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      08-24-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
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Renting a car for 3 months. Advice needed!

I'm a college student (junior) and since I will be going abroad in the Sprng, it's not economically worth it to ship my 335is for 3 months from LA to Baltimore and then ship it back 3 months later.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this... But since I do need transportation and ZipCar won't accept an application because I was involved in an accident in 2011 (regardless of fault, ZipCar has been nothing but incompetent when speaking with me, even after letters from my insurance company.

I'm rambling, so regardless, other then having a town car on call a few times a month (current situation ... $25/hr during the day, $45/hr weekends/week nights, but I need to use him at least 4-5hrs each time), I was wondering if its economical to rent/lease a C250 or 328i or something of the sort for 3 months.

I have absolutely no idea how this works (or if its even possible). Just trying to keep my options open! Any advice is much appreciated!

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      08-24-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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my first impression after reading ABROAD was that you are going some other country. i would call rent a car companies and inquire how much would they charge also i would inquire how much it would cost to ship car ABROAD and also i would research how much it would cost find taxi service in ABORAD, also i would also look into buying beater and sell it before i leave ABROAD
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      08-24-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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my first impression after reading ABROAD was that you are going some other country. i would call rent a car companies and inquire how much would they charge also i would inquire how much it would cost to ship car ABROAD and also i would research how much it would cost find taxi service in ABORAD, also i would also look into buying beater and sell it before i leave ABROAD
I'm going abroad to Japan in the spring, only for one semester. I'm here now for the fall semester, and am looking for something to rent until December.

My senior year, after my studies in Japan, I will be for sure shipping my 335is from LA to Baltimore for the whole school year. It's just not worth it to ship it now, then back to LA in December (and then back once again to school in fall 2014).[I would NOT be taking it to Japan, but I would also not leave it in Baltimore, but at my parents house in LA through the summer)].
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      08-24-2013, 07:05 PM   #4
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I travel for business some 60% of the year. I just pick up whatever is in the aisle at National Car Rental's airport locations. They usually have a fair selection of typical cars. All are sufficient for functional transportation. Though I use National most often, you may find that other companies are cheaper, but Hertz and Avis won't be those companies.

In the DC/Baltimore area there are quite a few places from which you can rent pretty well anything you want. Enterprise Car Rental generally maintains a booth in most new car dealerships, and in most cases you can expect they will have available cars that correspond to the brand of dealership at which a given booth is installed.

Enterprise at the BMW dealer I use has half a dozen or so F30 328i cars. They may have other models. All the ones I've encountered are base cars and sparsely optioned. That said, I still prefer that to an Altima. If you specifically want a BMW, or MB or Audi, etc. you'll want to speak with the folks who work that specific booth and find out when one of their [insert the brand you want] brand cars will return and ask them to reserve it for you. The reason for needing to do that is because they (Enterprise) are typically in the dealership to support the dealer's need for overflow free loaners. So, that being the case, you'll likely have better luck getting something specific if the dealer you go to offers free loaner cars.

If you don't want to go with Enterprise, and still want a premium car that isn't available from one of the national rental companies, use Google. There are several companies in the area that rent premium cars, even Astons, Ferraris, Bentleys, etc.

All the best and good luck. Oh, and no, there is absolutely nothing economical about renting a 328 or something like it, unless by "economical," you mean, more cost effective than hiring a private driver or renting a Bentley. LOL

PS
I can't believe at your age you aren't keen to drive across the US. It takes about 6 days (if you aren't just outright hurrying). I would have jumped at the chance to do that when I was 18-21, but the opportunity never came. Ce la vie.
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      08-24-2013, 07:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tony20009 View Post
I travel for business some 60% of the year. I just pick up whatever is in the aisle at National Car Rental's airport locations. They usually have a fair selection of typical cars. All are sufficient for functional transportation. Though I use National most often, you may find that other companies are cheaper, but Hertz and Avis won't be those companies.

In the DC/Baltimore area there are quite a few places from which you can rent pretty well anything you want. Enterprise Car Rental generally maintains a booth in most new car dealerships, and in most cases you can expect they will have available cars that correspond to the brand of dealership at which a given booth is installed.

