Back in 2007, I made my 37th pilgrimage to mouse country. My wife and kids were hardcore Disneyites. Me? I was just there for the company. I deal with enough Goofys in real life and the thought of waiting in line to meet yet another one chafed at me. So I told my wife that I would spend the next day visiting my own wonderland. An auto auction. There was a low mileage Geo Metro I was interested in along with about a half dozen other older vehicles.
It would turn out to be an amazing day. First of all, I saw about a half dozen wholesalers from the Atlanta area at this Orlando auction. They were the ‘big money’ dealers who were often given breaks with transport costs and sale fees due to their purchasing power. The cuts were so deep and subsidies so strong that combined with the excessive inventory in Florida, a visit was always worth their while. I was a well liked fellow among company, and so when it came time to bid on a 2000 Olds Silhouette with 109k and leather I got it for cheap. $1395 to be exact if you include the auction fee. It was half the price of what the sun faded 72k mile Metro sold for.
I took four pictures of the vehicle (left front quarter angle, driver’s entrance, captain’s chairs, and driver’s view) and put an ad up on Craigslist for $2000. The Autocheck history was accompanied by a long list of luxury features. A note for the choir here. Folks just love to have their luxury even if they have a beer budget. Within 15 minutes I got my first call, and the calls kept coming throughout the day while I was waiting in the interminable lines of Adventureland.
The next morning I scratched off the yellow chalk from the windshield and proceeded it to drive it a few hundred feet to a nearby sandwich shop. The first couple sniffed their nose at it and tried to nickel me. I was courteous but within a moment of their saying, “We’ll think about it.” extended family number one came by with the three generations in one old Taurus. They looked at the vehicle for a few moments while the other couple started to come in at me for more hard dealing. I explained to them that these folks had come a long ways away and I was obligated to give them their chance.
The extended family bought it on site without so much as a test drive and I was glad about it. First, I got a chance to use my Spanish which doesn’t happen quite so often in my hometown of Powder Springs, Georgia. Second I knew it was going to a family that would value and keep it. I offered the first couple the phone number of a friend of mine who had purchased a base model Venture with cloth. I was calm, well-spoken, and a bit intense with my thought process. That’s usually enough to eventually get away from most difficult people. A couple of muscular Latinos in the construction industry also apparently helps. I got cash. The familia got their new ride. All was well with the world.
Profit $605. Cost of vacation? I think right around that much. We got one of those free hotel studios with a kitchen from a timeshare group. After a free breakfast, a two hour presentation, and our obligatory ‘No.’, we got four free disney tickets. Throw in a knapsack full of food and a few visits to relatives, and it ended up being a nice break from 70+ hours I was working at the time. Every now and then I had thought about traveling across the country, buying up cars on Craigslist and selling them for peanuts. But I would also have to give up a profit at home and I had seen too many rainy days to sacrifice a bull economy. It was tough to say ‘no’ to the possibility of an adventure. But given today’s economy I’m glad I did it.