I have had this happen to me many times in North Dakota, where I am kind of amazed at the simple-mindedness of people about the value of things. I can’t really find the right words to express this, other than simple-minded, primitive, or child-like.
To begin describing this, I want to use the example of what I have seen on the television show “Pawn Stars”. There is a large Pawn Shop located in Las Vegas, owned by Rick Harrison and his father Richard Harrison. Throughout the day, people bring in items to try to sell to Rick. On this television show, I have seen the same situation happen many times. A person will bring in an autographed baseball, photograph, or document, and explain to the Pawn Shop owner Rick, about the famous person who signed it, when and how this happened, and how they acquired it. Rick will ask how much they want to sell it for, and they might say $3,000.
Rick will reply, the value of this thing, is really in the signature being genuine, do you mind if I telephone a friend of mine who is a signature expert, who can authenticate this signature? When the signature expert arrives, sometimes, he will say that this is a very nice piece, and actually quite rare, “I can definitely authenticate this signature, and I would say that this might sell at auction for $8,000 to $10,000.”
Rick would then say to the person, how much do you want for this item now? The simple-minded, primitive, child-like people, say $10,000. Rick then explains, “Look, the expert said that this might, might, sell at auction for $8,000 to $10,000, you never know what something will sell for at auction, there is no guarantee. If I buy this item, I have to make a profit on it, and something like this might sit around here for quite a while before it sells, not many people come in here with that kind of money to spend on something like this. The most I can give you is $5,000.”
To the simple-minded, primitive, child-like people, they can not see the absurdity in this situation, that the item they would have been happy to sell for $3,000 one hour ago, they are now refusing to sell this same item for $5,000. Thanks to the help and honesty of a knowledgeable person, they discover that the item is worth much more money, and now they are unwilling to part with it. However, they still have this item, no one to sell it to, and they still need money.
I used this example of what frequently happens on the television show “Pawn Stars”, to begin to explain, that people left on their own, have a view or an idea about how much something is worth, but then when you begin to discuss what they might sell it for, and begin to discuss with them its merits, possibilities, or uses, just the mere suggestion of possibilities to a primitive or child-like mind, makes something they own, grow enormously in price.
There is a recent incident that happened to me, that caused me to want to write this blog post, where something of no use or value to anyone, once I expressed an interest in it, it suddenly became very valuable. But first, I want to describe a similar situation that will help to explain this most recent one.
I like cars, I read about cars, I do research on cars, I study certain cars, and I understand certain things about particular cars, that most people don’t know. I look at cars for sale on internet classified ads, salvaged-title car auctions, printed publication car ads, parked cars for sale, and parked cars that are no longer being driven. Sometimes, I like to talk to car owners about cars that I am interested in, to see what kinds of problems they have had with their cars, so that I know more.
A couple of years ago, on Bis-Man internet classifieds, I kept seeing a red 1987 Porsche 924 up for sale for about $3,000. This was very interesting to me, because this ad kept getting renewed because this car hadn’t sold and no one wanted it, though the price was low, which indicated to me that no one knew what this car was.
I like Porsche 924, I have one. There are many things that people don’t know about them, all most people think that they know, is that they are slow. They stopped making Porsche 924 in approximately 1983. Whenever you see a Porsche 924 for the years 1986 and 1987, it is not a 924, it is a left-over 924 body that the Porsche factory put a 944 engine in. The Porsche factory called these cars 924″S”, they are fairly rare, and faster than 944 cars because they are smaller and lighter. They will be collector cars very soon.
I called the car owner who posted this advertisement on Bis-Man. Though he had re-posted this advertisement several times for about a year, he said that I was only the second person ever to have called about this car. I asked him about this car, and he said that it was in good condition, no body damage, good paint, with not that many miles on it.
Then I explained to him what this car was, with a 944 engine, which he had not fully understood. I did not want this person to be unaware of what he had, apparently no one in North Dakota knew what this car was. I was so positive and enthusiastic in my explanation about the merits of this car, that he didn’t want to sell it anymore and he took the ad off of Bis-Man. This was fine with me, I was glad that he had a new appreciation for this car, and he knew that it was worth more.
I don’t mind losing the opportunity to buy a car, once I have had an honest discussion with the owner about their car, explained why I am interested in it, and what I think the car could be worth. I don’t want to take advantage of someone in a car sale, and later have to deal with a lawsuit or disputed ownership and title.
I also want to talk with the owner to find out what they know about their car and what they think of their car, so that I don’t insult them with too low an offer. Many times, I have had to admit that I can’t even make them an offer because it is no where near what they would want.
In other words, I don’t try to convince women and the elderly that a $10K, $20K, …$80K old car is worth only $500 or $1,000. And I have found some very valuable old cars. I never even heard of a Porsche 912 until I found a 1968 model in the weeds beside a closed restaurant in Idaho. I never even heard of a Porsche 911 “Sportomatic” until I found a 1970 model under a tarp in a garage in Idaho.
I was angry today, because a vehicle purchase that I wanted to make, was ruined by what I felt was simple-minded, primitive, child-like behavior. This past summer, I was working on a road construction project in a rural area far outside of Dickinson. The highway that I was working on, passed by an old abandoned farm house outside of a very small town. There were old, beat-up, abandoned vehicles on the property. However, I recognized one 30 year old vehicle, as being a good one, though nothing about it would make it stand out to anyone else.
I thought about this vehicle from time to time through September, October, November, and December. In November, I stopped at the gas station in the small town near the old farm house, to ask who owned the abandoned farm, I wanted to contact the owner about a vehicle on the property. I was given the name of the property owner.
Several days after learning the name of the property owner, I asked an old contractor from the area, if he knew this man. The old contractor said that he did, and he gave me his phone number. I called this number twice, but I did not leave a voice mail message because I wanted to talk to the property owner, in order to gauge what his feelings were about my offer to buy this vehicle.
Several days ago, the contractor who gave me the property owner’s phone number, asked me if I had had any luck buying the vehicle. I said no, I called him a couple of times, but I didn’t leave him a message. I said to the contractor, I wouldn’t be able to buy this vehicle for a couple of months anyway, I had so many bills due right around the first of the year.
I asked this contractor if he was interested in buying this vehicle, and he said no. I explained to the contractor several reasons why this was a good vehicle. The next day, I called the property owner again, this time it appeared as though his Meth-addict teen-aged children were in the home alone, and I couldn’t even get them to answer me one way or the other if this was his home.
Today, I drove by this abandoned farm house, and the vehicle that I wanted was gone. I would have tried to offer about $500 to $600 for it, because it was a parked and abandoned in a field. In this area, if the owner would have placed an advertisement in the newspaper, offering this vehicle for $1,000, I don’t think that anyone would have bought it, because there would have been no interest in it.
This vehicle would have just continued to sit there, for ever, had I not said anything about it. However, once I went through the trouble of finding out who owned the property, trying to call him, and someone found out that I was interested in this vehicle, it went from something that no one noticed and no one wanted, to something somebody had to try to get immediately before I could get it. This vehicle had no value to anyone, until I wanted it, then it became highly sought after.