Archive for February, 2011

Sometimes you just have to let them pee on the electric fence…

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

This tale from a couple decades ago is offered as a humorous reminder that advice should at least be considered before being rejected out of hand. No one was seriously injured, though it could well have turned out much worse.

We had received a very used, very neglected, very old motor home as a trade in. It only had about ten thousand miles on it, but it was almost 20 years old, and had spent at least 15 of those years sitting in a back yard under some trees. I’m sure you’ve seen the motor home, or one just like it, many times as you drive around. While the appliances, carpets, drivetrain, was all like new, the body was pretty much on death’s door. I felt like I needed a tetanus shot before going into it. Our sales manager decided to put it out front as a “Cash Special”, with a strong emphasis on the fact it was a good candidate for being a parts donor.

So, I gingerly pulled the Mildew Queen onto the front line, and placed the “Today’s Special” banner across the windshield. I then went back to my office to fill out some warranty paperwork.

Late in the afternoon, a guy showed up to look at the poster child for Rot Doctor. All he saw was the odometer reading, and the good condition of all the peripherals. He whipped out a stack of hundred dollar bills sufficient to pay for Moldy Mary, and didn’t want to hear a word about the condition the rest of the motor home was in. “You’re just trying to upsell me! There’s nothing wrong with that motor home!”  At that point, the salesman opted for the better part of valor, and wrote up the deal, again emphasizing the poor condition of the rolling Rustoleum can.

The customer signed everything, went out and climbed into his new home on wheels, fired up the engine, and pulled out of the parking lot. There was a short driveway leading from the lot to the road out front, with a sidewalk and curb at the end. The customer drove down the driveway going faster than he should even if the motor home had been structurally sound, and turned the corner onto the road. As he turned, he made the typical newbie error in judging distance, and climbed the curb while turning. This would have had the dishes flying out of the cabinets of a healthy motor home, and this one was far from healthy. I happened to come out of my office in time to witness the motor home lurch to the left, then crash down to the right.Then, with a splintering groan, the entire structure just kind of slid off the frame to the left into the middle of the road, leaving the customer sitting in the driver’s seat of a pile of kindling and aluminum siding. Three hours later, the mess had been shoveled up, the frame had been towed away, the customer had his cuts from flying debris bandaged and had left for home with his wife, who was (loudly) giving him what-for the whole time. I didn’t hear any more from the guy, but I can only hope he learned to listen to people when they try to tell him something.

About the Author

Lug Wrench is a long-time mechanic, multiple Airstream owner, and dyed-in-the-wool pragmatist. All tales guaranteed 100% true, although names and certain details may be altered to protect the guilty.