Episode 100 – Car Shopping


We share a couple car stories and then delve into the current status of buying cars. What should we look for in a car? New, used, or lease?




[00:00:02] Stephen: oh, okay. Okay. Okay. So go ahead. No, go finish your thought. We started talking some tech stuff, so let’s, we were gonna talk cars and tech anyway, and exactly travels. So go ahead. Continue your time. Yeah.

[00:00:13] Alan: So a little bit All the transitions that we’re going through.

Like we, one of the things we talked about in your talk today was things have changed drastically. So you, whatever skills I learned when I was a computer guy back in the late seventies, and then going to today, how much of that is just, I learned the underpinning of how to write a good programming and I learned enough computer languages so that I can write in Cobal and Fortran and P PL one and PLC and C plus, and C sharpen, all that stuff.

Expecting your Coball skills to come in handy nowadays is ridiculous unless you’re exactly in that situation where a big bank, big iron is still running Coball and their last good Coball programmer just got hit by the bus and they need someone to come in and [00:01:00] A lot of that is happening.

Not only in the computer field, so about cars, it used to be that mechanics were really good at, Hey, let’s listen to the car. Ooh. That is sounds like a carburetor or not now there’s no carburetors. There’s no, there’s nothing to hear. It’s all solid state. And yet there still has to be some.

Skill that you gain over the course of time. So that we’ve talked about troubleshooting before, you want to be like, I can make a good guess relatively quickly instead of just starting at a and going through to Z and every time that it’s a T problem, it’s man, I had to go through a, to S to get there.

Not if you’re better, not if you’re smarter at how to divide the solution space in half and do things, that’ll give you the most information quickly. You’ve been having car issues lately. Yeah. And are they diagnosable or is it like so many things are becoming, Hey, it’s broken, I’m gonna get a new one.

[00:01:51] Stephen: What I mean? Here, so here and we’ve all been. In this situation, probably most [00:02:00] of the people I know haven’t been fortunate enough to start at age 16 and buy a $40,000 new car every four years. That’s

[00:02:07] Alan: dependable

[00:02:08] Stephen: and yeah, exactly. We’ve all had the key. Yeah. And due to some circumstances, not.

My choice. I ended up with the worst car out of the whole family. Oh boy. Partly because I don’t drive it a lot, but partly be for other reasons, other people ended up with different cars. Yeah. So a car that’s not super wasn’t super well maintained before I got it. And it’s slowly been disintegrating so let me give you the problems with the car.

And this is different. This is a PT cruiser and it is so difficult. My serpentine belt was screeching and rubbing and it broke. And I could not. Get a new serpentine belt on there. I couldn’t even find where it went at first. You basically have to pull the whole engine to get the serpentine belt on

[00:02:57] Alan: boy.

That’s like the stereotype of bad things in order [00:03:00] to change the spark plugs, you gotta drop the transmission or whatever

[00:03:03] Stephen: It’s what? This is why I don’t like working. So my poor car. Last weekend. You’ve been traveling. I was traveling last weekend, so we’ve had travel going on.

So last weekend I drove to go camping. My car needs new headlights. That’s common. If I don’t have my brights on, I’ve only got one headlight. So di you know how that goes, you’ve had that issue. I’m sure. Okay. We’ve got a cracked windshield. Okay. And I,

[00:03:32] Alan: I got tickets, unfortunately the police will if they pull you over for anything, they’ll get you for all that stuff, unfortunately.

[00:03:38] Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I know. So it’s not, I don’t drive it a lot. Okay. And it does tend to start to overheat. It’s really weird. I think it’s got a leak and it’ll start to overheat and then go Bing and come back down. So I think it’s a combination of a leak and a thermostat issue. Okay. But it’s man, this car’s not worth a lot.

I don’t want to keep putting money into, even though money to keep it [00:04:00] running. Yeah. Even those little things. And then last week I got a flat. Driving Colin to work and the guy, I couldn’t get the spare tire down. He had to come and break it. It was so rusted on there. And then he goes, oh, that has too much rust.

I can’t legally put that on your car. And he said so I had to take the tire that had the puncture to go get plugged. And they said, he

[00:04:24] Alan: said of running on a spare. Exactly.

[00:04:26] Stephen: Almost. They said this tire is too worn and has some dry rot and in the rims too rusty, we can. Fix it legally. So I patched it myself and just yeah, cause I’m not driving it a lot.

I’m in looking for a car actively. Yeah. I just needed it to run for a week or two. Then coming back from my cousins I stopped to get gas and I looked down and the tire has a bulge in it. And I’m like 120 miles from home and I’m like, oh dear Lord, please hold

[00:04:59] Alan: [00:05:00] outside wall, please. Don’t

[00:05:01] Stephen: exactly, don’t blow.

Then I’m driving. It starts raining. And I know I need windshield wipers again. It’s. Common. I’m not saying the car’s falling apart cuz of windshield wipers they’re a little bit tricky there grabbing. Okay. Yeah. And it’s pouring buckets and eager. And then my windshield wiper goes zoom and flies off and I’m like, ah, So I pull over, run in the rain, hoping I’m not gonna get hit, get the windshield wiper, and I have to bend it and duct tape it to get it to hold on enough to stay awesome.

and duct tape doesn’t hold very well in buckets of rain, it will hold but not great. Oh my God. But we’re yet,

[00:05:40] Alan: you’re almost Steven. You’re a homo trying to put duct tape and,

[00:05:44] Stephen: and pipe cleaners and I turn the flashers off and the right blinker stays. It won’t flash. It won’t blink. It won’t do anything. It just stays lit solid.

