Buying a used car gave me decision paralysis–how would I know the right one for me?
by Karen Burkhart — Posted on Mar 11, 2014
Will anyone show up to this party? I wondered, preparing for my guests. I was 25 years old, and had just moved to Langley, British Columbia to work for a non-profit organization. I’d knocked on doors earlier in the week, inviting neighbors to come over, hoping to make friends.
I needed to meet people here I could trust and rely on. My fruitless search for a used car was a perfect example of why.
The organization I worked for had let me borrow a car until I found one of my own, but that was proving more difficult than I thought. I had never bought one before, and was overwhelmed. The car needed to be affordable, reliable, have low mileage, be safe, fuel efficient, and–truth be told–had to be cute. Something that wouldn’t make me look like an old maid.
After paging through thousands of ads and visiting more car lots than I could count, I got no closer to making a decision. I knew nothing about cars–whether a newer car with higher mileage was better or worse than an older car with less mileage. Some sellers I spoke to seemed smarmy. How was I supposed to know who was being honest? I prayed for guidance in the right direction.
There was this one car, a little red coupe. The woman selling it worked two minutes from my job. I loved the color, and the price. I searched for rust, scratches, dents, even popped the hood and pretended to know what I was looking at. Nothing appeared missing. It definitely passed the cuteness test–it even had a sunroof.
Still, I didn’t trust my gut. I asked to think it over. The seller said okay, but warned me she’d had other inquiries. By now, I was sure, it had probably been sold to someone else. I sighed. The red coupe had seemed perfect, but due to my fickleness, I’d just have to trust that the Lord would guide me to the right car eventually.
For now, I hoped he’d guide me to a few friends. Fifteen minutes before my party began, I got a phone call from one of my neighbors. “I’m running late,” she said, “I’m bringing a friend who lives across town. Is that okay?” More the merrier, I told her.
The party had just started when my neighbor showed up at the door, friend in tow. For a moment, I wondered where I’d seen her friend before. Then I realized.
“I still have the car,” the little red coupe’s owner told me. “If you still want it, it’s yours.”
This time, I didn’t hesitate.