Friday, April 06, 2007

I love stupid people- The car show version

The Charlotte Auto Fair starts on April 12 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The spring show is a much larger event than the fall show with more than 100,000 people attending. I have set up there as a vendor for the last few years. I love going for several reasons. I usually sell a lot of stuff and I get to hang out with a bunch of B.S. artists and practice my craft.

My older son describes my sales style as "heckling". If you pass in front of my spaces, I'm talking to you. Over the last few years, I have met a host of people who left me wondering how they found their way from West Virginia to Concord (The Charlotte Motor Speedway is, of course, not in Charlotte).

One of my favorite stories happened a few years ago at the fall show. The guy set up across from me had a trailer about 25 feet long that carried his stuff. He towed it in with a Chevy truck and then took his truck home and drove a car back. The car was a 1961 Ford that he was trying to sell. Friday afternoon, we were standing talking when two morons stopped to look at his trailer. One asked, "Do you pull that trailer with that Ford?" My buddy replied, "Sure, it has plenty of power." Moron #2 then asked, "Isn't that trailer a fifth wheel model with that gooseneck? How can you tow that with a car?" My buddy responded "The fifth wheel bracket is in the trunk. I just open the trunk and use bungee cords to tie the lid forward. Then I hook up the trailer and go." Unable to control my laughter, I walked away. Moron #1 chimed in at this point, "Man, I would sure like to see how that works." My friend Barnum told him "Well, be here tomorrow around 5:00 when I pack up." After the intellectually challenged pair walked away, I asked him, "What are you going to do if they show up tomorrow?" He responded simply, "Do YOU think that they can find their way back here again?" He's right.

Last year, I was trying to sell an M101A1 trailer that I bought from the Army in a surplus sale. I put a simple sign on it, "For Sale, M101A1 trailer, $550". I put the sign on the front of the trailer. It didn't take long to reel one in. About 30 minutes went by before some Einstein strolled up. He read the sign and asked "Is this the trailer that you are selling?" I looked around to make sure that someone had not sneaked another trailer into my space. "That would be the one." He then explained, "I know all about these military trailers and this is NOT an M101A1. Your sign is wrong." At this point my attitude changed abruptly. " Pal, I may not be an EXPERT like you claim to be, BUT I can read. If you will give this data plate here on the trailer your attention, you will see that this has been an M101A since it was manufactured in 1967. The title also claims that it is an M101A1. But if you want to argue, put your ass on the road to Fort Bragg where I picked it up and argue with them. Any more questions?" He slinked away to tell some other guy that his Chevy is really a Ford.

Last year, I had a box of long-handled brushes that I was trying to sell. The brushes were about 18" long and might have been drafting brushes or some kind of workbench brushes. I put a sign on the box "Brushes, $1 each, Brush your car, brush your workbench, get kinky with your wife." I actually sold several of them. Saturday morning a woman stopped to read my brush sign. She read the sign, looked up at me, read the sign again, and looked at me. "I don't care for your sign." I ended our conversation with "My wife didn't like it either! Do you want to buy one?" She was gone in the blink of an eye.

My favorite quick question and answer session goes something like this and happens dozens of times a day. Someone walks up, picks an item off the table, and asks "Is this for sale?" I usually look around to make sure that I am still at the car show and respond, "Yes, it is for sale. The museum department is that table over there."

Check back in a couple of weeks for the 2007 version.


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