Nick's Journal
2008-01-29 16:57:44 (UTC)

The Boat Show

if you ever get a chance to go to a boat show, don't pass it
up. even if you know nothing nor care about boats or anyone
who rides them, you simply can not pass up the prime
opportunity to people watch (and if you're lucky catch
flustered, in-over-their-heads salesmen sputter around
during negotiations).
at first i was overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of some of
these marine monstrosities. seriously, these things can get
as big as a fucking house (which of course makes sense as a
lot of people use it as such). but after a while boats are
like babies, if it's not yours they all look the same
any-fucking-way. so after a while i started zoning out as
to boats and tuning in as to people.
first i keyed in on the sales-personnel. i always think
that it takes a certain type of person to sell something at
a consumer show like this. you have to have the peculiar
mix of both obsequiosness yet assertiveness. in a way it's
sort of like fishing. once you get a nibble you can't just
yank the line out of the water, you have to cut it some
slack, but at the same time reel that sucker in.
sales people act in the exact same manner. the first
"what's the horse-power on this boat?"
"140, and did i mention that it comes with an optional water
skiier package which includes not only the tug ring but also
the rear facing adventure seat?"
that's right, he said "rear facing adventure seat."
"hm..." and with that we'd walk around as he obsequiously
followed us, hands clasp in front of him in a sycophantic
guesture of deference to our eternal boat-selecting wisdom.
once he felt our wisdom at run its course he chimed in again,
"the prices we have here are just out of this world, if i
were you, i'd act fast."

and on and on went the dance of sales. aside from the
paradoxical personalities of the personnel, there were of
cousre the "other" boat-show-goers. there are two types of
people who go to boat-shows. retirees and rednecks.
the retirees were the ones who stood wide-eyed in front of
every other boat fawning over this or that feature; trying
to negotiate the best deal and in general mindful of the
consequences of such a big-ticket item.
the other side asked questions like,
"so, do this here huntin' boat have a dog stand?"
"so, you know, i hear that they now got this thing...yeah,
this here thing which don't muffle the sound at all. it's
bad ass, the motor just roars right through the cabin."
i checked the brochure of that boat and, yes indeed they had
what was apparently the redneck optional package which
actually INCREASED the roar of the motor through your boat's
cabin. now why someone would want that i don't know, but as
far as i can tell there is a direct correlation between the
number of brain cells left in yoru head and the loudness of
your motorized vehicle.

the show ended in successful fashion. my in-laws bought a
boat. it was funny, they gave me the contract to review.
now i am really flattered by people asking me for legal
advice and all, but i haven't quite even finished law
school. the salesperson that we had seemed like he liked to
have the engine roar through his cabin. he was a moron to
put it short.
my in-laws kept on wanting to put things in writing (smart)
which he wanted them to rely on through oral agreement
(dumb). finally, and pain-stakingly we got him to put down
our additional terms and conditions. negotiating is the
most interesting action i see people engage in. the give
and take. the averted eyes after a proposition is thrown
out there, and the shy look at those polished shoes to hide
the lie of,
"i checked, but the big boss can't throw in transportaiton
the nervous laughter of sales-personnel as they get that one
last question as they try to get a signature on the order
form. there are just so many minute details a person shows
when he negotiates all of which betray his actual demeanor
hovering just slightly below his bravado.