Monday, October 3, 2011

The Hoarder

The first couple of years that I worked at Destinations, we had a sales guy named... let's call him Bruce...who had been laid off from some high-tech job.  He had been well-paid, and got a generous severance package, so he was in effect, retired.  He worked at the shop just to have the first line of new bikes and parts.

I noticed, after a while, that he bought an awful lot of stuff.  He bought whole Shimano groups, as soon as they were available, and he bought frames, and he bought bikes.  But, I never saw him ride any of the bikes, nor did I ever hear of any of the parts ending up on frames.

Eventually, Bruce invited Dan and me over for snacks and drinks, after work one night.  Bruce's wife was out of town, and he wanted to have a little bit of a boy's night.  We both accepted, and Bruce gave us directions to his house. 

We showed up, after closing the store, and Bruce met us at the door.  He had a drink in hand, and pointed us toward the bar.  Once we all had settled in, talk turned to the usual things.  We complained about work and wives, the weather and anything else that bugged us.  We told jokes and stories, and just generally had a drinky evening.

As we left, I mentioned to Dan that I had not seen a single bicycle-related object anywhere in the house, even in the garage (which I had glimpsed when Bruce carried some empty wine bottles out.

A few weeks later, Bruce invited us over, once again.  The situation was the same, and the evening panned out as it had before.

Finally, after we had downed a good bit of cheap red, I just came out and asked Bruce where the hell all of the bike stuff was.  Had he been buying at employee cost, then reselling stuff? 

That was a big no-no, by the way.

By way of an answer, Bruce got up and told us to follow him.  He led us to the basement stairs, and down we went...into King Tut's bike shop.  There, in his suburban basement, Bruce had at least one of every Campy group introduced since 1965, in the original boxes.  One whole cabinet was dedicated to all of the different versions of Shimano XTR.  Again, all of the pieces were in unopened factory boxes.

It went on and on.  There were ti frames in boxes, half a dozen Eddy Merckx road bikes still in the box, dozens of Brooks and Ideale saddles...It was crazy.

"What the hell are you doing with all of this stuff?"  I asked, agog.

"Saving it," Bruce said.

"From what..being useful?"  I asked.  I hate seeing stuff go to waste like that.

"This stuff'll be worth big money, some day,"  he retorted.

"So," Dan piped up, "are you planning on selling it?"

"No."

Hoarders confuse me. 

From then on, when Bruce wanted to order stuff, I made sure I got mine first if it was something I wanted.  I knew that if it went out of stock, it would annoy me to no end to know that whatever new piece of bling I wanted (to actually use) was sitting on a shelf in Bruce's basement, never to see the light of day, again.

I wonder if he still has all of that stuff.

Probably.

x

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