“The disc jockey had to assist many callers through their spiel, because they got stage fright being live on the air.”

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, I remember my Grandmother Hankins turning the radio on each weekday morning to catch up on local news. The radio host would read off a list of people currently in the hospital, including those released. This was early day, social media, without the flak. When I say flak, I mean totally negative remarks. More about that in a few seconds.

Grandma generally recognized those folks mentioned because she was a longtime resident of Vernon, Alabama. She practically knew everyone in town. At the conclusion of the show, the DJ announced the names of recently deceased residents and where their services were to be held. Hearing this news was depressing not only to Grandma, but to me as well, and I didn’t even know these people.

After this portion of the program was over, Swap-n-Sell came on. That’s when I tuned in with both ears. Residents called via rotary dial telephones and tried to explain what they were selling, with price. The disc jockey had to assist many callers through their spiel, because they got stage fright being live on the air. I recall Grandma chuckling when that happened.

A seller would leave their phone number for interested parties to call. Seller and buyer could then hash things out in private, which is the way it’s supposed to be done. Having a moderator helped things along here.

I’ve never peddled anything on Swap-n-Sell, but I have sold junk via online forums. Those can be a hassle because of flak from gadflies. A gadfly to me is nothing more than a person offering unwanted advice or criticism. There’s generally a purpose behind them doing such. They are pros at using flak to intimidate sellers.

Several months ago, a woman was trying to unload a bassinet on a popular online Havasu sales site. She asked a reasonable $40.00. Right off the bat, a couple of gadflies announced to the group that the seller wanted too much money. I looked at their Facebook profile, and immediately came to the obvious conclusion that these gals were way past childrearing years.

I suppose they wanted to steal the furniture and resell it for profit. Gadflies often work that way. I was happy to see this bassinet go in spite of efforts to cripple the sell. I’m hopeful the seller got full asking price.

Recently, I listed a motorcycle on one of those same sites. Within minutes, I had a few comments from fellows trashing my bike, and another guy claiming it was way overpriced. I ignored them which is the best thing to do. “Don’t feed the trolls!”

A good friend of mine, Jim Brownfield, explained to me that sometimes buyers believe something’s wrong with a car, motorcycle, or boat, when the price is low. Taking his advice, I cancelled my listing and waited a few weeks. I then relisted it for double the money. My Harley sold the next day without discount.

If Grandma Hankins were still alive, she’d have no use for gadflies and trolls on her computer. A troll is a gadfly, possessing unlimited flak. They toss out insults merely for a response and nothing more.

If she could reach down from Heaven with a superlong flyswatter, she’d smack those folks upside the head with it.

If allowed by higher authority, I believe Grandma would start her own online sell group and moderate things from up there, using that swatter as needed. She’d simply call her show, Slap-n-Sell.

Grandpa & Grandma Hankins – 1963

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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