[00:05:55] Alan: So all the rain, some kinda electrical problem. And until it dries out, you’ve got,

[00:05:59] Stephen: oh man. [00:06:00] So yeah, that was so then I’m down to one car in the house. So I was borrowing my mother’s car, but she had to take my father to the doctor. And that, you know how doctors go, especially with patients with a million problems, it took longer and I’m just like, oh, this is not, I need a car, and then of course work and everything’s been amped up with just tons of stuff. So it’s like everything

[00:06:23] Alan: colliding so that it’s not, you

[00:06:25] Stephen: know, okay. And then it’s a holiday weekend, but I’m working at the comic store this weekend. So I can’t go out and look at cars. So I’m just. I need de stricter.


[00:06:34] Alan: So that’s a nice segue into, yeah, you don’t have to go out looking at cars nowadays. I see ads and on, on the web, on TV all the time for, on your phone, on, on the screen, go to curb Carvana, you can find all kinds of things and they like drop it off at your front door, right? Yeah. They come up with the reverse haul away so you got a hybrid a couple years ago,

right? Yes. We now have two, so [00:07:00] we.

[00:07:00] Stephen: What was your process? Did you look online? Did you just go out or look at consumer reports and find it, and then just find the closest dealer? You know what, cause I know nerds, we like to research. We like to get every little detail finalized.

[00:07:13] Alan: Exactly. So it’s funny for the first one, the Prius C. I did do a lot of consumer reports and auto mags looking for, I was especially looking for dependable plus gas mileage. You know what I mean? I really wanted to kinda get off the gasoline treadmill and hybrids were the way to go.

And they had be, Prius’s had been out for 10 years now. So you knew that they were of quality consumer reports had one of those things where they’re one of the most reliable, not only in initial quality, but 10 years later they’re all still running and whatever they had. Talk about for hybrids changing out the battery pack that they were lasting longer than they thought that they would a good convenience happened or a coincidence better word.

Colleen and I we’ve been, we had been doing our seeing all the state [00:08:00] capitals type things, and we’d actually taken the trip down to Texas to see Texas and Oklahoma and Louisiana. And. We were cheap and got a Yas, a Toyota Yas. So it’s I barely fit in there, but I do. But that’s was exactly the same body type as a Prius C so I could buy a Prius C confident that it wasn’t gonna be, I’m eating my elbow.

I can’t get my foot, my leg past the firewall, whatever else it might be. Already thinking we wanted to do hybrids and checking into who’s got good ones. I’m a member of Costco and Costco has a great auto buying program. They get it down to the best deal with various different dealers, the proverbial $50 over dealers, invoice type things.

They really have done all the negotiation for you that you don’t have to worry about. I’ll see what I can do. Lemme go talk to my manager in the back. So we found. A local dealer that had this one a silver on the lot. [00:09:00] And it’s funny. A lot of people it’s like, what kind of car do you want?

I want red. It’s oh, there’s so much more to a car. They want flavor. It is. Can you please not do that? Colleen was okay about she had, she always had blue cars. She likes blue, but when we saw this was right available and we got a great deal. And the reason that it was all the research that we had been doing up till then was suddenly similar situation.

Absolutely time to do it. Colleen Saturn was sitting out on the street when a guy ran a light, smashed into a car that smashed into hers that smashed her car into the one behind. So her car was declared total. He really was caved in at both ends. And just so we really had to find a car quickly, cuz Colleen drives for a living with her job.

Right. All of that came together so that we knew the cars we wanted. We found this one for a really good price and pulled the trigger. And then the Prius C proved to be so good, so comfortable. So lo great gas mileage. So dependable, no problems [00:10:00] whatsoever. That then when we were looking Colleen also through her business has a program called doesn’t matter let’s Linberg or something like that, where you get all the depreciation of the car is covered by them taking care of a regular.

Allowance each month. So instead of you having to track mileage and all that kind of stuff, they just say, we’ll pay you this month, but you have to have a new and up to four year old car. Oh, wow. Okay. So after we had the Prius C for four years and had to get a new car, I was gonna replace my infinity.

By the way, I had an infinity I 30 T that was totally a Wednesday car. It lasted forever. Now I think I sold it with 245,000 miles on it. It really was a great car. And so when we’re looking at getting a replacement for that it was we really the Toyota Prius C but if we want to have one local car and one touring car, cuz we were still doing our driving vacations and stuff, we found it You actually went to the auto [00:11:00] show here in Cleveland.

I think it’s already passed this like February of each year. Yeah. We let ourselves I don’t know we were doing better monetarily. We’re like let’s go. And let’s see what we like. Let’s try them on for Colleen and I being rodents of unusual size I’m six foot three and 300 pounds and she’s five, zero, and like 110.

I shouldn’t say that lady. So

[00:11:23] Stephen: sorry. She weighs. I thought she was only 90. She, a


[00:11:28] Alan: paper. She’s like a little, she’s a piece of popcorn. So we found the new Prius fit both of us. And the Prius for the first 10 years was like, it looked kinda like a throat Lasage you know what I mean?

It was a. A big cylinder, the new one was, it looked much better, a little more sporty, a little more like a regular car, but still with all the right Prius stuff and even better. So we got then a full Prius and they, at one point they had the V was the wagon and the sea was the city and [00:12:00] had different versions.

And we’ve never regretted it. We’re now two PR. Owners. And each of them gets 50 to 60 miles a gallon all the time, and it had no problems whatsoever. Toyota. We took it to the dealer for all the various different maintenances until that was no longer the price ISNT always best if you stay with the dealer, but we have Conrads a big chain here in Cleveland that, that has all of its people trained in how to do all that kind of stuff.

