Monday, April 21, 2014

Who's the Crazy one!

I’ve got a long and twisted tale that I want to share. So sit down, grab a coffee, buckle up and get ready because, this is one of those; you’ll-never-believe-this-in-a-million-years stories. Seriously, you can’t make stuff like this up. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. By the end, you’ll be wondering who the crazy person is.

My husband and I are in the market for a holiday trailer for our land. We need a place to stay because, frankly, I am too old to ground tent comfortably anymore. We aren’t looking for anything fancy. Just clean, mouse-free and reasonably priced.

I’ve been doing the Kijiji thing without much luck. There are a lot of junkers for sale. But, there are also a few deals, and you have to be pretty fast to catch them.

Early last week, I responded to an ad listing a park model trailer for sale in Edmonton. When you live in Calgary, it is difficult to check out a trailer in Edmonton, but it looked to be in good shape and was decently priced. This was one deal I didn’t want to miss out on, so I emailed the owner, Allen, with a few questions and waited for a response. A few days later I had the information I needed and was ready to go view it. The trouble was he needed it moved by the end of Easter weekend. 

I called him up and asked if we could see it. He hummed and hawed and told me he was hoping to book several viewing together to save himself some work because while the ad said trailer was in Edmonton, it was actually at Pine Lake. With only Sunday for us to view it and still meet his deadline, he agreed to show it to us. This conflicted with a quilting course I am taking, but I it did look like a great trailer.

I notified my instructor that I wouldn’t make class. I had barely gotten off the phone when Allen called me and said he had changed his mind and didn’t want to meet us. I was kind of torqued, but what do you do? I said thanks anyway and started getting ready to go to class. Just as I am leaving, Allen calls and says, “Okay, come and look at it.”

This is where the warning bells should have started ringing. 
Sadly, they did not.

Dave and I struck out towards Pine Lake. We stopped in Innisfail to pick up my brother-in-law, Steve. He knows a lot about trailers and we wanted him to help us make an informed decision. Since Steve’s wife was headed to Edmonton to help with her sick father, Steve was in charge of their kids. Everyone jumped into the truck and we went to see the trailer.

We arrived at the appointed place and introduced ourselves to Allen. Immediately, he said he had done a lot of thinking on the drive and now wasn’t sure he wanted to sell it. But since we had made the trip, he would like us to see it. (Again the warning bells should have gone off. But, nope.)

We got to know Allen on the short walk to the trailer. Sometime, before the previous summer, his wife had passed on and he was having a bit of trouble dealing with it. He became misty-eyed a couple times as we talked. He told us how he hated to sell such a big part of his life, but thought it was time to let go. He was calm and rational and seemed happy to sell
Allen’s trailer was perfect for our needs. It was large, clean, tidy, in fabulous condition, and a great price. Have you ever heard the expression “if something seems too good to be true it probably is?” It should have sprung to mind at this point.

There was a lot of stuff in and around the trailer that he no longer wanted. Things like a shed, lawn mower, yard tools, barbeque, patio furniture, bedding, dishes, and indoor furniture. We shook hands on a deal, for his asking price and a bit extra to cover the peripherals and agreed to pick everything up within the week. The logistics were tricky, as the RV park is not yet open for the summer and they only let you move trailers in the early morning while the grass is still frozen. It would be tricky, but with Steve’s help, do-able.

Thinking we had a deal, we headed back to our vehicles to complete the paperwork. Then, Allen said he wasn’t sure he wanted to sell the place where he and his wife had spent so much time. Understandable. So, he asked if he could think it over and call me Monday morning. We dropped Steve and the kids off and went back to Calgary, to await Allen’s decision.

Allen had requested to be paid in cash, so first thing in the morning I went to the bank and withdrew the cash for the deal, just in case. There was a tentative plan to make a special trip to Edmonton to complete the deal. Morning came and went. Late Monday afternoon, he called and said he wanted to talk to his daughter about the sale and would call me Tuesday. I really felt bad for him; he seemed so torn and undecided. At the same time, I wondered if perhaps he shouldn’t have talked to his family before posting his ad.

Tuesday he asked if he could let us know on Thursday, but wanted to be sure we had the money just in case. Thursday, he promised he would call on Friday. By this time, I was getting irritated. I understood his dilemma, but come on! This whole yes-no-yes-no thing was getting frustrating. I wanted to say, “just make a decision.” But, I knew he was hurting and decided to be patient and tried my best to be understanding. Every time he called, he sounded like he was in tears and we talked for about fifteen minutes.

Friday he called early and promised a decision by three. About three-thirty he said yes, the trailer was ours.  Twenty minutes later he called and said he wasn’t sure and needed more time. He would call us around seven. In spite of wanting to give him a good shake and tell him to make up his mind; I sympathized, empathized, and was as kind as I could be. 

Seven came and went without a call. He finally called after nine. He was very apologetic but he didn’t want to sell it.

Gak! I was so frustrated and disappointed. I mentioned that we were in Innisfail for the night, and that if he changed his mind he could call back. (Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.)

Allen did, indeed, call in the morning and said he had been thinking about everything that our original deal had included and thought he hadn’t asked enough and wanted to keep the lawn mower and weed whacker. He mentioned that he had received tons of calls on the trailer and said that in the end he had decided not to sell it.

