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Wacko junk dealer and a Lotus left for dead

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Wacko junk dealer and a Lotus left for dead

Old 08-24-14, 06:25 PM
  #1  
lotekmod
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Wacko junk dealer and a Lotus left for dead

Here's a strange but true and annoying story:

I was visiting my parents this weekend at their vacation place and I passed by this "antique" (really junk) store I've noticed before. There are always bikes outside but they always looked rusted and low quality and I'm always short on time so I've never stopped. Well Saturday I actually had some free time so I stopped in even though it was late and the place was closed. This place has a building but also a large, unfenced lot full of sheds, trailers, tarped canopies, and lots of junk. I started digging around and man, there are bikes everywhere. Under tarps, piled up behind trailers, thrown in the woods....everywhere. They are all left outside and rusted and most are low quality cruisers, bmx, Schwinn Varisities and the like, but on the top of a pile I found a Lotus Elite 600 with a full 600ex group. The frame had some surface rust and it was too big for me, and the store was closed, so I looked around some more and headed back to the parent's place. Then I tried to go to sleep and the bike brain kicked in... maybe if I could get it for $50, fix it up and sell it....or if the frame is too far gone I can strip it for the parts and build something else...you know how it goes.

So the next day I went back. The Open sign was out but there was nobody in the parking lot, so I started casually looking around and making my way back to the bike. As soon as I entered the labyrinth of junk I heard "Hey what are you doing back there?" as a guy quickly approached me.

"Just browsing around" I said.

"What are you looking for?!"

"Bikes"

"I have bikes over there for sale" he says, pointing to a rack of rusted, low-end bikes with flat tires.

I said "Well, actually, I was here last night after you were closed and I found this bike I liked behind that trailer."

"What bike?"

"The Lotus."

He looked at me slightly puzzled, clearly not knowing what I was talking about. He said "Nothing back there is for sale."

I said "Really, none of this is for sale?"

He looked at me puzzled again, perhaps realizing the absurdity of his statement. He said "If you want a bike, those are the ones for sale" and walked back to his store where he stood and watched me. I had the feeling he was watching me to make sure I didn't take the bike, which I totally could have the night before if I had wanted to since the lot is unfenced and unguarded and there was nobody there.

He never even gave me the chance to make an offer. That poor Lotus, held captive by a weirdo hoarder.

Anyone want to do a commando style rescue mission?
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Old 08-24-14, 06:29 PM
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Speaking as someone who has pulled shotgun pellets out of my backside once in my lifetime... Go for it...
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Old 08-24-14, 06:35 PM
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That is his entire life in a pile. And it's all his.
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Old 08-24-14, 07:11 PM
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Your first mistake was saying "Lotus" instead of "old bike".
Second mistake was telling him you were looking around when he was closed.

Try to get someone to ask permission to look around, and they can find that old bike.
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Old 08-24-14, 07:22 PM
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You aroused his suspicion and you won't get that bike now. Move on to the next one.
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Old 08-24-14, 07:49 PM
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I had a Lotus Exelle. Nice bike but not worth the infatuation you're experiencing.
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Old 08-24-14, 08:11 PM
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Like it or not, that man will remember your face forever. You will not get a deal there. Move on. Oddly enough, some people get offended when they find out others are picking through whats theirs. Next time, don't.
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Old 08-24-14, 09:49 PM
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not worth the infatuation
He's absolutely right.

Ok, now, where exactly is this junk shop located?
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Old 08-24-14, 10:24 PM
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It's called prowling and it's illegal. Many jurisdictions would turn a blind eye to the old guy filling your sit bones with bird shot.
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Old 08-25-14, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
It's called prowling and it's illegal. Many jurisdictions would turn a blind eye to the old guy filling your sit bones with bird shot.
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Old 08-25-14, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
Like it or not, that man will remember your face forever. You will not get a deal there. Move on. Oddly enough, some people get offended when they find out others are picking through whats theirs. Next time, don't.
So, brief one of your parents to go in your place. Maybe they could turn up with 50 rolled in one hand, visible. "I'm looking to buy a bike for my son/ nephew/ whoever when he visits, but none of these are right - have you got any more anywhere else?" Later - "Oh, this one will do fine, will you take $25?" (Allowing the seller to succeed in doubling the initial offer, a buyer who TURNS UP with cash on display is a rare and wonderful thing - if they then agree to part with all that visible cash for something that wasn't for sale in the first place - a great day for the seller and no need to break out the 12 gauge!) Just an idea - or, just go back to browsing C&V sales, e-bay, Craigslist etc....
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Old 08-25-14, 04:57 AM
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Yeah, as I thought about it more on the drive home I realized I probably freaked him out saying I was looking around when he wasn't there. The strange thing is I am normally very respectful of privacy and boundaries, but this place is a commercial property, completely exposed on the corner of an intersection, it was about 6pm and full daylight and I actually thought he was open, and he has random things with price tags all along the edge of the parking lot. It actually never occurred to me at the time that I was trespassing by looking further back beyond the ill defined edge of what he considered his retail area.

