Machinery & Products

For sale: wear and tear on patience

By John Droppert

Buying things is easy, most of the time. Not as easy as it should be, of course. I for one have had far too many experiences along the lines of “Sorry mate, is me coming here to spend my money at your establishment an inconvenience to you?”

In general though, most people are happy to take your hard-earned and swap it for something they’d advertised as around about the same value.

Selling, of course, is a different matter. The asymmetric, cripplingly unfair world where human behaviour intersects with economics dictates that for most of us, being offered somebody’s money in exchange for an object or service is much, much harder.

Why, you ask, has my mind been drawn to this timeless and uninspiring aspect of human existence? Necessity, of course.

With earthmoving projects completed, an empty pipeline and a full mortgage, it’s time to face the inevitable and move on the Case 580 Super M backhoe that has occupied my shed, time, repayments and domestic consciousness for about 18 months.

As a recap, the machine was purchased to pick up where others had failed. First, a no-show contractor. Second, a ‘budget spec’ 40-year-old Chamberlain backhoe. Third, and most valiantly, the front-end loader on my Deutz tractor. In short order, the Case tore great swathes of dam floor, stockpiled clay as high as the cab, and effortlessly overloaded the farm truck.

Hot summer days turned the cab into a furnace, but it didn’t even matter.

Hoses were replaced, rams resealed, and the front axle refurbished. It cost money, but it moved dirt like nothing else could (save an excavator of course …verboten).

When the dam was done, it trenched all the services in half the time of a hired mini excavator and twice the style.

It tickled decades worth of randomly distributed tree stumps out of the ground, relocated water troughs and demolished anything impeding progress.

With ride control engaged, it was the wheelbarrow of choice for moving hay bales, comfortably exceeding 30 km/h on the farm track where other machines pitch and heave.

But now that it’s for sale, what matters more than any of this is that it has 14 155 hours on the clock. A noteworthy total, and had I any delusions that it wasn’t, they wouldn’t last long. For every inquiry is accompanied with a report of the hours, as if I hadn’t myself typed them into the advertisement.

Happy as I am to applaud an eye for detail, and entertain good faith negotiations, I find the subsequent steps that some buyers take to be a little too far of a stretch.

A particular favourite being the type that, having read and reminded me of the high hours on the machine, will peer under every cover, kick every tyre, pull every lever, and pronounce that it ‘has a bit of wear here and there’. Well spotted, my dear chap!

Then there are the vanishers … But that’s the nature of the game, and as they say, ‘The customer is always right!’ Or something.