1999 Honda Accord EX – The Drive’s Daily Mileage Champion
Would you buy a 16 year old Accord with 360,000 miles for $500? This owner not only did that. He also drove it another 105,000 miles.
"You're one cheap ass motherfucker Roger!"
Roger White was staring out the dealership window and looking at the type of car that had made Southern Honda rich. A 1999 Honda Accord EX, white on tan, with 363,000 miles.
It had been bought new by its one and only owner, Joe Prescott. A food broker who made a small fortune of his own by selling imported foods from all over the world. His trunk came loaded up with samples and brochures for a massive food import company called Roland. One of the quiet 800 impound gorillas of the gourmet food industry which sold everything from Korean agar-agar to Costa Rican zucchini.
"You really want that damn thing Roger? That old Honda is about as wore out as an old mop!"
Joe lived in Savannah. But his job took him all over the southeastern seaboard which meant the Honda needed to pile on the miles no matter what. So Joe paid the premium. He would take his Honda in for service, and instead of staying in the deathly boring waiting room, he would have a nice chat with Roger. A guy Joe had known since high school, but didn't become friends with until he was in his late-50s.
Roger had helped Joe buy Hondas for his three daughters, two in-laws, and one deadbeat brother who was thankfully kept in a senior community. Joe had been widowed, but he also had absolutely no taste for the dating life since his wife, Karen, had been his one and only love. She was amazing. Loved kids, had no care in the world for stuff, and was as easy going and fun loving as anyone Joe had ever known. Ovarian cancer had killed his only true love and he wasn't about to desecrate his children's lives by marrying again.
So Karen's parents raised the daughters and Joe was there for a few evenings during the week and every weekend. It had been a busy lonely life. Joe began to realize that he needed something to break up the monotony of familiar business faces and canned speeches.
So he had an idea. Joe was going to operate his own food brokerage firm and began searching for his first salesperson.
It was tough to find anyone that was worth hiring. Nearly everyone lied or glorified their own backgrounds to the point where Joe jokingly wondered whether he should be the ones working for all these supposedly gifted souls.
"It's a damned clusterscrew of stupid people!" - Joe muttered as he was driving up to Southern Honda for his 360,000 mile service On Monday Joe had spent the entire day interviewing four people. He would come to remember that day as one when he interviewed "Two birdbrains with breasts... and two baboon bullshitters!". There had been so much phony cliche answers that Joe thanked the good Lord he never took that HR job straight out of college.
Then he saw Roger... and that was his Eureka moment. Joe remembered how Roger envied his free life away from all the loud mouths and do-nothings at the dealership who took credit for the achievements of others. After 22 years, Roger had found that he loved the normal people in his life. It was just the nuts and human circle jerks who were driving him crazy.
The Accord had gone through 48 oil changes, 3 timing belts, and 2 transmissions. The last was done at 345,000 miles, and Roger had been helpful in bringing the price down to a manageable $2400. If anyone deserved that Accord, it was Roger, and if anyone could handle the food brokerage business, it was a guy like Roger who could figure out how to make the squeaky wheels of his business get the grease. Most everyone in the food business was older, male, and an old hat in the field. Roger's laid back conversational nature would be the perfect fit.
"I'll trade-in the Accord for five hundred bucks if, and only if, you sell it to Roger right now for the same price." The sales manager knew that Joe had eyed a rare bird that had been sitting for months at the dealership. A 5-speed Accord, four-door Sport model in Hematite Metallic that had been shucked off to the Siberian outposts of the back lot.
Without even a thought, the sales manager stood up and shook Joe's hand.
"It's a deal Mr. Prescott. Glad to keep you in the family."
Joe went to the bathroom, When he came out, he heard that same sales manager blurt out the words that would set off the rattlesnake in him.
"You're one cheap ass motherfucker Roger!"
Joe was as angry as a hawk watching its young ones being taken. That Accord was his damn it! Who the hell did this guy think he was dealing with?
So he wandered back to to the service department and planned out what would become the second best question he would ever ask in his life.
"Roger, how would you like to travel, meet a lot of good folks, and never have to deal with that manager ever again?"
Most people would ask for a day or two to weigh in the offer. Others would have declined for fear of the unknown. But Roger White had the one thing no one else at that dealership had.
'Fuck you' money. He had earned a pension as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. $20,000 wasn't much to live on by itself. But Roger figured that if Joe wasn't blowing smoke, he would find the food business to be a perfect fit and the money would come eventually.
"Consider it so!", and with that Roger took Joe's so-called cheap Accord for another two years and 90,000 miles around the southeast. He enjoyed coffee and chocolates in Savannahs and beignets in New Orleans. The gourmet foods were an easy sell, just like the Hondas. But the fringe benefits were way better.
Last weekend Joe traded in his 'cheap White Honda' on a brand new Accord. A 2017 model EX-L with all the options. At 465,481 miles it still works fine. Just like Roger.