And they do all the regular maintenance. So honestly, For all of how things can go your way, where a car really starts to be a hazard or a, at least an inconvenience we getting into this world of never a problem with the cars, good gas, mileage safety really high boy. It sure has been a P two piece of mind purchases that I will, I’m so happy with.

Probably aren’t. If the Prius C finally gets to the point [00:13:00] of fix or buy new, that it actually starts things start to fade away. We’ll probably go with another Prius though. A lot of places are catching up now. So we’ll, it will Subaru finally have a good hybrid because they’re another one of those places that like 92% of all Subarus are still on the road.

You know what I mean? They build some things to last, whereas you don’t wanna go down into. Every time I look at consumer reports and they have that whole chart of what’s reliable. It’s if anybody saw this chart, why in the world would you buy a Jeep? I don’t care how much you wanna be Mr.

Mr. Desert adventure or something like that. Your car’s a POS that can’t

[00:13:38] Stephen: can’t last more than 40,000 miles, but that’s actually interesting because we could probably do case studies on that. I. That’s a big difference right there between the geekery nerd mindset. Absolutely the general public or whatever the people that like are enthralled with watching the Kardashians and what happens on [00:14:00] reality TV like that, they’re the ones that

[00:14:02] Alan: buy all the crappy Buicks and crappy GMC, everything Chevrolet, everything.

[00:14:06] Stephen: Absolutely. That’s less important. Whereas. If I cars, many different items, heck even the coffee maker and stuff it’s okay, here’s five coffee makers and it’s within the price range I’m looking for. And here’s the features and oh, that one doesn’t do this, take it off the list, and it, I’m not looking at the brand. I’m not looking at I, I have things I want it to do and features. So where can I get that for a good price? And that’s how you know, with the cars and that’s where. Now in today’s role with the online, it’s so nice. They have Autotrader and and car guru and Carvana get a whole selection of cars from multiple dealers, all in one place exactly.

And figure out what you can

[00:14:48] Alan: really compare apples to apples, get what you want, not and I’ll boy. It’s funny, you and I have talked about how advertising is of the devil. It’s just they [00:15:00] so much found a way to make people make irrational decisions and especially about a car is most people’s second biggest purchase, the house and then the car. And they found a way to make a car like a fashion accessory, instead of it’s all about utility. It’s all about dependability. So whenever, and here’s something when I mentioned we were looking for a car, I had a number of people say, so you’re gonna buy American.

It’s man, for 40 years, that hasn’t been a concern for me. Ever since Detroit was taking advantage of every American by not offering its quality, not having better models, not having better gas mileage. And Nissan and Toyo Toyota Dotson Honda. They were eating our lunch because they kept making what a great car.

They made a car that was 93%. Everything worked just fine. It had all the options without them being extra. So I don’t have any loyalty to someone who’s actively trying to screw me because they’re gonna plan my

[00:15:54] Stephen: patriotism. You know what I mean? I don’t wanna go into the politics cuz we could rant and go on [00:16:00] politics for life.

But those people that say. Do they truly understand the state of the world? First of all, so many of our American car companies have built factories in other countries because it’s cheaper labor. So are you really getting an American car? You’re getting an American business, that’s using other countries so they can make a higher profit off the Americans.

Just wanna buy America. Number two, not all foreign cars are built in the foreign countries. BMW has a North Carolina plant. So if I buy a BMW, it’s going be that’s right. Manufactured and built in America. I can actually get a custom car and go down and watch it roll off the assembly line.

They’ll tell you when. Okay. So is. A German car, an American car, because the work is getting done in America. The company’s just in Germany, whereas afford the work’s getting done in Canada or Mexico is just the companies in America. So what are you really doing? You’re supporting corporations. Let’s [00:17:00] come on.

What’s wrong with corporations in America now? So well,

[00:17:04] Alan: another we started off saying how much things have changed in the last 40 years? Absolutely. The world of how to build a car, who does it, where do they do it? That’s totally transformed. And yet you get people echoing what their grumpy father said when they were at 16 and looking at their first car, don’t buy one of those rice burners.

It’s man I’m not buying a car so I can slap a flag, DEC decal on it. I’m doing it so I can get safety to work, make sure my wife is safe, make sure my children car,

[00:17:33] Stephen: And like you said, with the Jeeps low end that their go fall apart. Okay. What you’re really doing is you’re supporting all the auto mechanics and auto stores that’s pretty American right there, so good for you.

You’re spending more money. To help that okay. I’ll go with

[00:17:49] Alan: you. I’ll tell you one of the few things that might get us to break away from Prius’s and Toyota is because Teslas are a great car. The fact that someone actually took on kinda like we have [00:18:00] a two party system we have two big auto manufacturers and then a whole bunch of other smaller or foreign imports and a number of attempts at making like AMC tried.

And we can start naming the companies that kind of either got acquired or that died. Having said that Tesla found the key. You know what I mean? If you make it so that every part is solid state and really works well. And the software that runs, it keeps getting updated. So your car actually gets better and better over time instead of being locked in at what you got when you got it.

I’m really tempted by them. They were the one that when consumer reports rated them hundred perfect, they had to recalibrate their auto rating things because Tesla had topped out and they had to make room for improvement and stuff like that. Nice. As compared to Volkswagen, who actually were proven to be the guys that were put, they wrote software to defeat our emissions control testing.

They actually like, we don’t really, we don’t want to be subject to your . Wow. Checking on [00:19:00] whether your car is putting out too much pollution or not. So they actually, how many people had to say yes to get the software team, to make it so that when it detects that it’s on the the treadmills that you put cars on to check it, we’re gonna have a special mode.

