davidallen909

      Ha ha ha! I wouldn’t disagree. What a sourpuss that guy was.

  • Richard E Nunez

    I can’t believe you sold the 909 Mobile, what would Batman do without his Bat Mobile, or the Green Lantern with out his ring. I think you should of kept it and put it on display in front of your place of work. The life of the 909 Cape Crusader and left it as is. Just like you just came back from a life threating story, and have a couple of old donuts on the dash board. Yeah you could of made a good penny showing the 909 Mobile off maybe next time with this new car.

    • davidallen909

      Me: “To the 909 Mobile!”

      Ribbon: “Holy Corolla, Column-Man, the passenger door just fell off.”

  • Ramona

    One of the many problems with selling a used (much used?) car privately is that the transmission is likely to fall out 2 days into the deal.

    Then the new owner sues you for fraud and you find yourself appearing on The People”s Court or in front of Judge Judy defending yourself with the “sold as is” clause in private vehicle transfers of ownership.

    Ya did the right thing. We can’t put a price tag on stress and aggravation.

    I know a woman who shouts “Mini!!” whenever she sees one when she is out and about. Don’t know why, exactly, other than being a fan of the breed, I guess. If you should hear such a shout, don’t worry. She’s harmless. Irritating in so many ways but harmless.


    • davidallen909

      You’ve got me wondering if the woman in question answers to the name Ramona.

      • Ramona

        Nope. I try not to shout out stuff on the public streets other than a friendly greeting.

        But her name does start with an “R”.

        And if you run into her she will be irritating IRL, not just on the internets.

    • John E. Bredehoft (Empoprises)

      Ramona, now you have me imagining David on a daytime courtroom show.

      “What are those books that you brought with you, Mr. Allen? Legal books? Evidence?”

      “No, Your Honor, those are just the books that I’m reading this month.”

  • DebB

    Wow, you really stirred up a hornet’s nest! Certainly leaves no doubt as to how many blog readers you still have.

    • davidallen909

      Yeah, I was hoping for a few comments, but this worked out great!

      (A friend told me I should have taken Gavin’s comment and turned it into its own Your Two Cents post. Ha ha!)

      • Gavin

        David, you did ask people here, “What do you think?”

        Were you expecting to hear only the agreeable comments? And what you don’t like to hear, you are going to make an example of it. Really?

        So one can tell you the way he sees it, his two-cents, as long as those pennies are shiny. Okay, I get it.

        • davidallen909

          Oh, Gavin, you don’t get it at all, but I can’t force you to have a sense of humor or a sense of perspective. If, oh, twice a year I want to shame a rude name-caller, I don’t see the harm. And it’s my blog, after all. You’ve made your displeasure known. I’m sorry that as a regular reader and commenter, you have such a low opinion of me, but you’re always welcome here.

          • skidly104

            I think you are a little thin skinned, otherwise you would have just ignored the negative post. He really got to you eh?