Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Such a Deal I Have for You

The Home Office received a piece of junk – er, unsolicited mail yesterday. I’m sharing it to show not only politicians are out of touch with reality in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

The front of the tri-fold mailer invites me to “Come Enjoy the Best of Both Virginia’s!” I immediately wondered, “Who’s Virginia?” and, “Both of her whats?” This looked promising until I saw the mail was from Ryan Homes. The housing market is bad, but offering up both of Virginia’s whatevers to close a deal seemed extreme, especially when I thought of what most home sales representatives look like. (Not what they think, or act as if they look like. “Both Virginia’s” could refer to chins, for all I know.)

The inside screams WHY ARE YOU RENTING??? The reader is informed that single family homes start at just $1,396 per month; town homes from just $1,118 per month. Each claim is followed by asterisks galore, referring you to the disclaimers at the bottom of the page, presuming the purchase of a stripped-down home I hope includes exterior walls and a roof. One hundred percent financing is also assumed; apparently developers haven’t got the word about the sub-prime lending crisis.

Closer inspection reveals these attractive features: your brand new home will be within seven miles of the commuter train, from where it is “just a 1 ½ hour train ride to DC!!!” (“Just” is a key word in such brochures, as are exclamation points and asterisks directing you to small print. Example: Payments as low as 3 cents a minute!!!*

* - based on an average month of 43,200 minutes.)

Here’s the deal: you drive ten to fifteen minutes to get to the station, where you’ll wait for a train before spending ninety minutes of your life (Just $2.70 in mortgage payments!!!) to ride to Union Station, where you can walk, take Metro, or hail a cab to work. At the end of the day, the same in reverse. This is at least four hours a day just getting to and from work. That leaves the rest of your day to get dressed, eat dinner, and watch one episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” assuming you have any left to curb.

The area codes give them away: 304. West Virginia. The best of both Virginias they’re talking about means you can live in Appalachia, only passing through the execution capital of the world on your way to and from work. That’s what’s worth $1,396 a month. Just $7.20 in mortgage payments for each day’s commute. And people will jump on them.

You can’t make this shit up.

Oh, yeah. Happy New Year.

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