It goes into. That defeats that, and I’ll never buy a VW. Wow. Corporate evil at the highest fricking level, so I don’t know. I’m sure that there’s any number of horror stories we can go into from here. Yeah. But at least about cars it sure seems that there’s good new information. There’s all kinds of places to get that information about the quality of the car and of the pricing for the car.

And maybe that’s one of those things where instead of. Backroom dealing, you actually can get real capitalism direct comparison as to what you’re looking for and what the prices are. And you make the choice not you get bamboozled into making well,

[00:19:51] Stephen: I honestly. I do not think I’ve ever bought and owned a brand new roll it off.

The lot [00:20:00] car I have gotten used my whole life. Sometimes it was necessity. Oh my God. My car broke down. I need one immediately. Here’s how much I have and I can afford. Okay, great. I got that. Yeah. But a lot of times I just, I can’t. Fathom walking in with this, oh look, $25,000 car. $450 a month payments for five, six years.

Now they’re seven to 10 years. When our cars only go last, you six. We saw truck ads for $91,000 on TV. We didn’t did we rag about that just a few weeks ago? Yeah. Yeah. Oh man.

right. It’s I’m not buying a Ferrari I’m buying on and the minute you drive it off the lot. It’s not worth 90.

If you get an accident, if you buy a brand new car, $20,000 car, and you put two down, three down, five, whatever, and you drive it off the lot. That car is really only worth 14,000. Once it’s purchased the appreciation immediately kicks in. If you get [00:21:00] hit and they total the car. You’re $20,000 loan.

You’re only go get 14,000 from the insurance. Yeah. Why would I do that? That makes no sense to me. I can go get a two or three years used car for 10,000 less. And if it gets totaled immediately, I still might owe a little bit, but it’s a couple hundred as opposed to. 10,000, yeah. That’s one of the great things that happened in our lifetime was that they started to have it.

[00:21:24] Alan: Wasn’t just a matter of, Hey, I’m gonna buy it for my uncle and he kept it in pretty good conditions. So I hope that makes it good. They started to have places that really did the hundred point check that would say you’re buying it. And it really is gently used it. Really the previous owner.

Eight, the first $15,000 worth of depreciation. So even though you’re buying a car with 10, 20,000 miles on it, it’s still got 80, it’s still got 80,000 miles for you to drive it. Consumer reports has recommended that for a long time, like right here are the best cars for 2, 3, 5, 10, $20,000. And if. You get it checked and that it only has had that first amount of use and wasn’t [00:22:00] in a flood and wasn’t, you know what I mean?

It didn’t have all the things that could be weirdly concealed. You can get a great car and save yourself 10, $20,000. Yeah. Because somebody else that wanted the new car smell, they paid that premium. You don’t have to pay that premium. So we did it for the Prius’s because we had to meet Colleen’s program restrictions and sing.

I guess I have bought a couple new cars because I did the research and knew that if I bought this car and held down to it, I’m gonna get a hundred, hundred 50,000 miles out of this. The cost per year will even out over the course of time. If I take care of it. And of course I change my oil and of course I check my, all the perishables, if you will and my struts and brakes and all that kind of stuff.

[00:22:44] Stephen: Anyway. So I’ve gotten a couple fleet cars where some company. Had it, and it’s got 10 or 15,000 miles on it. It’s two or three years old, but you can easily get the records with Carfax nowadays. And see, they change the oil, they change the oil, they got [00:23:00] new struts, they got brakes and see all of that.

It shows accidents fleet vehicles. I like, because they’re usually well maintained and they get rid of ’em early. So you get a good deal on it. And I’ve had very good success. You gotta watch sometimes the car companies, cuz if it wasn’t an accident, they’ll try and keep. And hidden or, and then the worst part is they you know what why don’t we like we can do the financing look $101 a month.

Yeah, but that’s for 27 years, I can’t . So they try and trick you with that. And that’s the new nerdy way of doing it, where you look online and you can negotiate online. And it really has, for me I hate talking to the sales people when they start pressuring me, I. I’m going home.

I’m not even doing this. And I know some people still have that thought in their head of you negotiate. That’s how you get the best deals. Like the Arabian marketplace everybody negotiates , I’m just not built that way. It’s [00:24:00] look, if this car is worth 10,000 as is, and I’m paying 12, the dealer’s getting the other two I’m okay with that with them, inspecting it, cleaning.

Offering it for me. So I don’t have to go find it in somebody’s yard to buy I understand I’m paying for that service, the same as buying milk on the shelf. I could go to the farmer next door and get it cheaper, but they do everything on the shelf and I pay a little bit for that. It’s yeah, that concept,

[00:24:28] Alan: honestly, I so totally in agreement about it’s worth like the service of them, making sure that I’m not buying a pig in a poke, but that I’m buying something that’s known to be of quality.

And maybe, and now it’s segue time. How many things have we had lately that they were running just fine. We used to have baby formula was always available at the right quality because we had inspections and they had to meet a certain standard of quality. And you know what when you release. That people from that obligation that you eliminate all those monitors and all that’s[00:25:00] now it, we don’t have a baby shortage because any particular political figure has anything to do with baby formula, but we do have.

If you’re gonna loosen those restrictions. And now we have salmonella again in our peanut butter and our chocolate, and we have baby formula that’s tainted, and we don’t have to go back far to start seeing all the ways in which things have gone down in quality because people really will to make more money, cut a corner here in a corner there and just not do.

I can’t believe that someone who wants to be in the baby formula business would not say my customers are babies. Is there anything more precious? I can’t believe that I would actually say it might get a little great in there. It might get a little salmonella in there. I just can’t believe that.