Enterprise at the BMW dealer I use has half a dozen or so F30 328i cars. They may have other models. All the ones I've encountered are base cars and sparsely optioned. That said, I still prefer that to an Altima. If you specifically want a BMW, or MB or Audi, etc. you'll want to speak with the folks who work that specific booth and find out when one of their [insert the brand you want] brand cars will return and ask them to reserve it for you. The reason for needing to do that is because they (Enterprise) are typically in the dealership to support the dealer's need for overflow free loaners. So, that being the case, you'll likely have better luck getting something specific if the dealer you go to offers free loaner cars.

If you don't want to go with Enterprise, and still want a premium car that isn't available from one of the national rental companies, use Google. There are several companies in the area that rent premium cars, even Astons, Ferraris, Bentleys, etc.

All the best and good luck. Oh, and no, there is absolutely nothing economical about renting a 328 or something like it, unless by "economical," you mean, more cost effective than hiring a private driver or renting a Bentley. LOL

PS
I can't believe at your age you aren't keen to drive across the US. It takes about 6 days (if you aren't just outright hurrying). I would have jumped at the chance to do that when I was 18-21, but the opportunity never came. Ce la vie.

Thank you for the info!!! Extremely helpful

And yes, I wanted to drive cross country, but being the younges child, by far, my parents (well my mom especially) treat me like I'm their baby, and I always will be. While I'm still living in their roof at home in LA and as long as they are paying my tuition, I am under their rules.
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      08-24-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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Thank you for the info!!! Extremely helpful ... While I'm still living in their roof ..., I am under their rules.
I can fully appreciate that. I had the same rules and all three of my kids suffer them as well. I wouldn't be keen on any of them -- especially my daughter, but only because of her youth and gender -- making the drive alone, but I wouldn't mind letting them do it with one of their friends whom I felt is responsible. I'd fly their friend back home.

BTW and FWIW, if you've not been to the DC/Balto area before, here are some tips that may aid you in your travels around the area:
  • The drive from Balto is pretty much interstate all the way from downtown to downtown and takes 45 - 75 minutes,
  • There is pretty good public transportation in DC. It's not quite as good in Balto, but if you are of a mind to go to DC for a night of collegiate-age partying in bars, take Amtrak or the MARC train. You'll find the MARC + taxis in DC itself about the same cost as a quarter tank of gas, and cheaper by far than a DUI/DWI ticket and/or accident. Depending on the time of your travel, you may have to take the MARC to DC and the Amtrac back to Balto. When I was a kid, I had a couple friends who would regularly come down from Balto, party all night with us, grab breakfast at a Georgetowne restaurant and catch the 4 a.m. train back to Balto.
  • On the East Coast, when mentioning a road by referring to its numeric identifier, do not use the definite article. Instead, say, "...on I95...", or just ..."95 South..." One never says "...the 95..."
Good luck. Travel safely, and have a great semester and a wonderful time overseas.
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      08-24-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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I can fully appreciate that. I had the same rules and all three of my kids suffer them as well. I wouldn't be keen on any of them -- especially my daughter, but only because of her youth and gender -- making the drive alone, but I wouldn't mind letting them do it with one of their friends whom I felt is responsible. I'd fly their friend back home.

BTW and FWIW, if you've not been to the DC/Balto area before, here are some tips that may aid you in your travels around the area:
  • The drive from Balto is pretty much interstate all the way from downtown to downtown and takes 45 - 75 minutes,
  • There is pretty good public transportation in DC. It's not quite as good in Balto, but if you are of a mind to go to DC for a night of collegiate-age partying in bars, take Amtrak or the MARC train. You'll find the MARC + taxis in DC itself about the same cost as a quarter tank of gas, and cheaper by far than a DUI/DWI ticket and/or accident. Depending on the time of your travel, you may have to take the MARC to DC and the Amtrac back to Balto. When I was a kid, I had a couple friends who would regularly come down from Balto, party all night with us, grab breakfast at a Georgetowne restaurant and catch the 4 a.m. train back to Balto.
  • On the East Coast, when mentioning a road by referring to its numeric identifier, do not use the definite article. Instead, say, "...on I95...", or just ..."95 South..." One never says "...the 95..."
Good luck. Travel safely, and have a great semester and a wonderful time overseas.
Thanks! Tips are much appreciated. I'm a junior now, so I've been in Baltimore for two full school years already. I go to Johns Hopkins and the transportation from the school to the harbor/downtown is great... But that's about it. Trying to get anywhere else (especially for grocery shopping) is a nightmare. And I'm not too keen on the Hopkins neighborhood.

