A matter of hue

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I tend to engage with the customers at my workplace.  It’s something that I’ve always done, since if you carry on a conversation, it’s not so much like they’re just there to shop, they might find that they have a ‘friend’ in the business and if they feel more comfortable, then perhaps their shopping experience will be a little less impersonal.  And they might end spending more, which sometimes can be considered a good thing.  Even so, there are times when customers, having become familiar, tell me things that surprise me sometimes and on occasion make me do a double take, or just completely bowl me over.

Case in point, this past week one of my older customers was telling me about what she did (and didn’t do) for Thanksgiving.  Apparently she and her son have become estranged over the several months leading up to the holiday, so much so that she wasn’t invited to their house for the meal.  Having been spurned, she was informed by one of her girlfriends that a couple of the local churches were serving a holiday dinner.  The first church that she went to, apparently had served the dinner either the day before, or the weekend before, so there wasn’t anyone there when she arrived.

Upon going to the other church, she apparently was quite surprised by the fact that the vast majority of people there were “colored” (her word, not mine).  That fact seemed to unnerve her so she left and didn’t partake.  I try not to judge, I don’t know everyone’s upbringing or their politics or personal preferences, but I have to admit that I was rather taken aback with the way she was describing her obvious confusion and distaste over what she had found.  I did ask her what she did for Thanksgiving dinner, and she quite nonchalantly said that she ‘went without’.  I really wanted to ask her why she had such a problem taking a meal with her neighbors, but I could see that asking something of that nature would more than likely have done more harm than good.

I’m not colorblind, I have friends that are African-American.  I went to high school with black kids, college and have worked with many over the years.  When I was in college in my senior year, I even had a black roommate.  He was from Brooklyn and a little rough around the edges, but we managed to get along.

Suffice it to say, it was just a little unnerving to hear someone in their 80s have that sort of reaction to people not of her own race.  As far as we’ve come as a people, as a species, we seem to be continually reminded that we still have a long way to go.

The new ride

Reading Time: 4 minutes

My wife and I lease our vehicles.  Well, actually she does the actual leasing, I just drive the vehicle for the next 3 years for the most part.  (And schedule whatever maintenance, it requires)  Probably about 95% of the time when it comes right down to it.  We’ve been doing this since 2000, mainly because before that, we both had our own individual vehicles and basically drove them into the ground.  So when it came time to get a new one, we decided to get one jointly (sort of) and had to decide which way to go.

Buy or lease?  We opted to lease, since if you purchase a vehicle outright, sure you’re going to pay the loan on the vehicle, but you’re also going to pay for repairs, keep full insurance coverage for at least the first 5-7 years, and then pay for more repairs as the vehicle ages.  If you lease…you get a new vehicle every 3-4 years, providing you don’t drive it as much.  If you have a job whereby you put 50,000 miles on it every year, then leasing is less of a likelihood, because leases have upper limits on how many miles you can drive during the course of the contract.  Exceed this and you have to pay probably .08 to .15 per mile after that.  And that can add up.  A lot.

Since we both lived within a mile of our respective workplaces, I worked 3rd shift and she worked 1st, I could ostensibly work most of my shift, then come home on a break and take her to work.  Go back to work myself and then finish out my shift later in the morning.  It worked out really well for us, and we ended up with some really nice vehicles in the process.  Starting in 2000, we’ve leased a Ford Ranger (short-box), 2 Subaru Foresters, a Jeep Compass (first year they were out), a GMC Terrain and the current Ford Edge.  Next year our lease is up and we have to decide what vehicle we’re going to opt for this time.

What we used to do was, we alternated choices.  I’d pick, then she would and so on.  Starting with the Terrain, my wife decided she didn’t want to pick anymore.  She would leave the choice up to me, we’d go over the specs, test drive a few and decide which one we both liked best.  I’d spend a few months going over the possibilities, we’d visit a few dealerships and compare what they looked like (whether they’d fit in our small garage) and if they rode well, and drove well, then when the old lease was up, we’d generally go to the same dealership that we’ve been working with for the last 20 years and say hello to the new ride.

As you can tell from the list, we’re not necessarily faithful to any one particular make/model.  For the most part, we stay away from sedans or trucks, though the Ranger did come in handy when we were moving from the lake to the ‘city’ back in 2001.  We did discover that a short-box without a cap and a standard two seat cabin was a bit of a pain for traveling, since we couldn’t easily store anything in the truck while we were away on vacation.  We ended up starting to lease SUVs at that point, since it was like having a station wagon from the 1970s.

I’ve been doing some research and tentatively have it narrowed down to 6 possibles.  In no particular order they are:

  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Hyundai SantaFe
  • Dodge Durango
  • Nissan Murano
  • Chevy Traverse

Granted I’ve been looking at the 2018 models, since most, if not all of the manufacturers aren’t showing the 2019 models as of yet.  Come the new year, there might be additions or subtractions to the list, but at least I have a starting point.  It will be interesting doing the research as well as testing out the possibles.  Come June 2019, we’ll have a new vehicle!