And yet, We

[00:25:45] Stephen: people do. We’ve seen those movies. You’ve seen the movies where they’re in the closed door, executive meeting with the lawyers. They’re like, okay, so what’s what can happen here? You can reduce these standards. And the accountant says that’ll save us a hundred thousand a year.

Great. What’s [00:26:00] the lawyer, what’s the problems. We’re probably gonna get a percentage increase of sick babies and possibly how much would that cost us? That’s only gonna cost you 20,000 a year. Great. Reduce the standards. We’ll just handle. We don’t care about the babies and the people’s lives, it’s all money.

And it so sounds cynical. And I’m sure people would say that’s not, but I think it’s way more real than not.

[00:26:22] Alan: honestly, Steven ever since Pintos, ever since you, when it all came out, exactly. It all came out how they had made that decision and it filed exactly what you’re saying. What’s the stadiums we’re gonna make.

If we do this differently, what’s the possible cost of lawsuits from people getting rear ended and exploding and they. That’s an acceptable trade off. Yeah. Instead of no, no blowing up ever. No, we don’t. Our cars just should not blow up. So that mentality of always having to be, there’s always in capitalism price, pressure, cost pressure.

And how do you find the happy medium, but there’s gotta be that it’s not only about that, that there’s some kind [00:27:00] of. Reputation concern, whatever people used to be concerned about Goodwill or that you just didn’t cross over a certain line. And honestly, I’m not even prepared to talk about it, but if we just sat back for a moment and said, Think of all the things that have gone down enough in quality that now they’re not just inconvenient, they’re actually dangerous.

Yeah. What and it’s all around us. It’s all those little inconveniences that it used to be. My this doesn’t work as well. It doesn’t last as long. We used to make fun of planned obsolescence that’s actually how they designed products. Mad magazine always had that.

And I don’t know that. I can see why, depending on what you buy cheap versus expensive or low quality versus high quality that you make that trade off yourself. If I buy, I don’t know, crappy shoes for 10 bucks as compared to better shoes for 50, I really do expect my $50 shoes to last five times as long.

But actually now when it’s not the shoe, didn’t just [00:28:00] stop having a soul. It actually blew up on my foot and I am making fun. How about computers? How many, how to geek it up? I have any number of things that it used to be that when you bought something and if it lasted the first, like if it lasted startup and lasted the first 10 days, you never needed to worry about extended warranties and all the computer mags and all the consumer reports would tell you that, because if it lasted that long, it’ll last kind of forever.

And nowadays, that really doesn’t seem to be the case that the actual. Thermal pace, they use to maintain the connection of the CPU or the memory to the motherboard is so minimal now that you really can get it cracking and things stop working enough. Dust gets in, they took the filters off the fans that you actually get dust effect.

We laughed last night about, I, I saw a computer that had a shoebox worth of hair and dust [00:29:00] inside of it and oh, So that someone is making those decisions and somebody there’s all kinds of minions that are saying. Okay, I’ll carry that out. I’ll cut it a little bit more in quality we’ll yeah.

We’ll start shipping things that are 70%, from what I understand, memory chips, all kinds of things. They have a certain quality rate and somebody said we used to sell at 98%. Now, if we go with 90, we’re counting on the people that will just say that’s the way it is. As opposed to complaining vehemently about memory should last forever in my computer.

And you train people into. Helplessness or into not getting as pissed because now that we’re in that computers have improved so much in the five years that I owned it, that I don’t want to fix my old one. You and I laugh about how long we keep our technology sometimes. Something breaking is almost like an excuse to say I wanted the new VCR.

I didn’t, and I, [00:30:00] whatever. And let’s go. I’ll get a little bit realistic. I wanted a new DVD player and I used to have the regular, and now I have the blue Ray and now I have the blue Ray, but it also upscales and down scales and talks to your TV. So it really optimizes. And you get it’s, I’m willing to spend another 300 bucks because I know that there’s been lots of progress in the last five years. I wouldn’t mind taking that opportunity to step up

[00:30:25] Stephen: For a car,

[00:30:26] Alan: but I don’t wanna throw away a $20,000 thing. I’m willing to maybe throw away a $300 thing. You mentioned the obsolescence. When was the last time you heard craftsman pushing their, Hey, if our tool ever breaks, bring it back. I haven’t heard that for decades. That used to be the signifier that we were that by craftsman that you could buy. Exactly. You know that deal.

computers, Sears dying took care of that.

Now there’s like Sears hardware. So they, yeah, that’s the two things that lived past the demise of Sears, because that really was the best things they [00:31:00] made.

[00:31:00] Stephen: They, and with the computers I, haven’t seen so much improvement in the hardware stuff over the last five, six years that it’s oh, I gotta get another new computer now.

Really I’m running. I can’t win, run windows 11 on my current computer. But it’s 12 years old. So I’ll give it that. I wanted I’m gonna segue back jump a little bit since we’re talking computers and talking obsolescence, but one of the problems right now with the car shopping is. We’ve had the COVID issues, which are factory problems and shortages and supply problems and getting things delivered.

I am having a very hard time finding a car that I is good mileage looks like it’s in good shape and all that. The lots are much more bare than they used to be. And we were talking to several guys selling cars [00:32:00] that the one place said, oh if we get anything under 10, we just ship it out to auction.

We don’t even bother anymore because the, we don’t, the cars are in demand and we buy something for six we’re only go sell it for 6,005. It’s not worth it to us to spend time

[00:32:17] Alan: on the line, spot on it, to take up time of

[00:32:19] Stephen: theirs. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So there’s a definite we had a hard time finding a.

