Chapter 4: The term vintage by definition refers to a season’s yield of grapes or wine from a vineyard. Nowadays, the word vintage seems to describe anything that is not new, but not antique– rather than just saying it’s “used”. Marketing minds prefer the word to make used things sound more desirable or important. Think of boutiques selling Vintage Clothing opposed to Goodwill selling used clothes. The word can mean the difference between you paying 50 bucks for a t-shirt versus five.
Even new stuff is described as vintage when it’s just made to look old. It reminds me of the clothing at Abercrombie & Fitch that my kids wanted me to pay big bucks for because they looked like someone had already worn them for years. My kids were so gullible. But now that I am searching for a used trailer, I find myself telling my friends that I am in the market for a “vintage” Airstream. I guess their mother is gullible too.
When I first start looking at used trailers on-line, the photos of the Airstreams from the 1950’s and 1960’s captivate me. I can feel myself starting to fall in love with their look. Yes, their bodies still had that same aerodynamic bullet shape, but the shine was magnificent on some of the older ones. I’ve learned now that the aluminum back then is different than the aluminum on contemporary Airstreams. When polished, these trailers have a perfect mirror finish. I could imagine the wow factor when you see one of these cruising down the highway. I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than spontaneously hitting the road to some unknown destination towing one of these nostalgic pieces behind. Sometimes, old things are just better. (My answer to trailer trash quiz #3).
So my search for a vintage 50’s or 60’s trailer has begun. We don’t have an Airstream trailer dealership here in Arizona, so I resort once again to the internet. For the past few years I have been diligently fine tuning my on-line shopping skills. Every month, Brian reminds me just how excellent I am getting. My AMEX bill mostly says Amazon, Amazon, and Amazon about 20 more times. However, I claim that Chevron times 6, reduced to Chevron times 3, is a direct result of shopping from home. After I get my Airstream, I’m looking into an electric car so I can break up with Chevron for good.
I wish my vintage Airstream could show up at my door in a cardboard box with the smile logo on it. It would be a very happy day. If only it was as easy as Amazon One-Click. But what’s different about buying a used trailer is that I want to see it in person before I decide. A lot of “things” could have happened to it during its 50 plus years of life. I would imagine that one person’s description of these “things” can be quite different from another’s.
The first places I start looking for a vintage Airstream seem very promising. As I had guessed, there are plenty of used Airstreams out there.
Unfortunately, every time I think I’ve spotted something, it turns out to be 2000 miles away. So this is not going to be as easy as I had hoped. No instant gratification here. I map out in my mind what my shopping radius is. This transaction is likely to require two trips. One to go look at the trailer and make sure that I can live with all its “things”, and a second to go back and pick it up. Maybe there will be a nice seller (who is not a scam artist) that is willing to deliver it. I have seen several ads on Craig’s List where the seller is “regretfully” willing to part with a photo perfect trailer- at a very cheap price AND is gladly willing to deliver it to you free of charge. THIS IS A SCAM. Believe me. Just try contacting them. They will only communicate via email- they won’t talk on the phone. If you say you will meet them to see the trailer- they will say they’ve already left town. They will say the trailer is stored safely somewhere ready to be shipped to you- free of charge once you pay them. You can pay them by Pay Pal or even through a “pre-arranged deal through Amazon”. (I hate that they drag Amazon into their dirty trick). If you insist on not conducting business this way, they will stop communicating and move on to the next sucker.
So I keep on searching, avoiding scams, and waiting for my vintage trailer to surface within a reasonable driving distance. I have my shopping radius drawn, and, my over-night bag packed– just in case.
Trailer Trash Quiz #4
Why do YOU like to shop on-line?
a. The shopping cart never gets full and I don’t have to push it.
b. People selling things on-line want to be your friend. It’s better than Facebook.
c. My UPS man is HOT!
d. Once you’re a regular, it’s like Christmas everyday- especially when you forgot what you ordered!
e. Other. (Enter your answer in the reply box below)
See my answer on the next post. Until then…..