Sunday, August 31, 2008

Projected sales

I've been getting some unusual e-mail ever since I listed our old Neon on Craigslist. We need to sell the Neon because (1) we don't want to keep insuring a car no one is driving; (2) no one will drive it because the brakes are shot; an (3) the cost for fixing everything that's wrong with the car actually approaches the amount we originally paid for the car five years ago. So it's got to go, and the local classified ads weren't much help so we tried Craigslist.

First I was inundated with scam offers from correspondents whose poor grasp of English does not prevent them from communicating the fact that they consider me a gullible fool. I deleted those. Next came the questions from potential buyers who want to know more about the car. I have been honest with these people because frankly, it would be immoral to sell someone a car that won't reliably stop without first informing the buyer of the danger.

A few of these correspondents have remained interested even after I've told them about the brakes and the strap holding up the front bumper and the peeling paint and the short in the speaker wires that makes the sound cut out until you pound on the inside of the passenger's side door. "Sounds like a good project car," said one of them, who plans to pay a visit this afternoon.

Another guy asked me about cams. I don't know anything about cams and, moreover, I don't want to know. One reason I manage to accomplish what I do is that I delegate to others the necessity of knowing about cams. So I confessed my lack of knowledge and he responded by attempting to educate me about cams, and then he confessed that he can't really buy a car right now anyway but he was just curious, so would I please find out what sort of cams the car has?

One woman called me three times in close succession, and it became clear that she was calling her boyfriend in between calls, because she would ask questions preceded by "My boyfriend wants to know..." I wanted to suggest that it would be more efficient if I just talked to him, but I didn't want to alienate a potential customer. She never came for a test-drive.

The one potential customer who did come for a test-drive never drove it. He looked at it, walked around it, listened as my husband told him all about it, and then when the time came for him to take the wheel, he declined. Apparently he's not interested in a project car.

The guy who's coming this afternoon has essentially the same car and would like to buy ours to cannibalize for parts, which sounds like the kind of customer we need. We don't expect to make a fortune on this car, despite what some of those scam offers promise. We just recognize that it's a project car and frankly, right now my life is not in need of any additional projects.

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