I recently helped my daughter Katrina buy a used car and helped my 8 year-old son replace his dearly departed pet rat Merrill, and to tell the truth, I don't want to do either again very soon.
Each endeavor had its pitfalls and drawbacks.
Rats: Noah's rat Merrill, departed us several months ago, and you would think that it would be easy to find a couple of rats to quickly replace the departed. But NO... I found out that we had to locate a breeder, and that it is better to have two rats together than one, (they live longer, yep), and that breeders do not have babies all the time, most are planned litters. Also, if you want two females, all the litters born, will be mostly male.
Used Cars: Katrina's 1996 Toyota Corolla began to depart us several months ago, as with a car of this age, things began to go wrong and replacing the car made more sense. I found out in this time of high gas prices, a small economical car was hard to find. Also, dealerships, like breeders, don't always have anything on the lot, and if they do, it is priced out of this world. Also, if you see an ad during the Superbowl, promising cars at 50% off the sticker price, they wont have any and then try to sell you a used car at new car prices.
Rats: I found that when you get a breeder that offers you some babies, it thoroughly pisses off other breeders that you put orders into. I did not have time to even cancel my orders before I was getting irate e-mails from a local breeder as he was e-mailing another breeder. I got an e-mail from that person also, albeit much more polite. We ended up getting out two babies from a breeder over an hour away, but a local breeder still talked smack about her, as she did him, no love lost between these two.
Used Cars: Most used car salesmen will talk smack about any other dealer, or salesman in the area. Their cars are always the best, even though they try to write up a deal before you see their car. "For Christ's sake, just show me the car!" And when you find a car you like, they forget to show you the Carfax report. Hmmmm.... and you find things out about the car when you take it to a friend at Expert Tire. And the salesman you have the courtesy to call-up to tell him you bought a car somewhere else, curses you as he hangs up the phone.
All in all, I am glad these two tasks are over for now and I wish long and happy lives to our two new pets and Katrina's shiny new car...Whew...