Car-Way Emptor


I have known for some time that I was going to have to buy a new car. This is somewhat more problematic on an island where everything is imported in that if you don’t want to wait three – six months to make a purchase while your vehicle meanders its way from South East Asia across the Pacific and eventually through the Panama Canal; you have to choose from cars that were picked by the dealer months ago and stored in a secure lot in the back of town.

When you inquire politely if you might see the car you are considering, if you are lucky you are initially given some vague story about it needing to be cleaned and told to come back in three days (more about this later), if you are unlucky you are told that not only do they not have a floor model, they have given away all the brochures and it will be three months until the next shipment arrives. If you really want one, you are then told to hand over a $1000 deposit and you will be contacted once your mystery purchase reaches the island.

In case I said that too fast … you are actually expected to purchase a vehicle you have NEVER laid eyes on.

Who would do this you ask?

I did once believe it or not. Then I went to a public multi-story car park and walked up and down the rows until I found a vehicle the same make, model and color as what I had agreed to purchase. Thankfully I really liked it when I finally got a look at it.

This time things went better … well at least to start. The dealer actually had a car in the showroom and I was actually allowed to sit in it. The dark grey one that I coveted was “not on view” but I knew better than to ask why by this point.

All cars sold in Bermuda spend close to six months at sea on a car ferry and are smothered in a quarter inch layer of industrial grade petroleum jelly to prevent corrosion and salt damage which then gets caked in soot from the car ferry smoke stacks enroute .

It takes at least a day to remove enough grease and grime to make any vehicle look like the brand new car that it is and the dealers have learned the hard way never to allow a customer to see what their new baby looks like when it first comes off the boat.

Another crazy quirk of car ownership on an island is that each household is only permitted to register one car. It does not matter how large the house, or how big the family – you get one car and the government is very serious about this. To license a new vehicle you must prove that you have either sold your old car, or (are you ready for it?) … had your old car cut in half and hauled to the landfill.

Yup – my ancient Suzuki is now an integral addition to the airport land reclamation project. Don’t ever say I haven’t done my part to give back to Bermuda (g).

There’s just one problem … I did not find out until 3:30 pm today that my bank had somehow failed to process my loan application, meaning that I technically can’t pick my new car up until at least Wednesday and my old one is … well in pieces!

I could lose my mind over this … or I could just shake my head in dismay and enjoy the sunshine … I’ll let you know how that works out … Namaste


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