Getting to DC is easy. Amtrak and MARC are great! My main use of the car would be for trips to Costco, markets, recreational activities with friends and visiting friends at other east coast universities (Loyola/Towson/UMaryland in MD, and schools like Penn, NYU etc), etc.
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      08-24-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
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Thanks! Tips are much appreciated. I'm a junior now, so I've been in Baltimore for two full school years already. I go to Johns Hopkins and the transportation from the school to the harbor/downtown is great... But that's about it. Trying to get anywhere else (especially for grocery shopping) is a nightmare. And I'm not too keen on the Hopkins neighborhood.

Getting to DC is easy. Amtrak and MARC are great! My main use of the car would be for trips to Costco, markets, recreational activities with friends and visiting friends at other east coast universities (Loyola/Towson/UMaryland in MD, and schools like Penn, NYU etc), etc.
Oh, so you are really just going to do "one off" rentals? If that's the case, renting a car is by far the way to go. Certainly renting a premium car that way is economical compared to renting one on a monthly basis. Generally, you'll find the daily, advertised rates on cars like a 328i run between $68/day and $120/day.

The biggest challenge you'll encounter, however, is likely to be your age. There is one company -- Next Car -- that only requires one to be 21, but they levy a surcharge if you are under 25, but at least they'll rent to you if you are 21. Many rental companies won't.

I'd wondered if you were at Hopkins or Loyola. I periodically visit a relative who lives in B-more, but she's uptown in the Homeland neighborhood. If your soul is ever in jeopardy, it's a good place to go; there's seems to be a Catholic church in every other block.
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      08-24-2013, 08:27 PM   #9
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Oh, so you are really just going to do "one off" rentals? If that's the case, renting a car is by far the way to go. Certainly renting a premium car that way is economical compared to renting one on a monthly basis. Generally, you'll find the daily, advertised rates on cars like a 328i run between $68/day and $120/day.

The biggest challenge you'll encounter, however, is likely to be your age. There is one company -- Next Car -- that only requires one to be 21, but they levy a surcharge if you are under 25, but at least they'll rent to you if you are 21. Many rental companies won't.

I'd wondered if you were at Hopkins or Loyola. I periodically visit a relative who lives in B-more, but she's uptown in the Homeland neighborhood. If your soul is ever in jeopardy, it's a good place to go; there's seems to be a Catholic church in every other block.
Haha, sounds good!

And, age is an issue. I'm 20 and don't turn 21 until next semester when I am in Japan.

I might just try pleading ZipCar again. Maybe I will speak to someone willing to hear my case this time! (My first car was totaled by a driver running a red light while I was in a turn lane - ZipCar has heard the story and seen letters from my insurance, but as of last school year they also weren't budging until I was 21, at which time I will have my 335is over here).

Thanks again for all the advice and information. I'll most likely just stick with the town car driver my mom spoke to. $25/hr isn't bad and I will probably be needed the car for those 4-5 hours anyways (the drivers prices depend on how long I use him for and weekday/weekend)
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      08-24-2013, 09:14 PM   #10
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..I'll most likely just stick with the town car driver my mom spoke to. $25/hr isn't bad ...
$25/hour is far better than "not bad." I generally have a driver take me to the airport, which is a flat rate trip; however, in Los Angeles, I have a driver his rate is more than double that. Red Top in DC is $50/hour if you are using them as a chauffeur for the evening.
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      08-24-2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Japan. My clients are in Tokyo, so that's the only city there I know. Regardless of what city you are in, make it a point to go to the city docks for sushi. I am a fan of Take Sushi on Sunset in L.A., but good as it is there, it doesn't compare to toro that arrived fresh from the ocean earlier that morning, which is what you will find at the docks.
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      08-24-2013, 09:29 PM   #12
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Japan. My clients are in Tokyo, so that's the only city there I know. Regardless of what city you are in, make it a point to go to the city docks for sushi. I am a fan of Take Sushi on Sunset in L.A., but good as it is there, it doesn't compare to toro that arrived fresh from the ocean earlier that morning, which is what you will find at the docks.
Exactly, I can't wait! My dad has a client in Tokyo as well and I may be able to get an internship while studying there, but if nothing else, I'll have people showing me the ropes!

