Happy sales to you

First, let me say that I regret that I have but one tractor to give for my country.

For sale. Having faced our pack rat ways, my spouse and I were moved to, well, bust a move and do something about it.

We decided, wisely, to start with the tractor. I figured this was a large enough and utterly useless thing that if I could sell that, I could certainly find a buyer for the antique bidet, two basketball hoops, and assortment of general junk we have lying around.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Now, there are people who can sell things.

Auctioneers, for example, have honed this to a fine art. On any given day a fairly competent auctioneer can, with the proper cadence, incite crowds to near riotous frenzy over anything from soup to nuts and the kitchen sink to boot.

Not to mention the occasional clump of mud or dented pop can if the crowd is in just the right buying mood.

Last summer, an eBay seller successfully listed, I kid you not, “a ghost in a jar.”

Worse (or better?) yet, he actually managed to get a fairly good price on it – clearly a man with a calling.

Out of the league. I am so not in his league. I couldn’t even give away Beanie Babies during that whole craze.

I live in fear of ever having to sell my house mainly because I imagine having to offer free gifts with purchase just to get a bite.

Finally, I am one of those people who routinely box up and give away items that will later be sold by the recipient at their own yard sales and really, I’m OK with this.

Affliction. My anti-sales stance is undoubtedly due to my two part affliction: a) no interest and b) no patience.

Mainly, I have next to no interest in whiling away the hours on seller standby while a succession of “tire kickers” check out the goods.

I’ve got nearly no patience with a gaggle of potential buyers (or professional lookers) telling me what a bunch of junk I have.

For that I don’t have to advertise. I have perfectly lovely friends willing to pronounce my junk as utterly beneath them for free.

Got to go. Nonetheless, having pushed, pulled, and dragged the non-functioning tractor to various points of our property over the past two years, we knew that something had to give - or more appropriately, sell.

Never one to gild the lily, I was unfailingly honest in my assessment of our tractor.

The term “non working” featured prominently in my sultry siren call to potential tractor buyers.

I think I might’ve also mentioned that it had wheels, round ones even (!), but after that it was all very vague.

Calls upon calls. By the evening of the first day of advertising we had received something like 37 telephone calls.

We received calls upon calls, sometimes two or three via call waiting while we were fielding other calls.

One caller telephoning back and insisting, at 9 p.m. mind you, that he simply had to see it that very night.

I envisioned legions of lovely old farmers and strapping young tractor buyers camped out on my front lawn awaiting their viewing. It’s not a bad visual mind you.

Demand and luck. In our usual, non-sales savvy mode, we had apparently completely failed to comprehend that we had the last non-running tractor in America at the very moment that there was an unprecedented demand for just that very thing!

What luck! What timing!

What a disaster!

Clueless. Since all that I know about tractors you could stuff in a walnut, it was decided early on that it was best I not interact with buyers.

Nonetheless, in the deluge, more than one hapless caller was treated to my vast knowledge and technical expertise as I described the tractor, to the best of my abilities, as “yellow, with a scoopy thing on the front.”

Going, going, gone. Needless to say, with that kind of expert salesmanship firmly behind it, the tractor sold almost immediately.

Not wanting to go down in history as having given some poor guy a bum steer on the little tractor that couldn’t, we were unfailingly honest about the problems that plagued the beast.

Never in the history of sales has the term “as is” gotten such a workout.

I believe we broached the possibility of everything up to and including random meteor strikes, gremlins, and demonic possession.

Sell it all. Nonetheless, I’m so impressed with my first successful foray into actual, successful, salesmanship that I’m now casting about for something, anything to sell.

All of which leaves my spouse just a wee bit fearful that I might just sell anything that’s not nailed down while he’s not there to stop me.

Silly, as if being nailed down could stop me.

However, if all those people who were so hot for a tractor could just see themselves clear to buy a nice little bidet, I might have just the sweet little deal for them.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt will not be giving up her day job for sales. She welcomes comments c/o kseabolt@epohi.com or P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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