Recently I have begun to consider buying a Prius. My car is getting to that point where things are going to start breaking down with regularity and I’m tired of spending so much on gas…speaking of gas, if your wife ever asks you what you want from Costco and you’re on a new health kick because your blood work came back with a computer generated note reading “you’re on borrowed time” don’t tell her “get me a healthy snack food” because she’ll come home with a full pallet load of Fiber One bars that, when you eat one, will make you fart hard enough to literally propel your office chair forward a measurable distance.
So I’ve been talking to everyone I know who has a Prius and researching the internet about them. I asked a guy at work about his and he said it’s fantastic and later followed up via email to tell me how buying an environmentally conscious car can allow me to be a better salesman because it will help me to forge an instant bond over political issues. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the only political statement I’m making is “I’m cheap”.
When I want to buy a car I basically search craigslist every day for weeks to get a feel for prices and what year and mileage I feel comfortable with at my price point. I’ve been doing this with Priuses for a while now and I know what I’m looking for. The only problem is that as gas prices started to spike, the market for used Priuses went out of whack and the only way to get one for blue book price was to buy one with a rebuilt or branded title. I’m not going to buy a previously totaled hybrid car I know nothing about so I’ve been patiently waiting for a good deal to come along.
That’s when it happened. One Wednesday afternoon when the insurance world was quiet I ran my typical search parameters on craigslist and the perfect one popped up. It was a 2006 for the price I wanted to pay, which immediately led me to believe it was previously totaled. I was shocked and excited to see that had not been totaled. It had 98,000 miles on it, which wasn’t ideal but was acceptable because I know these cars can go a few hundred thousand miles if you take care of them.
I sent the following email to the posting address…the person who posted the ad was named “Whitley” so I went with the personal touch:
“Hi Whitley, I’m looking for a Prius right now and yours seems to have everything I’m looking for. I wish it had a few less miles, but I would have to pay more for that. Are there any little nuisances or minor issues with the car? Pretty much all craigslist ads seem to read the same…great care, runs well…I’ve never owned a hybrid so I’m not great at knowing what questions to ask. I would be interested in taking a look at it this week if possible. Thanks, Keith.”
I received a reply not long after:
“It’s a good car. No issues that are not listed. Give me a call when you would like to look at it or if you have any questions. 503-310-XXXX. Thanks, Whitley Evans” (I added the XXXX so I’m not advertising anyone’s phone number on my blog).
Ok, sounds legit.
“I am unavailable tonight, but could come take a look/test drive tomorrow after work if that fits with your schedule. Let me know if that works. Keith (cell number)”
“Tomorrow night is fine. Give me a call when your free. I’m available all day.” (“your”…grrrrrr)
Awesome. The ad says this is in Gresham which isn’t far from me. I can head out there, fall in love with this car (because I’m already in love with the price) and buy this thing before the weekend.
The next day came and I thought I would cut out of the office a little early to go check this car out. I called the phone number and left a voicemail asking to come look at the car this afternoon. An hour went by, two hours, three hours. Hmmm….maybe this guy’s a flake. Oh well…you can’t throw a rock in the city of Portland without bouncing it off a Prius and having it ricochet off another Prius so no big deal.
I leave the office later that afternoon and head toward home. I’m not 2 minutes from the office when the phone rings. I look at the number and it starts 503-310 so I’m thinking it’s this dude, Whitley.
“This is Keith, how can I help you?” (it’s a work issued phone and it’s still technically business hours)
Young woman’s voice: “Paul?”
“No, this is Keith.”
“This isn’t Paul and I’m not your dad. Who is this?”
“Did someone call me from this number?”
“Are you selling a Prius by any chance?”
“Uhh…oh yeah! In fact I’m driving around in it right now! I’m sorry, my phone said my dad called me, that’s funny. I just told it to call him back and it called you. I thought you were my dad’s friend pulling a prank.”
“No prank here. Your email said you were available all day today. Can I still come out and see the car?”
“Uh, no. I’m busy today, but I’m available all day tomorrow. Text me when you’re available.”
“Ok, will do.”
Okay, that was a ditz. Did she really just drop a ‘who’s my daddy?’ on me??? I need to hit the Google machine to see if this is legit or not. Craigslist is a weird place and I don’t want to get jerked around. Well, Google didn’t have much to say. How about Facebook? Okay…here’s something. Here’s a Whitley Evans from Gresham…wait…Holy S. What the hell is this?
Ok, dude, is this legit or not? Apparently this Facebook account has been used when Whitley commented on some pregnancy Facebook site so I am led to believe it’s a working account. She’s describing herself as “Bomb Wife and Loving Mother” so it’s probably not one of those “come to my website to view the really good pictures” kind of deals. But seriously, why is this chick trying to seduce the camera with her cleavage as she’s sitting in the driver’s seat of the Prius I want to buy? It doesn’t add up, but I can’t think of how this could be a scheme so I’m still giving Whitley the benefit of the doubt.
So the next day I text, as instructed.
Yeah right…now you’re just screwing with me. Jerk…oh wait…I sent it to the wrong number. I was off by a single digit!
No reply. At this point the craigslist ad has been flagged for removal so I’m sure there’s no Prius for sale. Maybe Paul and Dad were really getting a kick out of the phone calls to Whitley’s phone. Who knows? The fact is I’m probably better off not test driving anyone’s car whose plunging neck line is that low. I’d hate to start giggling when asking about the front air bags. God forbid I can’t figure out the controls and I have to ask “how do I turn your headlights on?”
Enough…I’m still looking for a 2006ish Prius with 100,000 miles or less if you know anyone.