Back in the early days I absolutely loved being in the Motor Trade it was fantastic, there were some great characters about and this is a story about the only person I have ever met that has worse luck than me, it goes back to the times when customers were mostly honest and it was relatively ok to take cheques off them. This particular Dealers run of bad luck started when he sold an old Volvo to a customer, the car was about £95 and was way past its sell-by date it was ok for a run around so long as the new owner remembered to stay on a bus route he would always be able to get home.

The customer was well dressed and seemed respectable, he wanted to take the car straight away and my friend wouldn’t have chance to clear the cheque, the Dealer decided that it wasn’t a lot of money to risk and rather than lose the sale he would take a chance and let it go, the guy had given a local address so if worse came to the worst he could just go and repossess the car using the spare key which he kept back.

What the Dealer didn’t know was that the “Customer” was on his way to London and was buying the car just to get there he had no intention of keeping it, he had used a stolen cheque book and given a false address, but it all came to light later that afternoon when he got a call from the Metropolitan Police to say that a Volvo had been found abandoned 220 miles away on the hard shoulder of the M1, the keys were still in the ignition and the documents and  invoice were on the passenger seat, they had checked the buyers address and there was no such person, so then they contacted the seller.

To make matters worse they had tried to move the car to a safer place and discovered that the engine was seized, it would have to be recovered to their compound at a cost of £150.00 and the Dealer would have to pay it, it would also cost him another £150 to get the car back to Preston but at least he thought to himself that his luck couldn’t get any worse, this is a fatal error and is the Motor Trades way of lulling you into a false sense of security.

A few weeks later a customer came in wanting to buy a car the problem was that he didn’t have any money, what he did have was a boat on the Lancaster Canal called the (can’t remember the real name) SS Minnow just moored a short way down the towpath from a particular bridge on the A6, the Dealer had always wanted a boat and imagined the fun he could have relaxing on it, so he said he would go and take a look at it and if it was ok he would swap it for a car of equal value, the customer gave him the keys to his boat and agreed to return the next day to sort out a deal.

A short way down the embankment the dealer found the SS Minnow and went aboard, he tried the key in the lock and although it was a little finicky he managed to open it and have a good look round, with a little work this boat would be ideal he’d be able to boast to the other members at the golf club that he’d got a boat and as soon as he got fed up of it, so long as he got it for the right price he would be able to make a handsome profit.

The customer returned the next day and the Dealer “bid him in the balls” (Offered him a lot less than the boat was worth to destroy the customer’s expectations and start off the negotiation) but to his surprise the customer seemed delighted, he agreed the deal straight away and drove off in his new car shortly afterward with a big smile on his face, the Dealer had an even bigger smile on his face and was looking forward to his day off.

The definition of a “Deal” is An agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit, this the Dealer thought was a great deal, he couldn’t believe his luck and was still smiling at the weekend while he was sanding down and revarnishing the wood on his new boat, his smile disappeared when quite a large guy jumped on board the boat and demanded to know what he was doing on “HIS” boat.

The Dealer explained that he had bought the boat a week earlier off a Mr Carter, the modern-day Pirate replied  “Nope, that’s Carters wreck down there Stinking up the view but thanks for painting my boat” a little further down the towpath was another boat called the SS Minnow, it wasn’t in anywhere near as good condition as its namesake, but the key turned in the door a hell of a lot easier.

The moral of the story is, In This Life There are No Free Lunches and If a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is!