Being a full time comedian is a LOT less glamorous than it may sound. It’s a long hard road to put an act together, and then it’s a matter of staying on the road and performing it. After a while, the main issue becomes getting there time and time again, and after a while it gets to be a grind.
I fly to most places now, and that isn’t close to perfect. But for many years as most comedians starting out do, I would drive everywhere – and I do mean everywhere. More often than not, I’d rack up yearly mileage totals of 50,000. That made it extremely difficult to not be ‘upside down’ on my car loans, which means the actual car itself is not worth the amount of money owed on it.
One day, completely by accident, I discovered an alternative that has served me well for going on twenty years. I attended a car auction purely out of curiosity, and ended up buying a car when I didn’t expect to. I’ve been buying them ever since, and I see no reason to stop. It’s a fun hobby.
It wasn’t so much fun the first time. There was a Ford Taurus up for bids, and the bidding was stalled at $375. That seemed WAY too low for a car that looked so clean, and I got caught up in the excitement and made a bid – never thinking in a million years I’d win it. Sure enough, I got it for $400. I was stunned on one level, but thrilled on another. $650 later, I owned a Ford Taurus.
There’s a $200 fee for each car purchased. That goes to a charity, and there’s also a paperwork fee of around $50. That’s on every car too, so before anyone bids they’re $250 in the hole. That’s not that bad though, and some real bargains can be had. $650 for a clean Ford Taurus was a steal – at least it seemed like it at the time. I couldn’t believe that car went for such a minimal price.
After I filled out the paperwork and claimed my prize, I found out why. There was thick smoke coming out of the hood, and I was barely half a block from the auction. The three ugly words ‘all sales FINAL’ jumped off the paperwork as did the uglier pair ‘as is’. I thought I was out of luck.
As it turned out, it cost me a tow and a radiator hose – but nothing else. I ended up driving it for a year and a half, and it ran like a champ. I racked up road miles on it, but who cares? It was paid for, and every time the wheels turned I was ahead of the game. I had discovered a great formula.
Over the years I’ll bet I’ve bought at least 25 cars from the Waukegan Auto Auction, and that’s no exaggeration. Some were better than others, but more often than not I’ve come out of it ahead in the end. Some of the cars may be dinged up a bit, but I’ll put miles on them and then put them back in the auction to let someone else have fun. More often than not, I’ll end up breaking even.
But the fun and excitement of winning an auction more than makes up for any risks. There are no guarantees, but I’ve done quite well over the long haul and I recommend it to anyone who has a need for inexpensive wheels. The website is www.waukeganautoauction.com, and you can see the car list each week. Auctions are on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. See you there!