Archive index   Go to the Archive index

Sales Technique

by Mark Daniels

While collecting my Leopard wheels from re-lacing at our local wheel builders, there came that familiar phrase "you're a moped man, here's the mobile number of a chap wanting to clear an old Puch".  Great - another trashed Maxi, I'll bet!  Still I made the call, which turned out to be in Andrew Pattle's constituency.  I would intend to call incidentally when back at work after my holiday, however Mr Seller insisted that wouldn't be possible and when could I get there?  Half an hour - van in transit and he was waiting outside for me when I arrived.  Through the residence (more zoo than house!), cat and dog nests, rodent cages and bird perches, "Excuse the mess - we're moving on Saturday" (Well it probably beats cleaning up!) "so I just want the moped out of the way".

Stood in the middle of the back yard was a '74, maroon, 2-speed, fan-cooled Puch, scruffy and dirty but largely complete and in still in fairly original condition.

The V5 was thrust into my hand as Mr Seller launched confidently into his pitch while I scanned the Reg Doc and noted the 1988 tax disc.  "I never found time to do it up."  (In four years, must be a busy man!)  "The bloke I got it off reckoned it would do 45."  (It must be that extra short reach J8 lawnmower spark plug, have to make a note of that!)  "It runs!"  (That's going to be interesting with no petrol tank on it!)  Seemingly undeterred by this minor detail Mr Seller stalked up on the machine's RH side where its remaining pedal dangled limply at an angle from its arm, clearly loosely misthreaded, and launched at it with his full 15 stone.  As the inevitable happened, Mr Seller seemed unprepared for the full effects of gravity, judging by the rate of contact with the floor.  Unfortunately the detached pedal remained beneath his foot and skidded away across the concrete resulting in a fine split combination (Ballet term - good technical merit mark though let down by poor execution and artistic impression).  Much abuse followed by angered composure: "Well it used to effin' go, it's been stored in the shed".  (Wonder if that's the rotten damp old shed at the bottom of the garden where the engine's probably seized up?)  Followed by a further lunge at the now naked pedal arm, which refused to budge and responded by returning further revenge to Mr Seller's instep through his flimsy bedroom slippers.  In spontaneous celebration of the moment he then honoured me with a privileged rendition of the famous one legged Hop-dance while uttering strange country incantations.  (Being versed in local tribal customs, at such sacred moments it is best etiquette to show no emotion and avoid comment!)  Mr Seller then limped round the bike and with his injured foot, tapped the LH tailpipe which responded by falling off in a shower of rust.  "Exhaust needs brazing up."  (Which brilliant conclusion appears to conclude the sales pitch.)  "Got any bits?"  "No, that's it."  "£5?"  "Done - take the bloody thing."  At which the little Austrian insurrectionist was whisked into the van and away from its former jailer while the cloud of pain still fogged his better judgement.

Cleaning off the dirt revealed sound chrome rims and good tyres that held air, an afternoon of welding the exhaust, chain guard mounts to the swinging arm + bush, petrol tank & speedo cable, which I had in my fine selection of quality after-market components (ie: pile of old junk!)  After unsticking the piston, new rings and a few other parts from the J Lee Puch Rescue Service, much general cleaning and assorted fettling of fitments, the little hairdryer is running and ready for MoT after only 3 weeks and £39 all in!

David Evans's comments related to fruit conserve and cast aspersions on my parentage!  Well, it's hardly my fault if I'm vulnerable to a well polished sales technique!

First published - October 1999

Archive index   Go to the Archive index