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Sunday, December 4, 2011


Several years ago a young woman and her mother arrived at my store in a shiny new Mercedes. The daughter told me that her father had passed and that her mother wanted to sell some of his boat gear. When the lid to the trunk was opened, I discovered a brand new pair of Barient S.S. #36 self tailing winches, a complete hydraulic steering system for a 60' power boat and several boxes of Harken, Lewmar and Winchard blocks and hardware and other misc. items, all brand new and boxed. I asked the mother how much she wanted for the items and she said, "I was hoping to get $300.00 or possibly a little more?" Knowing the items were "pure gold" and with a little bit of quick math I mentally came up with a figure I could quickly sell the items for. I said to the woman, "would you be happier with $2500.00?" Both the mother and her daughter thought I was kidding. I then explained to them that they had over $10,000.00 worth of boat gear in the back of their car and that I could quickly sell the items for $5000.00 or possibly more and that I wasn't really doing them any special favor with my offer of $2500.00. They accepted my offer, I wrote them a check and they graciously drove away.
A Newport Beach boating icon died several years ago. He was a personal friend and I had been in his home several times and marveled over his collection of old photos,trophies and books. His two heirs (kids in their 30's) quickly sold his 2 million dollar ocean front home and called me to purchase some boat hardware that was in the basement. As I arrived I noted a 20' dumpster in a parking space in front of the house. A glance inside showed me all the pictures that had been hanging on his walls, a pile of trophies and hundreds of books and classic old yachting magazines. This man's entire life and a pictorial history of the dozens of boats he had owned was on its way to the landfill. I purchased the hardware and was allowed to pick out of the dumpster anything I wanted. Most of the items had been ruined and stained with oil and other garbage so there was little for me to salvage.
A woman called me to her home sometime ago. She had lost her husband in a motorcycle accident. He was a boat builder and had owned several large sailboats. I spent about an hour going through the large garage and then offered the woman $1800.00 for all the boating items and tools. "Wow!", she exclaimed. "Everyone told me to call Minney's last." She then said, "I made a list of all my husband's friends and had them over here first to purchase whatever they wanted. They hand picked all my husband's good stuff and only paid me only a total of $700.00."
My son and I made a trip to the Inland-Empire the other day and purchased a trailer load of boat gear and sails from a lovely woman. Her husband knew his days were numbered but still refused to sell their 50' cutter or deal with the mountain of boat gear in the small garage. She had run ads on Craig's list and called a few of his friends that pretty much "cherry picked" the gear and paid her only peanuts. She didn't have a clue as to what the value of the items in the garage were worth? I made her a reasonable offer which she immediately accepted. My son and I loaded the gear into our trailer, swept and totally cleaned and organized her garage. As we were leaving she hugged both of us and we waved to her as we drove away. As we were driving back to the store Josh said, "you know dad, I think what made that woman the happiest was that we emptied and cleaned her garage. You probably could have purchased that load of gear in the trailer for $100.00 instead of the $1200.00 that you paid her.
To cut to the chase guys, we're not going to live forever? I deal with a lot of widows and often times their husbands were friends and customers of mine. Perhaps a little planning ahead for the time that we will be departing for the land of "fair winds and following seas" might be in order. I've condensed most of my boat gear to the store and let you guys dig through it every day. I have two great sons that can dispose of it, hopefully, for years to come. The rest of you aren't so lucky. Don't leave it up to your wives, kids and loved ones to deal with the marine hardware stores in your storage lockers and garages. P.S. Knowing what procrastinators you all are perhaps you could do just one thing. Write a little addendum in your will or trust that says, "In regard to disposing of my boat gear and equipment, CALL MINNEY'S FIRST!!!"

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