Good God, I just wanted to slam my head into the wall. Days ago, we had made a verbal agreement, so he really couldn’t ask for more money. Was this his way of hinting for more? I didn’t know. Dave and I kicked the money idea around and I called Allen back offering a bit of extra cash and renegotiated which things were to be included. Allen would keep the yard tools, dishes and bedding and get a better price. This still left us with a hell of a deal on a great trailer. Allen said had to think about it. Because we were tired of the run-around and wanted to get home, I gave him a deadline about forty-five minutes away and sat back to await his decision.

He called and said he was ready to sell. For sure. Since he was leasing the RV spot, he had to pay his fees before the end of the weekend or release his spot. Each time we talked, he reiterated how difficult it was and that every time he changed his mind, he updated the park as well. He must have been driving them nuts with his indecision. I know MY frustration was reaching new levels.

But, now the deal was on. We set a meeting place and drove to Red Deer to meet, complete the transaction and register the trailer.

He was late.
After an hour and a half I knew he was having second (third, fourth?) thoughts. Finally, I called and asked if he was lost. He said yes, but he showed up five minutes later, in tears. He was extremely apologetic and hoped we didn’t think he was crazy. In the end, he said he couldn’t sell. We talked a while before wishing him well and leaving. It wasn’t easy being sympathetic, I can tell you. But we were, in spite of being disappointed. I thought that a person would be sure of their decision to sell before even listing the trailer for. But, maybe that’s just me.

Fifteen minutes later we were well outside of Red Deer, on our way to Calgary when he called and wanted to sell.

I asked if he was sure.

YES. He was 100% sure he wanted to sell to us. He seemed to be certain, and grateful that we had been so kind and patient with him.

At the next overpass we turned around and headed back. All the while, we kept repeating that this was nuts. We were crazy for thinking this deal would happen after all this rigmarole.

We arrived, Allen apologized and I climbed into his truck, money in hand, and he started the paper work. He wrote quickly at first, but with each successive line, he became slower. At last all the blanks were filled in, but he hesitated to sign. Finally after much internal debate, he signed but refused to give me the pen to sign with.

Eventually, I got frustrated and said “Clearly, you aren’t ready to sell your trailer. I understand that this is difficult for you. So I’m going to go now.” 

He said, “Wait, don’t leave yet.”

So we sat and waited. Dave and I tried everything we could think of to get Allen to make a decision. We weren’t trying to force him to sell, just to reassure him that it was getting a good home and hoping to make his decision easier. We talked about the grandkids and how we would be using his trailer to build a legacy for them. We showed him pictures of our land so he could see where it was going. We offered to pack up his stuff and deliver it to him to save him the emotional toil of having to go back to the trailer. We played the “our granddaughter just had heart surgery” card. We played the “it is going to a good home and not to Fort Mac for rig workers” card. We whined, we pleaded, we begged. We sympathized. We admitted our frustration and our love for his trailer.

I wanted to scream. I felt like pulling my hair out. I wanted to kick him in the nuts. But, I stayed calm and sympathetic. I felt bad for his pain, for his indecision, but when does enough become enough? If the trailer hadn’t been perfect and a fabulous price, we would have walked away long before this point.
It couldn’t be more obvious that this decision was tearing him apart. Allen asked if he could have a smoke and think. We willingly agreed. After all, we had already invested hours of our time and put hundreds of miles on our vehicles. What did we have to lose, besides our sanity? So, we waited. All the while the clocked ticked away the precious time we needed to register the trailer and meet the RV Park’s deadline to move it. This was Easter weekend and the licensing place was closed Sunday and Monday.

After what seems like hours but was probably only ten minutes, he came to our car and said the deal is off.
You’ll be impressed; I didn’t scream OR kick him in the nuts.

We wished him well and headed home. On the way, we called Steve and told him the deal was off. We had kept in the loop with every change as we needed him ready at a moment’s notice to haul the trailer for us.
We were certain that this was over and done with. As we drove we decided that we would check out some RV places and hit Kijiji and begin our search again. Clearly this deal was not happening.

Sunday morning, my phone rings. Allen.  I chose not to answer it. But he called five times in ten minutes and left two messages. After listening to his voice mails, I picked up call number six of the day (and it wasn’t even eight thirty.)

He wants to sell.

“Are you sure?” I asked him.

“YES. I have decided to move on,” he agreed emphatically.

In spite of our doubts, we agreed to meet him in Red Deer to complete the paperwork. We reminded him that there was no way we could make the pick up under the park’s schedule as Steve was busy and there was no longer a way to register the trailer. Allen then made arrangements to extend his lease for one more week to accommodate this. We checked with the park ourselves; they were frustrated with Allen but had agreed to the extension.

So, hoping he had finally made up his mind, we headed out to meet him. On the way, we updated Steve who suggested that he was willing to risk his wife’s wrath and leave his in-laws Easter dinner early. We were going to take a chance and move it unregistered, just to get this done. We confirmed with the park, again. All they needed was the bill of sale and they would give us access to move it, at our convenience. Preferably as soon as possible.

Theoretically, we were good to go.

We didn’t even get outside of Calgary before Allen called again to say he couldn’t sell.

I said, “Seriously? You’re changing your mind again?” I had had enough. “Allen,” I said, “we are done.” I may have hurt his feelings. You know what? I don’t care.

So, I ask you ... Who is crazy? Is it him or is it us? 

Thus ends the misadventure. Unless he calls again.


Just an update ....... he has called twice today.


  1. 2 words for allen…"grief counsellor"

  2. I agree Sherry. He was so torn and wanted to move on, but couldn't find the strength to do it.


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