Before reading this, click here to read Part 1.
When you’ve got a car advertisement up on the internet you have to answer every call for the duration that the ad is running. Even if you quite clearly stated in the ad that you’re not available between the hours of 9 AM and 5.30 PM and it would be best to email - you still have to answer. Just in case it’s a lovely elderly fellow named Charles who is willing to pay the asking price because he wants a new Sunday car. (Spoiler alert: Charles is still yet to call.)
The text messages, though. Wow. I’m starting to think that when car dealers can’t be bothered going down to the auctions to buy stock, they just go on Gumtree and start texting out daft offers for the sake of it, hoping to find someone incredibly desperate.
My car was listed at £2,800, which is competitive with the market and slightly reduced due to a minor paintwork scrape, it also leaves a little room for negotiations, as I would accept anything above £2,500. Nevertheless, plenty of chancers were keen to text me. One message read: ‘U take £1,300 cash 2day’ which looked more like a ransom message sent from a hostage taker in Sierra Leone, than a genuine enquiry on my beloved car. Needless to say, I didn’t entertain this level of insult and simply replied ‘no mate’ instead of entering negotiations.
There were other examples…
Then, on a quiet Thursday evening, I got a call. A nice man had been looking across the market for a high-mileage Z4 with strict criteria. It must be well presented and backed up with a well-documented history. My car ticked those boxes and we arranged a viewing that Saturday, 1 pm suited him best. I’m usually up at 9 am on a Saturday so that’s slap-bang in the middle of my day. A bit of an inconvenience but it could be worth it, I thought.
I gave the car a quick wash that morning, knowing it could very well be the last time I get to wash it, then I resigned to sitting around, twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the scheduled time. 1 pm came and went, I gave him pretty clear directions, maybe he was caught in traffic? I called at 1.15… no answer. Again at 1.30… no answer… a third and final call at roughly 1.45 - still no answer. Moments after hanging up on his voicemail, I received a text: ‘Sorry mate not interested anymore.’
Brilliant. Saturday well spent, cheers.
Then, on Sunday evening, I had a brainwave. I discovered an ancient method of car sales which has remained largely untouched since before the age of the internet. I got a big piece of cardboard and wrote ‘FOR SALE’ on it with the price, my phone number, the mileage and details of MOT tests.
I put this sign in my windscreen and parked up on the side of a busy road (not in that order) and, lo and behold, a man called Brendan called me the following day. Brendan had been working on a site nearby and walked past the car.
I responded ‘No problem, Brendan, I’m working in the city centre at the moment but I’ll meet you at the car at half 6 and we’ll go for a spin.’ Brendan sounded excited, I too was excited. At exactly half 5 that day, I shutdown my screen and darted from the office - I’m a punctual person and I didn’t want to leave Brendan waiting. That would be rude.
It had been raining in the day and the drops were beading beautifully on my recently-protected fabric roof. The sun had come out too and it was turning into a lovely, fresh evening.
Brendan was about to get his first taste of roof-down motoring in the Z4. ‘Brendan is going to fall in love immediately,’ I thought to myself, and I was elated for him.
Brendan was running late though, because he hadn’t replied to my text at 6.20 saying: “I’m at the car now, Brendan, ready when you are!” Naturally, I assumed he was driving, and it was the tail-end of rush hour so traffic was understandably busy.
I waited until 6.45 to give him a ring… no answer. Oh. Then I called again at 6.50… no answer. “Oh come on not again,” I thought to myself.
7 o’clock… Still no answer. Then, a text at 7.15 “changed mind now sorry mate.”
It’s fine, Brendan, I’ve only been standing by the side of the road waiting for you for 55 minutes… not a problem, ‘mate’.