Fact: There are some things in this world that are just a pain in the ass to buy. No matter how prepared you come. No matter how much research you do. Heck, sometimes you can pay in advance, and it’s still a pain in the ass.
What sucks even more about these things is that most of us will be buying all of the things on this list during our lives – some of these things are an regular purchase.
Let’s talk about some of the most pain in the ass purchases, starting with these five:
1. Buying a Car
Buying a car has to be one of the biggest pain in the ass purchases you can make. First, it takes a lot of time to find the right car. No two cars are alike, especially when you’re looking at used cars. Then, when you find the car you like, you have to negotiate for it, and that’s never fun.
But you know what’s worst? Even after you have the car and have negotiated the price – it still takes hours to actually buy the car!
Let me break down my latest car buying evolution to share what I mean.
I was looking to buy a car, and did everything online. It was a new car, and I found the car at a dealer, and even negotiated the price via email. After everything was agreed upon (which was a several day ordeal to begin with), I asked what I could do to speed up the process at the actual dealer. To help expedite things, I sent in a scan of my driver’s license, a copy of my insurance, and how I wanted title held. The goal was to have all of the documents ready before I even arrived.
So, the time comes when I arrive at the dealer. I go to test drive the car, and everything checks out. Now, it’s just time for the paperwork. The salesman has me take a seat, and the waiting starts. And I wait. Finally, after like 30 minutes, I walk over to the sales manager’s office to check the status. He says shortly.
After about 45 minutes, the salesman comes back to tell me they are putting the final details on the car and he starts going through all the manuals (which I’m sure is standard operating procedure, but I could have cared less). At the hour mark, he says it will be a few more minutes. Finally, after about an hour and a half of waiting, they bring me to the finance managers office to sign all the papers.
But, of course, now’s the time to try and up-sell me on special wax, Lo-Jack, and more. Another 15 minutes down. Then we finally start signing the papers – which only takes about 10 minutes. After it’s all said and done, the manager says my car should be ready soon. Yes! I still had to wait about 10 minutes…
All in all – even trying to have as much done ahead of time as I could, it took 2 hours! And I know if I didn’t do the advanced work, it would have taken 3-4 hours or more. What a pain in the ass!
2. Buying a Cell Phone
Another purchase that never is easy is buying a cell phone. At this point in my life, I’ve bought about 5 or 6 different phones, and the process is always the same. I’ve bought phones from mall kiosks, from brand name shops, even from a national retailer’s electronics department – and every time it’s a pain in the ass.
My experiences typically go something like this:
I go to the store, and there is only one or two clerks working, but there are five people waiting. Every transaction (for some reason) takes a good 30 minutes to an hour to process, and it always seems to involve the clerk calling someone. I’ve never seen a cell phone transaction happen without this.
Anyway, after waiting a good hour to get up to the clerk (or having my name called, or number called), it still takes a bunch of time. You give them your name and phone number, they verify your identity, then they process the transaction. The clerk will then go to the back and get your phone, and then proceed to activate it. This typically takes another 15 minutes, and even then it may no work until “up to 4 hours”.
Once again, even the fastest cell phone buying experience I ever had took about an hour and a half. I would put this at 2 hours on average, and a total pain in the ass.
3. Buying a Suit
There’s nothing better than having a nice suit. It fits well, makes you look nice, it’s a great feeling. But getting a suit is always a pain.
Suit shopping typically involves going to either a suit shop, or a higher end retail store like Nordstrom. At either place, you’re hit with walls of suits, and hell if I know what makes me look good. Then, you look and look, and find the one that works for you.
Even once you find your suit, pretty much every aspect of the suit has to be tailored. Most of the higher end suits don’t even come finished – so there’s no getting out of it. That becomes a process in itself. You have to do the initial fitting, wait a week, go back and get it checked – but it can never be right the first time. Then you go again to do a final check.
Then, when you buy a suit, you also need to have the shoes you’re going to wear already in hand. If you don’t, you’re going to have to wear loaner shoes because the pants just won’t hang right without shoes. And if you do bring your own (which you should), you have to bring them with you every single time…
Needless to say, buying a suit is a pain in the ass.
4. Buying a House
Buying a house is a big deal, and out of all of these on the list, I feel like this one deserves to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. I mean, you’re shelling out $100s of $1,000s of dollars on a property, there needs to be some hoops to jump through.
But man, does buying a house come with some pain in the ass hoops!
Beyond the long process of finding a house, making an offer, hoping the sellers accept your offer, probably negotiating on tiny amounts of money in the end, and then finally getting a signed contract – that’s just the start!
After that, you get the disclosures – a stack of 50 pages of legal disclosures pretty much designed to scare the shit out of you. You “could” be in a landslide zone, flood zone, Earthquake zone, within 50 miles of an airport, their could have been a Uranium mine nearby… the list goes on. And at the end of the day – the whole point of the 50 pages is that you still need to do your own due diligence! Really?
Then you do your own due diligence – inspections, walk throughs, etc. This part makes sense – you’re paying a lot of money here.
Then, you go into the escrow office and sign your life away. I would guess there are about 50 signatures required – but only 2 matter: the one on the title and the one on the loan. All of the others? More disclosures designed to make the whole process a pain in the ass.
5. Buying Life Insurance
Finally, buying life insurance – another pain in the ass. This one works in the reverse of buying a house. It’s a pain in the ass because the insurance company is going to send you through a bunch of hoops so that they can avoid paying your life insurance at all costs.
Life insurance sucks to buy because of the hoops: a bunch of paperwork regarding your financials, followed by a physical. Then, if you have a mole that some random nurse doesn’t think looks right, the insurance company can say you’re not in the Top AAA Excellent health class, and charge you more for your premium.
Think it gets better with a group policy through your employer? Maybe. But if you don’t sign up the very first time you’re eligible, you have to go through all the physical stuff as well, and they could simply deny you anyway! The group policy only works when you’re initially able to sign up – like the date of hire.
So, if you work with a company out of college and don’t sign up because you’re young and health and have no obligations, then get engaged and are trying to do the right thing, you get sent through the wringer!
Another pain in the ass product to buy.
Have you had any of these experiences? What has been your biggest pain in the ass purchase to make?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.