The Value of a Good Photo

I took pictures of our rusty Chrysler minivan and sold it one day after advertising on Craigslist. A good picture at the right angle can make a $400 car look like $4000. Take, for instance, this 1997 SAAB 9000 Aero. This picture was taken just after going through a $5 car wash. Everything looks shiny and the trees make it look like the owner lives in a nicer neighborhood. First impressions make a big difference.

P.S. Sometimes my pictures have been too good. When the buyer arrives, his idea of the condition may be better than actual. But that’s where the description comes in. This particular car has some rust and other issues. But it sure looks good. Hopefully, the good looks of the car in good pictures will bring in the customers — which is the biggest hurdle to cross. Once they are in, half of the battle is won.

Whose responsibility was it?

A company driver was driving a crew alongside the railroad tracks two weeks ago, when one of the crew members told him to drive on the other side of the railroad tracks. It was dark that night and snow covered most of the ground. So, when the driver crossed to the other side and drove along the flat, snow covered “road”, he was very surprised when the van crashed through the ice into the drainage ditch.

Two weeks later, after trying a tow truck and bobcat with no success, a nearby landfill pulled the van out with a bulldozer. Unfortunately, the van will now need some expensive repairs and the driver has no work vehicle. This all brings up a very important question. Who was responsible for what happened that night?

Was it the crew member’s fault? He was the one who told the driver to go to the other side of the tracks. And if the driver had never been there before, he would need to rely on the knowledge of the crew member to know the lay of the land. And when you are hired to transport people, you do what they ask, right?

Was it the driver’s fault? Every driver is responsible to make sure the vehicle and it’s occupants are safe at all times. And every driver should use common sense. But it is difficult for me to blame the driver for doing what he was told especially under the circumstances.

So what is the correct answer? It is not always easy to know what to do in difficult situations. But knowing what happened to this driver, it isn’t as important to know who was responsible than to know what to do if you face a similar situation. Instead of doing what you are told, you might stop for a moment and ask a question. “Sir, are you sure this is a road?” Or you might say, “I am going to step outside and check the road before going any further.” And if necessary, you might go So far as to say, “I am sorry if it causes you a problem but I do not feel comfortable driving down there. You will have to walk from here.”

Most drivers wouldn’t feel comfortable causing a conflict. It is easier to do what you are told than to get into an argument. But I would imagine that every driver would also like to have a van to drive the next day instead of waiting 2-3 weeks while their van is being repaired. Think about that the next time you are asked to do something questionable. Your ability to say no may make a big difference. Be prepared.

What’s the Scoop? — 2017 Volvo V60 Polestar



I have been curious about the new crop of Volvo cars and was pleasantly surprised to read this review of the 2017 Volvo V60 Polestar wagon. Now that Volvo is using four-cylinder engines, I have wondered how the performance would be perfected. The T6 Polestar was rates at 325 hp when I left the dealership. The new super-turbo-charged four cylinder actually performs better than that six-cylinder phenomenal engine. That amazes me. But I am not the only one. In his 2017 Volvo V60 Polestar Review, Sami Haj-Assaad shows his appreciation for the new wagon’s performance. Take a look and see what you think. Would this be a wagon that you might drive someday?