I will be studying at Sophia University in Tokyo for the semester.
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      08-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #13
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$25/hour is far better than "not bad." I generally have a driver take me to the airport, which is a flat rate trip; however, in Los Angeles, I have a driver his rate is more than double that. Red Top in DC is $50/hour if you are using them as a chauffeur for the evening.
Right, usually it's about $80/hr with 2 hrs min, or a flat 80-100 to LAX.

His rate is so low because my min is 4 or 5 hrs. Plus, on weekends and at night, the rate goes up to $45/hr and my min is still 4 hrs.
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      08-25-2013, 04:00 PM   #14
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what's wrong with public transportation?
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      08-25-2013, 04:05 PM   #15
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what's wrong with public transportation?
It's pretty bad by Hopkins. Hopkins shuttle and the downtown circulator are great. But using college shuttles to get to the mall or grocery store is an absolute nightmare. Other public transportation is also extremely sketchy in the area.
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      08-25-2013, 09:32 PM   #16
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Fortunately I live close enough to home such that I can drive to campus in a reasonable amount of time and so I've never done this, but it sounds like an intriguing idea -

What if you just outright buy a 15+ year old used, reliable, Japanese econobox (Civic? Accord?) outright? It'll probably cost you $3k or $4k. You drive it for the few months you're at college, and then you sell it once you're ready. Your total cost of ownership will be depreciation plus liability insurance (cheaper than full coverage) plus opportunity costs of not having that money invested.

A '99 Civic EX goes for $3900. A '98 Civic EX goes for around $3700. A '97 Civic EX goes for around $3400. Granted I've presented just 3 data points, but at this stage (15+ year old car), the depreciation curve seems to be relatively shallow.

Here's a fringe benefit - you'll eventually get used to driving a slow and relatively boring economy car while at college. This will make coming back to your 335iS all the more pleasurable.

Second fringe benefit - you get to indulge in a little "stealth wealth" this way . Driving a car (or hell, just living) well below your means can be an interesting and insightful experience.

Anyways, it's just something to think about. I don't know how this plan would compare to zipcar rentals.

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      08-25-2013, 10:32 PM   #17
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A 3 series will run you around $100/day on average as it has been said, plus being under 25 there is a big surcharge by most major rental companies. If you just need a set of wheels there, buy a DD for $1000 off craiglist and leave it there after. There plenty of cars there which will run and look good(Huindai, Volvo..etc). That is your best bet.

And yes, I do have experience with every outcome. Good luck!
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      08-26-2013, 09:16 AM   #18
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Fortunately I live close enough to home such that I can drive to campus in a reasonable amount of time and so I've never done this, but it sounds like an intriguing idea -

What if you just outright buy a 15+ year old used, reliable, Japanese econobox (Civic? Accord?) outright? It'll probably cost you $3k or $4k. You drive it for the few months you're at college, and then you sell it once you're ready. Your total cost of ownership will be depreciation plus liability insurance (cheaper than full coverage) plus opportunity costs of not having that money invested.

A '99 Civic EX goes for $3900. A '98 Civic EX goes for around $3700. A '97 Civic EX goes for around $3400. Granted I've presented just 3 data points, but at this stage (15+ year old car), the depreciation curve seems to be relatively shallow.

Here's a fringe benefit - you'll eventually get used to driving a slow and relatively boring economy car while at college. This will make coming back to your 335iS all the more pleasurable.

Second fringe benefit - you get to indulge in a little "stealth wealth" this way . Driving a car (or hell, just living) well below your means can be an interesting and insightful experience.

Anyways, it's just something to think about. I don't know how this plan would compare to zipcar rentals.

ZipCar is my best bet... I'm just not sure if I can get one as explained in one of my posts above.

Shipping the car is $700-$1000 each way depending on season, so that would be cheaper than buying a beater car. (Even though I guess I would make the money back selling the car).

In all honesty, my best bet is to just live this semester with cabs and the driver I mentioned in my OP, enjoy winter back home in LA, do my abroad semester (no need for a car in Tokyo!) and then take my car back my senior year.
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      08-26-2013, 02:25 PM   #19
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Ever think about doing a lease transfer for 4 months left? Depending on your credit and parents being able to cosign, that might be a good option. Get a lease trade with 4 mons or w/e left at $299 a month, and boom you're set. Out the door for a base 3er or C-Class for $1200+gas and insurance.
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      08-26-2013, 05:07 PM   #20
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Ever think about doing a lease transfer for 4 months left? Depending on your credit and parents being able to cosign, that might be a good option. Get a lease trade with 4 mons or w/e left at $299 a month, and boom you're set. Out the door for a base 3er or C-Class for $1200+gas and insurance.
I never even thought of that. My parents have near perfect credit and Ive been building mine as well, so that shouldn't be an issue.

