Dad was waiting in line. We were at Hennessey Implement, Inc. customer appreciation week. Milk, coffee, donuts, cheese & crackers served daily.
The line was ten to fifteen deep in farmers, eating, holding food in their hands, not talking.
“Look at this. The five gallon pails are actually cheaper than the fifty-five gallon drum.” I did the math quickly on Uncle Carl’s calculator.
“Ok,” Dad said. I’ll get the hydraulic oil in pails. But it’s easier to use a fifty-five gallon drum for the motor oil.”
I walked back to where Carl was talking to the oil salesman. The silver-haired salesman was sitting at a card table filled with literature. He was kind of in the way and farmers towered above him as they made their way around him.
Carl picked up a spec. sheet on the motor oil.
“Has it always been this busy?” I asked the salesman.
“I’m only here this week. But yeah, it just never stops. It’s steady.”
Two women navigated through the farmers and brought out boxes of donuts and a tray of cheese.
I walked back to where Dad was standing in line. The farmers behind him were agitated.
“This guy overheard us talking,” Dad said.
The farmer held a price card in his hand.
“Ok,” the farmer said. You take ten times $35.95, equals about $360. Add $36 more equals $396. The drum is priced at $375.95. So the drum is cheaper.”
I did the math on the calculator. “Oh, you’re right. Thanks,” I said.
I walked back to Carl. “Look at this. The drum is cheaper.”
“Which one?” Carl said.
“Ok, but look at the 15W40 and the hydraulic oil.”
I did the math. I walked back to Dad.
“Ok. Look at this. 10W30 is priced normally. But 15W40 and the hydraulic oil are cheaper in pails.”
At this point, the other farmers were growing wolf ears, wondering what kind of special deal we had found.
When Dad placed his order he asked why the pails were cheaper. Turns out it was a mistake, but they were honoring it.
We purchased six, five gallon pails of hydraulic oil for $29.95 each, and two, fifty-five gallon drums of 15W40 for $365.95 each. A fifty-five gallon drum of 15W40 costs $599 where we used to buy it from.
We loaded the oil in the back of our truck and headed for home.
“What did the salesman have to say?” Dad said.
“He said it has the same ingredients as Rotella.”
“It’s the same as Rotella?”
“No, he said it has the same ingredients as Rotella.”
“Did you pick up a spec. sheet?” Dad said.
“No. Would you have been able to understand it?” I said.