Odyssey International: Masthead
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Tire Sale

May 27th, 2010


I purchased a new pick-up truck recently. The 2010 GMC Sierra HD is a crew cab unit with a 365 horsepower V-8 Duramax Diesel twisting out an impressive 660 lbs-ft of torque. Plenty of power, cab and payload to deal with my needs.

There are already two pick-up trucks in my stable but, after 14 years, the 1965 Ford F-100 I bought in Bandera, Texas has still not been completely refurbished. The1988 GMC Sierra 3500 Tim Cahill and I used in the 1987 Pan American Challenge is no better since the pick-up bed is retrofitted with an auxiliary fuel tank, bunk and storage compartments, rendering it useless in terms of day-to-day pick-up truck duties.

Funny thing was, two months after purchasing my first functional pick-up truck, I wondered how I ever got along without it. There’s always an extension ladder that needs to get somewhere, a piece of furniture someone wants taken to the cottage and what about those cumbersome odds and ends cluttering the basement crying for a last ride to the land fill?

The only things I didn’t like about the new Sierra were the 245/75R16 Bridgestone tires. Obviously the original equipment tires were capable of doing the job but I became fixated on bigger tires to fill out the wheel wells. I replaced the Bridgestones with a spiffy set of 10 ply 265/75R16 Michelins and, even though it set me back $1,100 my nerdy tire needs were pacified.

Then the problem was the four slightly used Bridgestone truck tires that were cluttering up the garage. I thought about putting an ad in the paper or on Kijiji on the internet to sell them but a better idea came about when my sister Susan and mother Edith announced plans for a spring yard sale at Sue’s place in Chester.

Hmmm, good chance to get rid of a few things including the Bridgestone tires I would never use. The trip to Chester would provide the new Sierra with a meaningful assignment as a bonus.

When Susan’s husband, Bruce Tuck, got wind of a visiting relative with a pick-up truck, emails started flying about a waste management mission with a load of gardening gubbins and a hide-a-bed that had been stashed in their garage for 20 years.

“Think I should bring the tires, Sue?” I wanted $300 for the set and thought it might be too rich for the tables of doilies, dishes and stick furniture I visualized laid out in front of Sue and Bruce’s garage.

“Every second vehicle out here is a pick-up truck. You’ll sell them in no time.” Sue was convincing but I wondered if her optimism might be fueled by the pile of stuff she needed taken to the waste management centre.

The morning of the big sale I loaded the Bridgestones, a couple of rickety office chairs and a tacky chrome leaping dolphin that operated through the magic of simple harmonic motion.

Then I picked up my mother who hadn’t slept all week as she tossed and turned wrestling with prices for her sale ‘stuff’. She filled the back seat of the crew cab with shopping bags full of doilies, dishes, knick-knacks and stuff she’d been hoarding for years. Many of the items were in the original packaging with yellowed price tags telling a tale of dramatic price reductions.

In Chester, Bruce eyed the tires and assured they would be a hot item.

“What do you think of $75?” I asked.

“You can probably go for $80 and drop the price if need be at the end of the day.” Bruce’s response fueled my hopefulness until I realized he was talking $80 for the set, not each tire!

Depressed, I was about to load them back on the truck when our first customer rolled up in a 10-year-old Chevy pick-up sporting a worn set of tires. As the driver strolled over to the Bridgestones, I gathered enough nerve to croak out the price.

“They have 5,000 kilometres on them and I want $300 for the set, but I’ll take $250.”

Mum gave me the evil eye for caving on the price before our first customer got a word out.

When the man told me he could get the money in two weeks, my hopes faded but I took his number and assured him if the tires didn’t sell, I’d call him at the end of the day.

A few cars came and went over the next half hour. Mum and Sue had no luck moving their merchandise while Bruce and I loaded the Sierra for its very first ‘dump run’. As we prepared to pull out, another older model Chevy pick-up stopped and neighbour Jamie Stevens made his way to the tires.

Thrilled to find such a deal, Jamie talked turkey. We were about to close on $300 when the first pick-up returned and pulled up between Jamie and the tires. The driver slapped a fistful of $20 bills in my hand.

“I’ll pick them up in two weeks when I get the last $50.” He could hardly contain his excitement.

I figured Chester’s first ever Tire Wars were about to erupt when Jamie backed off. Mum and Sue looked on slack-jawed, as I stuffed the spoils in my pocket.

A slew of pick-ups came and went with empty-handed tire kickers but at the end of the day, even though the leaping dolphin was the second thing to go, Mum and Sue were happy with their sales.

On the drive back to Halifax, I thought about the other 20 or so used tires sitting in my storage bunker while Mum counted her booty then stared at me with a perplexed look.

“What’s with men? They go crazy over tires!”

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