I will definitely check online to see if anyone has a listing like that in the Baltimore/DC area.

Thanks for the suggestion! Awesome F-430 btw!
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      08-26-2013, 07:15 PM   #21
CJPatel
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Originally Posted by SaMaster14 View Post
I never even thought of that. My parents have near perfect credit and Ive been building mine as well, so that shouldn't be an issue.

I will definitely check online to see if anyone has a listing like that in the Baltimore/DC area.

Thanks for the suggestion! Awesome F-430 btw!
The credit will definitely help, but you said you're 20? You might be able to get the lease on your name. You probably only need a FICO of 700 to get approved for a basic lease. I forgot there are transfer fees and what not, but some people will help you out with them if they are desperate to get out.

Thanks, I love it, getting it wrapped in satin white next month. Should be sick.

Nice 335iS, love the exhaust on those. My buddy has one and it looks and sounds great.
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      08-28-2013, 02:09 AM   #22
tony20009
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Originally Posted by NemesisX View Post
...
What if you just outright buy a 15+ year old used, reliable, Japanese econobox (Civic? Accord?) outright? It'll probably cost you $3k or $4k. You drive it for the few months you're at college, and then you sell it once you're ready. Your total cost of ownership will be depreciation plus liability insurance (cheaper than full coverage) plus opportunity costs of not having that money invested...

A '99 Civic EX goes for $3900. A '98 Civic EX goes for around $3700. A '97 Civic EX goes for around $3400. Granted I've presented just 3 data points, but at this stage (15+ year old car), the depreciation curve seems to be relatively shallow.
That's not a bad idea either. If one doesn't mind the hassle of selling it. Then again, if it's titled in the OP's parent's name, costing just $3K-$4K, if selling it became too much hassle, they could just donate to a charity in B-more and take the tax deduction. (Or the OP could take it if he itemizes.)

You're right about the devaluation on old cars. My '93 318i was worth about $4K in '07 when I gave it away. They are still selling for $4K. BTW, though price-wise an old BMW would work just as well, I wouldn't recommend it for someone who's in school. Too expensive, to much risk of high repair costs. For functional transportation, a Honda et al like it is a wiser choice. Of course, if you one find an excellent E36, and I do mean excellent in every sense, for $4K, it'd be the thing to do for the risk is very low that it'll need a lot of costly repairs and and the E36s didn't have all the fancy gizmos on the motors that today's cars do.



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Originally Posted by NemesisX View Post
Here's a fringe benefit - you'll eventually get used to driving a slow and relatively boring economy car while at college. This will make coming back to your 335iS all the more pleasurable.

Second fringe benefit - you get to indulge in a little "stealth wealth" this way ...

Anyways, it's just something to think about. I don't know how this plan would compare to zipcar rentals.
I like your posts NemesisX. They are consistently thoughtful and are occasionally funny too.

Red Text: Can't speak for you, but I love my 335i enough that just waking up and driving it is a total joy. I drive rental cars a lot but I think I love driving my car the same even if I didn't. I don't need too much incentive to like it.

Green Text: It doesn't get more stealthily wealthy than walking. LOL

OP: For grocery shopping and general errand running, if you don't have wheels of your own, coordinating your excursions with a roommate or girlfriend isn't a bad way to go. Taxis are also plentiful in B-more.

Note: (I suspect you know this, but I don't know you, so I'm just saying..)
If you do happen to go grocery shopping with a male roommate, just be sure you each have your own shopping cart, unless, of course you are sleeping together, which is perfectly fine if you are, but if you aren't...Hopkins isn't that far from Mt. Washington. No point in getting some guy's hopes up unnecessarily. Ditto if you do so with a girl there's no way in Hell you'd want to be, in the minds of others, romantically linked to. No point in shutting off a good opportunity that might come knocking. (Exception to the rule: if the only thing in the cart is partying supplies - chips, drinks, etc.)
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