Used cars on the lower end. Now there’s a lot on the higher end, but still even then we were finding cars 170,000 miles, a 2006, and it was still going for $10,000. That’s and it’s Crazy. . Yeah. That’s not having any context except what you said. That just seems isn’t that a $500

car that’s what I would’ve thought.

My PT cruiser two, three years ago. When we were getting it from my uncle, we looked it up on Kelly blue book. It’s in good [00:33:00] condition. We’ll we we’ll say it’s in good. It’s got this many miles and stuff and it was like $1,400. Give or take is what it’d be worth. Okay. Not bad.

Now two years, three years later, whatever it’s in fair condition, it’s in the bottom percentage. Things are falling apart. It’s got issues. It’s got 30,000 more miles. It’s still worth 12. Because of the market because of the

[00:33:26] Alan: market. That’s what . Yeah. I wonder how much this matters. I remember reading, like we had a big thing in the United States to clean up our air.

Remember we used to have cities blanketed by smog and been a lot of all the emphysema, all of the various different breathing diseases were caused by having all that particulate in the air. So they did the right thing. Get rid of lead gas and do catalytic converters and all that kind of stuff. And what I have read a number of times now is that so they make things here in the United States and they comply with all those regulations, but the whole world doesn’t have those regulations and [00:34:00] there’s a whole nother market for when.

Things start failing their catalytic converter tests here. Cuz you have to go to get that done. They don’t put a new CATA curer in, they send that off to Mexico or come Chaka. Yeah. Or like where they don’t have the same standards. And I like the fact that they can get some kind of car where they couldn’t get any kind of car otherwise, but it just seems really.

Western imperialists in some ways to say, we know you’re, we’re selling you. Something that we decided was too dangerous for us, but here take on more risk. You get a car yeah. You know what I mean? So I,

[00:34:41] Stephen: and even in America, we don’t have the same standards we’ve got here in Portage, the E checks that we have to get our card checked for the small and all.

But they’re talking about closing those down and there’s other places around us that don’t have those. The air is shared. It’s not like the air [00:35:00] stops important and they really

[00:35:02] Alan: talk about doing that. Stopping,

[00:35:04] Stephen: having Eche to I did I hear they were talking about that, partly because COVID, I think started to prompt it.


[00:35:11] Alan: I, I had read that they were gonna have it be self done, cause now they’ve got it. So foolproof that you really can oh yeah. Plug your guy into the diagnostic and put the thing into your exhaust mic and all that kind of stuff, but them closing down entirely and not checking.

That just seems like there’s

[00:35:29] Stephen: people huge step back there’s people for pushing that, but it’s probably those people are probably invested in gas and they want cars to sell and they oh, if it’s cleaner it runs better. But the people that were running on flat tires and poorly maintained cars are burning more oil.

So that’s what we want. I, that totally is conspiracy on my part, but it would not surprise me I just would not be shocked. Yeah. I’ll

[00:35:55] Alan: I’ll we really don’t often get into [00:36:00] politics, but I like the certain policies that we’ve had. Remember they had a buyback program, right? The get rid of the junkers, get rid of the old cars, where they were trying to get rid of cars that previously had been either grandfathered in or didn’t have to comply because they had a certain.

A couple years left in them. And when they found out that people were not taking it for a couple more years, but now they were driving it for 10 and it really was back to as bad as pollution from that particular car ever was. They were saying, can we just buy it from you and take it off your hands?

What do we have to do to induce you to stop being the guy with the white exhaust you’re killing people with what you’re doing. I like those programs where the government actually asked, act in the public interest that as much as you might think that everybody would make the best choice, if they had the best information, that’s just not the case in no, there’s any number of people that really are that selfish.

That’s stupid. That it’s no matter how [00:37:00] many inducements we give you, we aren’t going to do the right thing. And they pull out terrible phrases. Like the nanny state. It’s we’re. Trying to get you to do anything that you shouldn’t be doing. And shouldn’t is a provable thing. This is poison.

This is pollution. I guess the reason that I take back what I said earlier, I can’t believe that they’re getting rid of eChecks. There really has been this weird movement towards another way in which we’re getting unregulated than instead of having better gas mileage standards. And instead of having better pollution standards, we’re actually like, yeah, don’t worry about that.

[00:37:33] Stephen: Horrible pool of

[00:37:35] Alan: coal tailings. That’s gonna one day break its banks and go drown a town. You just don’t have to get that checked anymore. Yeah. And whoever’s doing that, that not even resource it’s like resource manipulation and resource. I can’t think of a bad enough word. They know that they’re producing.

Pollution’s so bad that it should be [00:38:00] like shot into the heart of the sun instead of sitting in a pool in the mountain somewhere, right? Yep. There’s money to be made. And they, I’m trying to think what I know of coal there’s bituminous versus Anite, there’s various different degrees of coal and they’re getting out to where they used all the easy, good stuff that is the most efficient and the least polluting and so forth.

And they’re one to continue their industry. So now they’re going into the worse stuff and it produces even worse pollutants. And yet. They’re not acting as if this stuff is three times as lethal. And I pulled that number out of the air. They’re acting as if yeah, the standards we had when it was relatively clean.

We put scrubbers on some of the things. So they’d get rid of the pollution before it even comes out. A lot of that seems to be being loosened. If not eliminated entirely. And thank God we don’t live downstream from a Superfund site. You know what I mean? That we’re not getting, but there are places now with not only coal, but with fracking, with nuclear reactors.