Anyway, I was over that bike as soon as it was clear he didn't want to sell. It was nothing special and I was doubtful he would take $50 for it since he was asking $75 for a rusted Huffy. My step father offered to go back to try to work out a deal- I told him don't bother.

The whole experience was just odd, and I realize my actions were probably the root cause which makes it even stranger for me.
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Old 08-25-14, 05:40 AM
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Those type of characters crack me up! They think everything they have is gold and they are geniuses because they have it and you don't. If he had the last available bike on the planet I would choose another pursuit!
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Old 08-25-14, 06:21 AM
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Violated several "rules" of picking.

1. You admitted scoping the place out without permission.

2. You identified the object by brand.

3. You were laser focused on a particular item.


Instead, you need to do a Randy Jawa (paraphrased Randy's flyer): "I am looking for a skinny tire bike with curvy handlebars, do you have any for sale?"


And you kind of have to do a little misdirection with some of these guys. "How about that bike over there? (one you have zero interest in)" Slowly work your way asking prices until you get to one you want.

Sometimes these guys have crazy/insane ideas on values so no deal can be made anyway.

Last edited by wrk101; 08-25-14 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 08-25-14, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Violated several "rules" of picking.
I have no illusion that I am a good or experienced picker, but I had every intention of being, calm, cool, and elusive when I got there. This guy's defensive posture immediately disarmed me, however, and I thought it best to cut to the chase and tell him exactly why I was there.

What I find so disturbing is his reaction, and the reaction of other posts above, that makes me feel like I got caught trespassing. This is my position- If I were driving around in a rural or residential area and I saw a house with a bunch of stuff outside with no indication that any of it was for sale, there's no way I'd pull over and just start digging around the yard. I have, however, looked around car lots after business hours as I'm sure many other people have. I have no idea if that is legally trespassing, but it's hard to imagine a car dealer going mental if I said "I was looking around your lot last night and found a car I'm interested in buying."

I perceived his establishment like a used car lot- he has a parking lot that fits about 10 cars, a big sign that says "Antiques", he has a significant amount of stuff outside with price tags, and there is no fencing, barriers, or signs that indicate that any areas are off limits. He obviously saw the situation differently.

In hind site I should have introduced myself and asked his permission to look around, but again, who does that at a used car lot?
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Old 08-25-14, 09:47 AM
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There are probably millions of bikes right now on all the nation's Craigslist, that their owners want gone. You want to roust a nutjob and risk getting shot? You guys are nuts.
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Old 08-25-14, 09:52 AM
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Like most hoarders, his junk is priceless to him. There's an emotional component that you won't ever be able to get around- he doesn't actually want to sell anything, and you'd need a camera crew making him look like a moron and a wife saying "we have to move next week" before he'll part with even a beer sign.
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Old 08-25-14, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
There are probably millions of bikes right now on all the nation's Craigslist, that their owners want gone. You want to roust a nutjob and risk getting shot? You guys are nuts.
I didn't think I was rousting a nutjob, I went to an antique store that sells bikes to possibly buy a bike. And as I said, I'm over the bike and I'm no longer pursuing it, but I'm obviously not over the experience. Well actually I am now.
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Old 08-25-14, 10:27 AM
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I think every town has at least one of these guys. There's one just outside of my hometown, but his thing is cars. Old, classic cars, stacked across a few acres and facing the highway. They've been there since I was a kid and they're still there, still rusting and rotting, because any time somebody approaches him to buy one he names a price that's just astronomical. I doubt anybody even tries anymore. But I look at those cars every time I drive by. Damn shame.
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Old 08-25-14, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
Like most hoarders, his junk is priceless to him. There's an emotional component that you won't ever be able to get around- he doesn't actually want to sell anything, and you'd need a camera crew making him look like a moron and a wife saying "we have to move next week" before he'll part with even a beer sign.
+1 Guy was a nut job. You run into them from time to time.

+10 They often think their stuff is priceless, as it rots away out in the weather.
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Old 08-25-14, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by practical View Post
I had a Lotus Exelle. Nice bike but not worth the infatuation you're experiencing.
An Excelle is not an Elite 600 . Excelle was made for a good 8-10 years, Elite 600 was made for only 2 years, 1987 being the most commonly found and a watered down version offered in 1988, which I've only ever seen one example.

1987 models came in two colors:



The only 1988 I've ever seen:

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