Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gotta love the "small town he said, she said"

Really.  I know Jason Aldean used the phrase to refer to the negative side of it, but there are good things about, "small town he said, she said," too.  People know each other's troubles and can support and pray for each other.  We rejoice in the exciting things our neighbors and friends have happening.  We are much more inter-connected than those neighbors living in many urban and even suburban areas.  But yes, everyone knows everything about everybody else; and sometimes half of what they think they know is not an accurate portrayal of the situation.

So there's good and bad, as with most situations on this earth.

But today we were blessed by a little of the good side of, "small town he said, she said."  It helped us sell a car.  Here's how it happened. 

I was sitting and reading while having my coffee.  The phone rang, and Donna picked it up before I could intercept her.  As she was trying to figure out how to answer, or what to respond, I whispered, "Let Mama talk, please." 

She then said politely into the phone, "Here's my Mama."

The man on the other end of the line started out with this, "I just talked your boy at the Cenex."

"Oh, dear," thought I, "what now?"  But then I thought a bit further, "He didn't introduce himself as law enforcement, Mary, so it's probably not too bad."

He explained that he was looking for a cheap used car and Matt said we had one.

"Cool, come on out and look."

When he got here, he poked around a bit in the '92 Olds 88; and I tried to remember all of its foibles.  There were three things that were somewhat basic repairs, but Joe did not feel up to tackling them with our disordered and somewhat meager "shop."  And those three things, as I remembered, would have maybe come to $100 to do ourselves, but quite possibly less.  But to pay someone, each was potentially a $150-$250 job.  We didn't want to put possibly upwards of $500 into a car with very, very high miles and for which we only paid $500 three years ago.  So basically it's a decent car for getting from point A to point B.  But it needs some TLC.  We stopped driving it last spring when the wires from one of the tires started poking through and scraping the inside of the rim.  The other thing I remembered was some sort of tie rod, ball joint, or front end steering kind of thing.  But that third thing...I just could not remember.  Until after this man started the car.  Then I remembered.  The deep reverberations rumbling from underneath instantly gave it away. 

"The exhaust system needs work!"  I explained rather loudly.  "That's what the third thing is!" 

"What are you asking?"

"My husband thinks he can get $300 at the scrap metal place, but it's also extra time and work for him to get it there, so with that in mind, make an offer."

"I'll pay you $300 today.  Let me go get my trailer."

Wow!  Easy!  Very cool!

We got to visiting a little bit and I asked how he happened to get talking used cars with Matt at Cenex on a school morning.

He explained that he is the cousin of Scott G., who runs the service station area of the Cenex in Oklee.  Scott has worked on our vehicles a number of times.  And Scott's son, Zach, is one of Matt's buddies.  I don't know if it was out at the gas pumps, or at the pay counter; or perhaps Matt was in the shop before school checking with Scott about something on his Dodge Charger.  But regardless of where they were, Matt, Scott and John (for that's his name, I found out later) were present when John told Scott he hadn't found a car.  John was looking for something other than his truck to get back and forth to work.  (Keep in mind that we have big open spaces around here, with many miles to drive in any direction before getting to most places of employment.  When the price of gas goes up, people notice a big difference.) 

After hearing that John was looking for a car, Matt spoke up, "We've got a used one.  My dad's hauling it to the scrap metal recycling this week, if we don't find a buyer."

And so we sold the car.  Very quickly and smoothly.  And got $300 for it.  As John said, it's harder and harder these days to find an inexpensive used car.  And for someone who's got a little time to work on it himself, it's a pretty good deal.  But also considering that he said he put $150 in gas into his truck each week, it wouldn't take many weeks to save enough to make up the difference, even if he paid someone else to work on it.

But, oh!  Joe!  You owe me.  You owe me BIG!  I cannot believe how much trash I picked out of there.  Ugh!  And chew bottles!  Gross!  About six of them!  I apologized profusely for all the little stuff I couldn't pick out.  And the gravel and sand that was deep on some part of the floor.  But John seemed cool with it.  He just kept saying, "You don't get much for $300.  I'm happy to have found it."

And the car is no longer sitting in our driveway in that "Rio Linda" kind of way.  Oh, wait.  That's Matt's Sunfire that makes our yard look like Rio Linda.  It's even up on blocks with the rear tires off.   But probably, since the cars we buy are so near the end of their lives anyway, probably any of our vehicles might make a yard look kind of run down. 

But it works for us.

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