Selling the car
on Alex MacMillan (Namibia), 19/Aug/2012 18:47, 34 days ago
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The time had come to sell Trooper. We were really sad about losing our car - we'd driven over 26,000km in it during the year, travelled to Malawi and back, slept in it, driven through rivers, gone on research trips, and it had always been reliable - never broken down, had a puncture, or even given us much trouble. We did think about shipping it back to the UK, but what would we do with a huge 4x4 in London?Besides, Trooper deserved the wide-open spaces of Southern Africa. He was made for this terrain, and, boy, he drove it well. The 4x4 trails of Chobe in Botswana? No problem. The mountains of Zimbabwe? Fine. The sand dunes in Namibia? Child's play. That car was the best purchase we'd made all year, and had meant we didn't have to use taxis every day - keeping us much safer than we would otherwise had been - especially since Alex is a careful and defensive driver, and thanks to that, we didn't have a single accident all year. (Sometimes Alex is such a careful driver that, in Europe, it drives me crazy - but in Namibia, it really was useful, given that other drivers' use of indicators was minimal, speed was demonic, and politeness was non-existent). We had a potential buyer who'd been bugging us for six months about buying the car (we'll call him PB). Having decided that time had come to sell the car, we called the papers to place an advert, and made an appointment with PB. During discussions with him and his wife, he made a firm offer which we accepted. Formalities agreed upon, time scale accepted, we left feeling satisfied. It was only a few days later, when  his wife went haywire on the phone to Alex, that we realised we'd forgotten to cancel the newspaper ads."How dare you disappoint us like this!" she screamed down the phone "to think we trusted you! You are Nigerians!""Eeeerrrrr, we're British. And what's wrong with the Nigerians anyway?" replied Alex.Putting the phone down on the screaming woman, Alex called PB to tell him about his wife's call and explain about the advert. PB blustered a thousand apologies and stated he was still definitely buying the car, he was so sorry, but they were 'understandably' disappointed when they'd seen the advert. Once we put down the phone, Alex and I looked at each other. "Why was his wife looking in the 'for sale' section of the paper if they've made a firm offer on our car?"The next week, at a conference, there were a number of PB's colleagues present. Whilst making tea during the break, we overheard his colleagues complaining about PB. Since no-one there knew that PB was supposed to be buying our car, we kept quiet. He wasn't reputed to be a reliable man. And sure enough, a week later, PB's wife emailed to say that they'd decided to import a really cheap, old car from the UK, so unless we could match the really low price, then that was it... "Good luck to them" said Alex, "Namibia's just passed a law that prohibits the import of any car that's over 5 years old". We chuckled as we called the newspaper again to place another ad.When the ads appeared in all the newspapers the following week, the real fun began. We received several scam callers, saying that they really wanted to buy our car, we just had to send them phone credit to call the bank/call an uncle/call a sure-buyer in Angola. We had one dodgy viewer who said that his uncle wanted to buy it, and to "please tell the uncle the car is N$62,000" (we'd priced it at N$55,000) and that he'd come to our house later to collect the N$7,000 'commission'. Uh-uh. We steered clear.We finally sold the car to a fisherman from Walvis Bay. We got a good price, and he got a great car. I'm happy to think that Trooper has plenty of fresh air, sand dunes to drive over, and a careful owner. We're going to miss that car though - Trooper, we salute you!