Deal or no Deal!

Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor

Steve Lita, American Iron Magazine Editor

RIDE TO WORK by Steve Lita, Editor

You really don’t have a clue how to
market this item, do you?

Perhaps you’ve been watching too many home makeover shows and are currently trying to figure out how to secure shiplap to your under-a-rock abode. But in case you didn’t know, American Iron Magazine is one of several publications we produce here at this publishing company. We also publish Garage Build (formerly American Iron Garage) magazine for home-based bike builders and do-it-yourselfers. I mention this because something happened recently that reminded me of a funny story we published in AIG a few years ago. It was a one-page article where we poked fun at terms and jargon that we found in online motorcycle ads. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the terms and figured out for yourself what the true meaning was. Stuff like: Low Miles, actually means it only ran for a month, and has been sitting in the garage ever since. Or, Head Turner really means everyone cringes and turns his head away when he sees it. You get the drift. I’ll have our web guys post the original one-page article online so you can check it out.

Anyway, a few years have passed, and I’ve found a whole new crop of funny, odd, and sad descriptions that have left me shaking my head and saying, “You really don’t have a clue how to market this item, do you?” The advertisements are quite telling. They should give you a good indication of the type of personality you’ll be dealing with, should you venture to waste the time to call about the item.

I was surfing the popular online trading site, operated by some guy name Craig, looking for a bike that wasn’t (A) overpriced because someone thinks it’s worth more than it really is; (B) all hacked up because the owner was a wanna-be bike customizer; or (C) overpriced because the owner thinks it’s UltraRare. Here’s a tip: if the words UltraRare appears in the ad, don’t bother calling.

There are new ads being placed all the time, so you need to check back often to jump on the best deals fast, or to take in the hilarity before they get reported, banned, and taken down by the website admin. The site is loaded with obvious scammers (I don’t dare call then scam artists because they are not really good at what they do), so those get weeded out rather quickly. That whittles it down to a few remaining ones, so let me tell you about some real beauties I found.

First was the guy who wrote the entire ad in ALL CAPS. Thus immediately telling me how vitally important his advertisement is. The grammar was atrocious, but his excuse is surely that spellcheck doesn’t work in upper case caps. So I sent him an e-mail asking “WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING?”

The next gem I came across was the guy who ran a short’n’sweet ad about his ride, pretty much saying that he “doesn’t have time to list everything” that the bike has in the way of features, parts, or condition. He would prefer to have you call for info. This had me scratching my head, thinking: So he doesn’t have time to type details, but he does have time to talk to every tire-kicker in the world on the phone? That’s odd. So I sent him an e-mail saying, “I don’t have time to call, please write all the details in and e-mail and send them to me, Thanks.” Turnabout is fair play.

And the third, and perhaps the winner of this bunch, was the ad that stated “Must Sell! I have 16 grand invested this bike over the last 20 years. I know I’m never going to get what I have into it, but I have to get 10 grand, or it will go with me to my grave.” This one had me blinking and shaking my head. So which is it? Must Sell? Or Take It To My Grave? You mean to tell me, instead of making a fair deal and letting someone enjoy this bike, you’d rather bury it underground, so nobody will ever see it or enjoy it again. Isn’t that the selfish epitome of If I can’t have it, nobody can? Hey, it’s not my fault you overspent. And haven’t you ever heard of amortizing the cost over time?

Doesn’t really matter in the end, though. What makes this guy think his family is going to abide by his wishes, even if written in his will? Here’s a newsflash for that guy. His family will probably have to sell the bike just to pay for his funeral.