“I'll be the woman standing in the driveway with a bag over her head”, I said hurriedly to the roadside assistance operator, in what was my second phone call for the day.
My efforts to cut out the middle man clearly wasn’t getting off to such a great start.
You see I've just bought a new car and rather than trade in my old car for next to nothing I thought I would sell it privately.
As my car had been sitting in the garage for a while I rang roadside assistance to get the tyres checked (I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t get a flat if I drove it to the garage and I still don’t know how to change a tyre).
A smiling and eager Mr Roadside Assistance 2010 came within minutes and pumped up the tyres and checked the battery, oil and water. However, he hadn't driven out of the driveway for more than ten minutes when I realised I had somehow locked the keys in the car. Duh!! Hence my second rather embarrassed call was made in the space of half an hour. When he came back he didn’t even give me a 'for god sake you’re pathetic' look or ask if I was stalking him. He just smiled and rescued the keys.
With that debacle over, I put up a 'for sale' ad on a popular car website.
Within hours of putting up the ad I started to get calls. All from young guys.
The only problem was they weren’t interested in the things I could tell them, like colours, kilometres, style and sentimentality. They only wanted to know about engine specs and foreign sounding parts, all of which I didn’t know much about.
All I could tell them was that the car had just had a service; it had a roadworthy certificate and if they were interested they should come round and take it for a test drive.
What an eye opener.
Without any exaggeration I had three guys come one after the other who all did the same thing. They circled the car several times very slowly, staring at it intently as if they had x-ray vision. Looking for scratches, defects, rust and signs of damage. They then opened the bonnet and examined and prodded every part of the engine. They started it up; let it run for a while then.....finally..... took it for a test drive. A test drive which was SO LONG I thought I would have to phone the police and report a stolen car.
On their return, each of them asked, “So, it’s seems ok, what‘s the lowest price you will take?” To each of them I said, "I've researched this in detail, I’m not going any lower”. They each left saying they had other cars to look at and they would get back to me. And they all did - by text. With yet more questions about parts that meant nothing to me.
THEN it happened.
I got a call from a woman. What colour are the seats? Tell me about the interior? How much room is in the boot? Can I come and have a look?
Yes, yes, yes, I said. She came around straight away. First, she looked at the inside of the car. She took a look outside. She took it for a test drive. She checked the roadworthy certificate and service history. She bought it on the spot and we signed contracts. An hour later, she paid me cash without quibbling about the price and drove the car away. All done and dusted. Easy.
Ten minutes later I got a text from one of the guys asking about fuel consumption....
I've decided that the next time I sell a car I’m going to do more than just cut out the middle man. I’m going to cut out men altogether.
Well maybe not all men.
You see, my new car comes with five years free roadside assistance and ...there are some men I just can't do without.