Yeah. Whatever the thing is that the Ellucian dose standards and. I guess they figure, [00:39:00] Hey, if we’re gonna see a blip in cancer in a generation, oh, by that time I’ll be retired. 30 years it’ll take to show up in the population. Ah,

[00:39:07] Stephen: I’ll be gone there. There’s sci-fi stories about that. Even clear back to metropolis where the haves live in the garden up top, where all the have-nots are below.

I think Atium was the same thing. All the people with the money and controlled everything floated above the world and all the workers were like dying down on the there’s multiple sci-fi stories like that. And we talked about this with

[00:39:31] Alan: the hundred levels and the people that are down here in the total SCU yes.

Sewage area.

[00:39:36] Stephen: Yes. Yeah. And we talked about that last night with the coal that I know somebody who would not vote for any politician that wants to shut down the coal mines, cuz they. Friends that work there, but it’s probably killing their friends. It’s unhealthy for all over the country.

[00:39:53] Alan: You’re right. To continue the family tradition of dying early from black lungs. Are you

[00:39:57] Stephen: fighting for that? Yeah, just because, [00:40:00] oh, it’s a job, but, and I said, why don’t we spend a little money? And retrain these people to build solar panels, to install and repair solar panels, to build windmills, to transport windmills, and create all these other energy uses, train them for these jobs.

So they don’t have to work in the coal mines and we can shut ’em down and make a step forward instead of well, that’s just how it is. The big guys are making tons of money off the coal. So let the little workers scramble for the change we handle. Yes. That’s what it’s.

[00:40:31] Alan: There are some programs in been proposed.

Exactly what you’re talking about of let’s aid, the transition to renewable energy by making sure the people that are trapped in non-renewable energy. We train them, we get them better jobs, safer for them, better for the environment, et cetera, et cetera. And I don’t know what the take rate is, but it hasn’t been so magnificent that we’re now a coal this economy.

I know that we do liquid natural gas nowadays, and that’s been there have been, there’s been good progress made. [00:41:00] Getting things, huh? There’s always trade offs, getting things out of the ground and carbon sequestration and all that kind of stuff. So we’ve gotten to where at least we are energy independent that we’re no longer we could be even more in more problems because of a Russian oil, if, and.

Honestly, this is an entire topic. Ohio was one of those interesting places where they actually have proposed pipelines for how we’re going to get some of our materials out of the ground and get them to the refineries. and unfortunately, the places that are proposing those things have a miserable track record with the safety of those lines.

And so then they say while you’ve been telling me how safe these are, you had another bus right in this county. And 40,000 gallons got out and either it’s oil or it’s fracking, water, waste water. There’s so many different ways in which. We seem to be like, we’re [00:42:00] not trying to take it on really.

We’re trying to overcome the publicity nightmare when it’s first proposed, wait everybody out, not go to the entire community or the entire state, but work on individuals. Hey, you let us put a cricket in your yard and we’ll be able to give you this kind of money and Hey, everybody else is doing it.

So if you don’t do it, you’ll get left behind. There was even, wasn’t even a whole movie like Matt Damon, where they show. The sneaky tactics that they use to get this kind of stuff done. And then what do you get flames coming out of your faucet? Because they really didn’t worry about ground water enough.

They didn’t make sure that there were safety concerns every way up and down. The whole process of it. I can’t believe that’s happening in the United States. You know what I mean? That we used to be the model for we just don’t do that stuff. We don’t kill our own citizens.

We don’t the people that are living nearby, but aren’t concerned with the business. They shouldn’t be like cannon [00:43:00] fodder and yet we

[00:43:02] Stephen: are right. Just an indicator a little pointer at how the thinking really goes is if you buy a gasoline car, You register it every year and you’re good.

But if you buy one of those cars that you’re not giving us money for gasoline and taxes from Gasol, We’re going to tax you extra. Oh, when you register your car, so you can’t drive it until you pay us that money. I forgot to mention that one. That’s not

[00:43:29] Alan: encouraging, curious. And we were new. We got the new license and registration and it was more expensive.

Yeah. It’s like how are you not encouraging people into hybrids? You’re discouraging them

[00:43:40] Stephen: from because we’re not getting the money from you. Not an idiot state. We need the

[00:43:44] Alan: money. Yeah. We couldn’t believe it. It’s who do I write a letter to that says, this is the most bad decision I’ve seen in that since I’ve lived in Ohio

[00:43:55] Stephen: who wants, oh, you could write the letter to the people, making the laws because they’re the [00:44:00] ones making the money off of the oil or the taxes or whatever.

You’re not gonna give anywhere. That’s the problem. Yeah.

[00:44:07] Alan: We have seen some progress. So like the city of Cleveland has all natural li lPG. Proclaim natural gas buses, so that they’re there’s only water coming out. They’re non polluting and stuff like that. And that used to be quite a source of when a bus passed, you knew it because they were diesel and they were just putting out more unburnt bits into the air than ever before. There’s some progress being made, but not enough. I maybe an interesting way. So one of the joys of hybrids is that they’re they are they’re, they maintain their good mileage because they have an electric system that all the what do they call that?

Not refractive, the breaking actually charges your battery up so that you can always be using some part of that. And now we’re moving, not just hybrids, but to full electric cars. I nobody can ever bring that up for a discussion [00:45:00] without somebody saying, yeah, but what about the electric plants?

And what’s the real cost of that. And there’s so much proof now that kind of energy production is. Light years better than every one of the polluting cars that’s doing its own thing. And yet, somehow that meme persists because some people don’t want progress. They don’t wanna believe that there really is a smarter way to do things different than what they’ve always had different than my father had or different than I just it’s the weirdest thing, how people.

