Friday, April 28, 2006

The way of the weasel

Spring has at last arrived, and with it the task of beating the great outdoors into submission. Please understand, I love Bag-End, my home, with all my heart. But it IS 5 acres. And that means mowing a big-ass lawn, one of the least fun tasks ever created. We were lucky that a riding mower came with the property. But mowing the verge takes anywhere between 6 hours and three days. At the poor machine is just not up to taking on the hills and muddy valleys so they often go untouched.

So I wheedled and whined and my lovely wife agreed to go look at bigger mowers. Powerful machines with engines that could power a small airplane and wide mowing decks that can cut a path of destruction through the ever encroaching greenness outside.

We looked at several models which looked nice and promissing.I will not bore you with the details of mower tech, suffice to say that I was slightly aroused by the power these machines possessed. Then the friendly salesman told us how much one of these things costs. Sweet Jeebus! And that's before you add any baggers, plows, heated cupholders or special mowing hats.

I was about to despair. It looked like I would be spending my entire Friday chugging around the back 40 on ole Betsy. But then I remembered a piece of my own advice. Front time to time some nice young person will come into my corset shop and poke around. When I approach and ask them if they want to try something on they smile and say "Oh, I'm just looking, I can't afford one of these."

I could just let them go and consider myself lucky that I didn't waste my time. But I don't, for several reasons.

1. They could well by lying.
2. They are depriving themselves of an opportunity.

I don't clue them in to No 1. but I do tell them that the last thing you EVER want to do is tell a salesman that you can't afford it. Once I know that you are not a viable customer I have little incentive to treat you with anything besides mild contempt. After all, you aren't buying. But I really have no way of knowing for sure if you are a struggling liberal arts major or a trust fund child. I tell these innocent persons that so long as I believe that I MIGHT be able to sell them something I will treat them like royalty. I tell them about the time that I got to go on a 60 mph ride on a $260,000 cigarette boat because the owner believed I just might be interested in buying it. If I had been honest, I wouldn't have gotten the ride.

So I followed my own advice and asked about the second most expensive model. Warranty? Financing options? Can I get spinners and ground effects? And then I simply said "Well, I'd really have to try one of these out at my property before I decided" And what do you know, they offer to deliver a demo model right to my house ... for free.

Sure enough, the mower arrived today and I finished the lawn in record time with only minor damage to some trees. Oh and there was that small accident at the edge of the pond, but Rossana helped me tow it out with the van and it seemed none the worse for wear.

The salesman called up to ask how it worked and I said it was great. I was about to tell him that we would "think about it" (code for thanks for the freebie but we're not made of money) when he said that the demo model was for sale at a substantial discount. Crap, I'd been trapped by my own sales kung-fu. You see, once I get a woman to try one of our corsets on, she very often falls in love with it and has to have it. The mower? Well, we're looking at what we can get for the old one. And maybe I can hold off on a computer upgrade and a few other things...

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Say it isn't so. The mighty Bard felled by salesmanship? I prefer to believe that you planned this whole thing as a means to get the best deal because you were a buyer anyway. The world would cease to turn on it's axis if the consumate seller and storyteller was bested by a mere mortal mower salesman!

Brother of Monkey

Steve said...

The cost of one of these 'pro' mowers can rival the cost of a small car. And we all know that the very BEST salesmen are car salesmen.

He who lives by the sales pitch... well you get the picture.

Anonymous said...

He who lives by the sword...

Anonymous said...

Truely the best salesmen are insurance salesmen. Life insurance to be specific. The real salesman sells you something you don't really need and convinces you that you must have it. For the most part, we need autos, tools to make our lives easier or more productive and places to live. Unless required by law, insurance does none of these things. Nobody really wants to purchase insurance. Your customers may not need a corset, but at least they want to have one.

Brother of Monkey

Ed said...

Pwned

Anonymous said...

What? you didn't consider getting a small herd of sheep?

Nims

Anonymous said...

What? you didn't consider getting a small herd of sheep?

Nims

Steve said...

Rossana has spoken about getting either goats or a small flock of sheep. I am never exactly sure if she is kidding or not. Back when we had our ducks it was great fun to look out the window and see them going somewhere or doing something strange as they were want to do.

I took the mower out to the most rough parts of the back 40 and it performed pretty well. I WANT one of these babies. Of course, we could take that money and pay a local kid with a small lawncare company to do it for the next 3-6 YEARS and we wouldn;t have to do a damn thing. This otion sounds better after a day of doing all the other yard crap that has to get done like chainsawing fallen limbs, mulching, moving rocks and trenching. Oh yeah, and I still haven't finished painting the shop. What to do...

duff said...

Andy W. Corgi says sheepies would be sweet!

Anonymous said...

Sucker.


Sir Constantine

Anonymous said...

In response to Brother of Monkey's comments on insurance:

Make your own decisions about insurance, but it is a smart thing in a lot of cases. It covers you in case something really bad happens so you're not ruined forever.

As someone who had an insurance company cover more than $80,000 in car accident bills, it was well worth it.

Hopefully, all of your car insurance money will disappear and you'll never collect a cent of it back. I wish we were all so lucky.

A bit of advice for everyone: increase your car insurance to make your medical portion of it the maximum allowed. It costs very little but since car accidents are a typical source of major medical bills it can really bail you out.

Killing a fun conversation again with serious shit,

Patrick

Anonymous said...

The sheep may sound like a good idea on the surface but when Monica and I were in Scotland, we were told the sheep generally only last 4-5 years as their teeth wear out and the eventually starve. Of course the occasional trip to the butcher would solve that, if you can get past the fact you would have known that sheep all it's life.

Brother of Monkey

Mike said...

I think new toys are always cool. More horsepower means more cool. Makes me wish I had five acres!