The Varney Tens

I am not the type of guy who needs the latest model of a vehicle every year but I do suffer from what is referred to by our clan as The Varney Tens. The Tens is a generic quirk of the males of my lineage to buy a new rig when our old one passes its decade milestone. The irritating impulse is as dependable as another inane squabble in our state legislature but far less expensive and has some logic to it. My first car-need itch struck as the tender age of 10 but was quelled by a serious dearth of funds (46 cents) and the fierce opposition of my father to my scam to try and convince the DMV that I was old enough for a learner’s permit. Dad understood the driving force which caused me to stand for hours drooling down the showcase window of the local car dealer. His empathy eventually resulted in enough chump-change chores being thrown my way that I was able to purchase my first set of wheels — a beater bike for 11 bucks plus a coveted decoder ring to a neighborhood mini thug who had probably ripped the junker off in the first place. It wasn’t the ride I had been fantasizing about but I considered myself a serious stud puppy styling around the streets and became even cooler six months later when I was able to buy brakes for it. The V-Ten urge continued through the years and I usually succumbed purchasing everything from rumbling hogs, butt draggin’ fire-breathing sport cars to four-wheel drive, sludge-sloggin’ utilities depending upon my vocation at the time. I have three years to go until the next attack but I still poke around dealer lots when I go to Anchorage. I shouldn’t do it. The prices on the type of vehicle I use now are between astronomical and &^%#@*’ ridiculous. Plus some of those ozone breathers actually have the audacity to slap on an “Additional Dealer Margin” of a few thousand bucks. One would have to have to suffer a major mental malfunction to even consider the obvious gouge. So, the other day I couldn’t stand it and asked a salesman why the add-on. This was his answer. “Why sir, this policy,” he said as if speaking to an obvious dolt, “enables us to offer much better trade-ins.” I was dumbfounded. “Ouch. Better for whom? Say you give someone an honest fair market value of $3,000 for their trade-in; that means he’s still gets whacked $700 over the sticker price so he’s given you his car for nothing. If he didn’t have a trade-in and paid the price you are asking then he’d lose not only the immediate depreciation for driving it off the lot, but the $3,700 too. The guy would have to have the IQ of a carton of cottage cheese.” “Well sir, business is business and we do have buyers. Have a nice day,” he quipped and scuttled off toward some hormone-pumped youngster staring at a behemoth with so many options that it looked like it needed to be put it on blocks just to keep its tires from going flat. It had repossession written all over it. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what’s on the showroom floor in 36 months and what kind of deals they are offering. And, I’ll be more cautious next time because I learned a valuable lesson the last time around. A normally reputable company promised my wife two years of free maintenance such as oil changes and system checks. The salesman guaranteed that she could have those tasks completed at a designated auto shop in our community. After all was said and done, they reneged on that so fast you would have thought it was a president’s campaign promise. Same thing happened with some warranty work that was required a few months later. One guy tells us to take it to a certain shop down here and then another says no way and that we have to bring it back to Anchorage. We are still waiting for a call back and probably will still be when the Tens hit again. By that time D.C. will have most likely proclaimed that we can’t buy any rigs that aren’t made out of Legos or recycled milk cartons and are powered contracting Slinky parts. So, that’ll make it easy to transition to the Twentys and hopefully a certain sales management staff will have quit and gone into politics. They’d be naturals at it. Nick can be reached at if he isn’t in Anchorage awarding performance wedgies at a well known car dealer.


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