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Kick the Tires by Nigel Roth

While sipping San Pellegrino in the balmy climate of the damp, cold, and ever-dreary country I reside in, I decide to contact two people with the intention of purchasing their wares, one man about a car he had for sale, and another about some wooden door knobs.

The first was at a dealership, so I assumed he’d be used to selling vehicles. With little preamble, I asked if the car in question was still available and he replied with the most bizarre line.

It depends, he said, where you are.

I drank more sparkling water. I presumed this wasn’t a throwback to redline mortgage discrimination or a genuine regional prejudice, so I determined to ask why that mattered.

His reply, ‘because you won't be able to get here to kick the tires’.

The second man had a bag of old knobs for sale and I could use them in my new-old kitchen. Are they still available, I messaged, in-between sips.

Yes, he texted back, but he asked, ‘where are you located?’

‘Why’, I replied.

Because, he said, ‘I live a couple of villages over, not in your town’, which I knew because it tells you where the seller is located.

In both cases, if I was a fairly bright human, I would obviously have determined that I could view the car or grab the man's knobs, with acceptable travel expectations already in place, before calling.