LIFE BY LOUIS: Face to face with brokers

Monday September 02 2019
self-driving car.

My KVX has given me seven years of good service and it’s about time I sold it. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


My KVX has given me seven years of good service and it’s about time I sold it. I’m looking for a worthwhile replacement as I feel it’s time to graduate to a decent car. At least one that does not have to be parked on a hill every evening for ease of push starting in the morning.

In the process, I have had to make an inevitable contact with a certain category of entrepreneurs who call themselves brokers.


A broker is a cunning character who wants to reap from your misfortune, because I cannot call selling a jalopy to prospective scrap dealers a fortune.

Trying to look for a worthy replacement for the jalopy does not qualify as a fortune either.

The broker sells anything from aircraft landing gear, avocado seedlings, beach plots in Cape Town, meat preservatives to reusable baby diapers.


He also has contacts with people who know other people who specialize in organ harvesting and rare metals from West Africa.

Although he is a regular person in the city going around his business and avoiding to pay his taxes whenever possible, he undergoes a complete metamorphosis as soon as he smells a business deal.

First of all, he begins acting like a renowned venture capitalist in town so he even changes the way he answers the phone.

He dons a broken suit and a matching thin tie that seems to give him a certain amount of discomfort. He also carries several phones, one of which is as big as a digital billboard.

He now sounds like a world-renowned Italian dealer in rare antique models and celebrity posh cars, and who has an extensive market niche with the Saudi oil magnates and a direct 40-year contract with the top Porsche manufacturers.

Although he desperately needs the money, he begins to act all cagey and unavailable just when you need him the most.

Although the car he is selling has been involved in multiple accidents and is about to self-destruct, he still feels extremely important about the whole deal.

Because he does not want to sell the car with even one drop of petrol, he adds just two hundred worth and drives with a permanent red light.

As a result, when you want to view the car and you are in a different part of town, he can’t drive the car to your location because he is sure that the fuel tank will run dry before he arrives.

He therefore takes you in circles until the two of you happen to be in close proximity.

You finally locate him parked outside a bar, he is not through with the car until it drives him home drunk one last time.

Because he claims that the car is clean and has only been owned by one female driver, he takes it to the car wash every time you want to view. The car therefore lands for viewing dripping with water and looking like a rained on chicken.

The photos that he sent to you when advertising the car tell a completely different story from the current jalopy that he finally presents for viewing.

The alloy rims have been harvested and replaced with black iron rims that look like old soot blackened sufurias.

The tyres that looked like they had some thread left on the photo now look as smooth as his lies.

He has also harvested the steering wheel cover, seat covers, stereo, spare wheel, alarm system and the floor mats.

The engine oil is as black as an evil soul, and the last date of engine service is exactly three years ago.  

The only thing he has not changed is the price. He is still hopeful of making a fortune from a metallic contraption that is barely capable of its own mobility.

Because he has also told the whole world that he is an important person who sells big cars, the deal is flooded with secondary brokers.

When you go to view the car, the secondary brokers are hovering around, leaning on the bonnet to distract you from opening so that you don’t see the engine that looks like the mouth of an old alligator.

They haggle viciously, killing both sides of the seller and buyer and focusing on their bottom line.

You have a feeling that you are negotiating a multilateral world bank financing agreement for a standard gauge railway line.

When you finally want to close the deal, the coward imposes impossible trading arrangements because he is convinced that you are a thief who has been sent by his estranged spouse to crumble his thriving automobile trading empire.

The secondary brokers already want their cut even before you close the deal, and if you are not closing they still want a viewing fee. They claim to have brought the two of you seller and buyer together from different parts of the globe. They also claim to have done the match making between your motor vehicle needs and their offering, a task they make sound as complicated as a national census.

When you request for their bank details, they insist on being paid in cash using the new currency. Because you are not in the mood to play tango with the directorate that deals with criminal investigations and specializing in money laundering, you call off the deal.

You go home feeling like a person the world is treating quite unfairly.