How about if you look it up before

[00:45:30] Stephen: you post it, how, and I’ve seen that too hold on, let’s look at the costs of charging a car as opposed to the gas. What really is the pollution and how much is it bad? And, but somebody has to do a study. Somebody has to find those numbers.

Somebody has to look it up and compare it. And I know like we always talk about don’t burn your leaves. It’s pollution. Don’t do this, but the problem is. Like 80% of all of our pollution come, not [00:46:00] 80%. I think it was like 40 to 50%. Of all of our pollution is because of we eat meat. It’s the growing of the cows the feed and stuff, the transporting, the slaughtering, the packaging, the putting it out in the market that is.

Almost half of all the pollution we create. So if I burn leaves, that’s so infant decimal, you won’t even notice it. But if I buy a steak, I’m contributing more to the overall problem than the leaves are, but nobody wants to do anything or think about that. So all these little measures may help some, but really they’re not helping as much as.

They could. Yeah,

[00:46:37] Alan: I I must have been, I’m very guilty of that. You know what I mean? That I have all my little I use my blue bags for recycling and all that kind of stuff. When I know that my carbon footprint is not so much based on my own personal consumption, it’s based on what systems am I buying into.


[00:46:51] Stephen: it goes right back to what we said, it’s the marketing, it’s the mindset that people don’t know. So they’ve been told. [00:47:00] Recyclable bags, don’t burn the leaves, put trash all these things, and now you should feel good about yourself and you’re helping the environment. And, wow, we’re great.

So when we’re doing these other things, you’re going to ignore it and not worry about it. So we can keep

[00:47:13] Alan: that. I exactly the distraction over here is gonna stop you from really the United States is not. Us. We don’t have a checkbook and we don’t have to manage it that way, but one of the things we could learn is, so if I had debt, how do I do my stuff?

I pay off the highest interest rate. First. I I show progress in the way that is the most damaging if I keep doing it. So just that if we looked at where do we really have problems with carbon or pollutants, and we said, we’re gonna take on those things first. You really should be doing. Hey, I took care of my tin cans, my aluminum cans, but I took on the beef industry.

yeah. Make sure that we did made progress there. I hope that we will see that in our lifetime that someone actually has. It’s not that we don’t have those numbers. We have numbers that people immediately start trying to [00:48:00] defy them and. Make it as if they’re not real, but just like climate change. If you’ve got a hundred scientists and 97 of them are saying this thing, I don’t pay much attention to the three

I understand listen to what they have to say as to why those things, but most of the time you can count on. If you were to go on, who wants to be a millionaire, what’s the best way to get to a right answer. It’s not to have an expert in your corner. It’s not to have half and half choices it’s to ask the audience because kinda like any other kind of judging, you’ll get rid of the out riders out of a hundred people you’ll have the wackos at each end, but then the, whatever, communal wisdom of people is pretty good.

So I bring that back to here. If you’ve got a whole bunch of people that really are experts and care to have learned how to do this they’re not all in the pocket of industry. They’re not all solar people, right? They’re scientists. This is like, how have we debated this for 25 years now about whether global warming [00:49:00] is real?

Because people decided that being an expert, being smart, following statistics, we decided that, Nope. I just don’t wanna believe that. So I’m gonna disregard it. And here we are with worse weather. The Arctic breaking up the Anar ice, what I mean? And the problem is people get and believe all their information from Facebook memes.

[00:49:24] Stephen: And my neighbor told me this who the hell is your neighbor? Who cares? Exactly. And just at one point, it’s in a meme it’s and people don’t wanna believe this, but. Our other countries trying to destabilize us that create those memes solely for the fact that they know we’re going to have people believing it and it’s gonna cause chaos and problems.

And then we’re focused on this instead of what we really need to focus on. I that’s happening. It’s out there. [00:50:00] It’s anyway, at some point a billion people are gonna sign a card to Al gore and. We’re so sorry. you said all the right things you 20 years ago, you told us what the deal was and we wouldn’t listen and look how fucked we are.

[00:50:15] Alan: Now. We can still recover. We have to, we only got the one planet, but someone’s gonna have to say he was right about. Bleaching of coral Reeves. He was right about diseases become from the difference in climate, at what different he was right about everything in his book. And we’ve just marched along and said, wow, that’s scary, but let’s make that real let’s do all those bad things.

yeah. Oh, it’s all well, so gore resident

[00:50:42] Stephen: smart person. There we go. Okay. So hopefully next week I’ll update you on my car. Situ.

[00:50:48] Alan: I hope so too. And Hey, yeah. Take care of yourself. Stress is a killer. I know you’re under terrible things from work and I’m just back from California with my own set of stress, but now home is home.

And [00:51:00] yeah. Stress fit in some I’m gonna, I’m gonna go conquer the world in civilization or something like that. Cause I need to like, have something feel like it’s under control. I’m working extra this weekend. Call’s taken off. So I’m getting a little extra work in.

[00:51:14] Stephen: So hopefully the people that come in, aren’t going to be grumpy, that they enjoy comics and want to talk a little bit. Absolutely. But next weekend, I’m going to the supernatural convention in Chicago. So I am, so looking forward to that’s gonna be my I’m pushing through all of this stuff that’s going on right now.

You give that as

[00:51:34] Alan: your reward. That’s cool. Yeah. Wonderful. Absolutely. We’ll need a big report on that too. Very

[00:51:38] Stephen: good. Oh yeah. That cheers and all sorts of stuff for you. Wonderful.

[00:51:42] Alan: Thank you, Steven. As always a

[00:51:43] Stephen: pleasure. Take care later, man. Talk to you later.

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