Whenever I need to purchase a big ticket item, like a new toaster, or a plastic storage bin (because that's about as big ticket as we get around our house), I do a lot of online research before making the actual purchase. I also ask everyone I know what they recommend and weigh that against what the world wide web has told me. And then after a lot of grappling, I finally make the purchase. But despite all the purchase preparation, it's almost a guarantee that I'll have some degree of buyer remorse and question if I bought the right thing, which wouldn't be so bad if all the questioning was in my head, but I do it out loud until I drive my husband crazy and have to just accept and welcome the purchase into my home to save my marriage.
Why don't I just take an item back to the store if I decide I don't like it? I used to be notorious for returning things (in college I bought the same VCR 3 times and returned it 3 times), and now that I've settled down and shop at the same stores, I'm afraid of being placed on a store's hit list for returning too many things. Like at Kohl's, where I brought back 6 items one by one until my receipt had so many cross outs and staples it wasn't recognizable any more. The disapproving frown I got from the salesman on my last return was enough to make me want to crawl out of the store with a Yes, I Know I'm A Loser sign hanging around my neck. I also got out of there as fast as I could because I was certain a manager was going to escort me to a back room to lecture me on my excessive returning (I could be wrong, but I swear the salesman was trying to secretly communicate with the person at the register next to him). So now that I'm afraid of returning things, I only do it in desperate circumstances, like if something is broken when I open the box. Or isn't the right color. The good that has come out of this, though, is that I usually end up deciding that I did make the right decision after all. It just takes about three weeks to get there.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that buying a CAR amplifies the whole purchase research process, and my paranoia, by about 1000%. A CAR. Well, a truck to be more specific. Gilberto needed a new truck for work, to replace the Tacoma that was stolen a year ago and found the next morning at a tow yard, nothing more than a black, charred, twisted metal frame (the Police think it was set on fire after being used in a crime). The Toyota Echo he's been driving just wasn't cutting it for him anymore. And he needed it quickly. Like, Hey-Laural, why-don't-you-go-out-and-buy-me-a-new-truck-before-this-weekend-or-I'll-have-to-pass-on-a-job quickly. When I realized he was being serious, I nearly had a heart attack. If I need weeks of research to back the purchase of a measly toaster, how on earth was I going to buy a truck in only a few days? God intervened and gave me an extra week, so four days and one week later, after extensive research on Toyota Tacoma pricing, I pulled Gilberto's new Ford F150 into a parking spot on our street. We had found a great 4th of July sale, and off I went then next morning to get it. I felt like I had made a really good buy, and we were all so excited! Probably no one more than the Ford dealer who had to do most of the transaction in the play room while listening to Daffy Duck save the world from Marvin the Maurading Martian and could sigh with relief when I drove off, never to return with Gabi again.
Fast forward two days, and this morning I started having the heart attack! And, as expected, major buyer's remorse. This is a big enough item that I wouldn't be afraid to return it, but you can't return a car!! What had I done? I turned my loyal back on Toyota and bought a Ford. A big huge V6 that will eat a lot of gas and will probably break down in a few years. It also didn't help that two people at work chewed me out for increasing my carbon footprint. I'm always one for evening the playing field, so I called my Uncle for a bit of support. He's a big Ford fan (and a great mechanic, which might come in handy), and made me feel quite a bit better. He said that the truck we bought is one of the best. Then I called my mom, who also helped lessen my panic by reminding me we can always trade it in a few years down the road. Ahh, a car buying return loop hole. I still wish we'd been able to buy the MUCH more expensive Tacoma, even though the payments would have killed us, but am deep breathing my way into accepting a Ford into the family. Just give me three weeks.