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Friday, February 26, 2010

The great tractor story.





Once in a while this business is a little crazy. This is a story that will take a little time to tell but it is certainly entertaining. So here we go.

One summer day about 15 years ago I was attending an auction not too far from my home. This auction was a particularly boring one with virtually no items that I would want to purchase. However having nothing else to do I decided to hang around the sale just to see what would happen.

Now after an hour or so of just hanging out the auctioneer came up to a brand new looking Jacobson lawn tractor. The auctioneer while describing the tractor stated emphatically that they tried, and tried, and tried to get the tractor started but it "just wouldn't go". He told everyone listening that they would be buying it as is because it just would not start.

As I stood there listening I could not believe that this wonderful looking piece of equipment could have anything wrong with it. Even though past experience had proven to me that buying things like this usually ended up with me being disappointed (and losing money) I decided "what the heck" and throwing caution to the wind I purchased the mower with a whopping $100.00 final bid.

I paid for my item and then proceeded onto pushing, dragging and shoving my wonderful purchase into the back of my pick-up truck. After driving home and putting it on the driveway I started my usual routine of "Oh what the #@*!! have I done now". I tried to determine what was wrong with the stupid thing. First, I of course turned the key and myself witnessed the whirring of a starter without it starting. I next thought why not check the obvious and much to my delight I discovered that the tractor had no gasoline in it. I reached over to my trusty 5 gallon can of gas and poured a little in and guess what.....it started. I was so excited that I immediately cut the front and back yards in record time. The real problem for me was my yard was so small that I could really cut it with a good pair of sharp scissors and although the tractor was wonderful I really had no use for it.

Later that same day I was talking to a good friend of mine about my good fortune. He was so excited about it because (unknown to me) he was looking for a tractor. We talked for a little while and we came to the conclusion that the tractors cost new was about $3,500 (remember it was in perfect condition once the gasoline was added) and that a fair price to him would be $900.

So I sold him the tractor. Everyone was happy....I made $800....he purchased a $3,500 tractor for $900 and my grass was cut for the week. So ended a very good day for me....or so I thought.

About two years later on another sunny summer day my phone rang. It was my friend who purchased the tractor. He went into a long and sorrowful story about how he was trying to remove a tree and was using the tractor to get the stump out of the ground when a horrific grinding an crunching noise was emitted from the tractor. He had ruined the transmission. It was broken so bad that it would cost over $1,500 to repair it. My friend decided that the cost to repair is was too much for him so he bought a brand new tractor. His call to me was to see if I wanted the remains of the Jacobson.

Alright, I am somewhat of a junk collector so when he offered it back to me for free how could I resist. I once again took out my truck to pick up the same tractor, that this time really wasn't running. Back to my house it went, this time unceremoniously dumped into the back of my garage to await its ultimate fate.

Two weeks later I was talked into attending a local craft market. Its a really nice market (not really my thing though) but as often is the case I had nothing to do at that particular moment so off I went.

As we were driving home at 55 mph I was mindlessly looking out the car window at the garage sales that inevitably crop up whenever an event like this occurs. As we raced by I shouted out "STOP THE CAR!!! I THINK I JUST SAW THE TRANSMISSION FOR MY TRACTOR!!!

As unbelievable as it may sound I was right. Upon turning around and going back to the sale I discovered that it was in fact the transmission for a Jacobson tractor. As it turns out the owner forgot to put oil into his Jacobson and locked up the motor. This turned his Jacobson from a usable machine into a large orange paperweight. He told me that the transmission was all that was left and his wife had threatened to divorce him if he returned it to his garage. So after a little haggling and foot shuffling I purchased this potential divorce maker for the incredible sum of $5.00. His marriage saved I once again loaded up my pick up truck and headed home.

At home I immediately got out my tool box, the remains of the tractor and the new transmission. It took all of 30 minutes to replace the broken transmission with the new one. After making sure that the machine had gas in it (remember that's where this whole story began) I started it up and....cut my grass. Yes I cut both the front and back yards, again in record time. But I still did not need a tractor.

So I drove my now running tractor down to the end of the driveway and placed a for sale sign on it. A very short time later a man drove up, test drove it, haggled with me (while shuffling his feet of course) and ultimately purchased the tractor for....yes that's right $900.

The moral of the story is not that Dave is lucky or that Dave is smart. The moral is, however, Dave takes advantage of his opportunities. Anyone can do this. All you need is to put yourself out there, be patient and buy whatever bargain that becomes available. And always remember that when an auctioneer tells you that a piece of equipment just won't start that just maybe......

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