We bought a new lawnmower. This may not seem particularly momentous, unless you have met Walker mowers. We have been a Walker mower establishment for maybe 30 years now and this is our third new machine. Walkers, you understand, are like the Rolls Royce of lawnmowers – with a price tag to match. As the person who pays the bills, I was less than enthusiastic about the move to this brand of lawnmower but I have come to accept that ours is a life where having a lawnmower that costs more than our car is a perfectly logical position.
Walker is an American brand, an evangelical company which fully integrates its faith with its business. We are Walker fans because these machines are much safer, more stable and manoeuvrable than most ride-on mowers. It is capable of turning in its own space and of mowing steep slopes without tipping. It also gives us the option of mulching or catching and gives a good result on the house lawns as well as coping with our rough road verges, grassy slopes and the variety of terrain across our acreage. That is why we have a fancy-pants lawnmower despite its price tag and ongoing maintenance requirements. We have never seen another mower that is capable of doing what a Walker does.
Over the years, the Walker has brought us much amusement. It comes with a certain amount of merchandising – caps, coffee mugs, pads and the like – and every few months we receive a copy of their magazine, Walker Talk. It appears that we became members of the ‘Walker Family’ when we bought the first mower. Were we in USA, we could even attend annual get-togethers of the Walker Family. We used to get a copy of the Walker calendar and we thought maybe we should submit a photo of Lloyd mowing here to see if we could get him as a Walker pin-up boy. The calendars featured photos of garden and park settings, all with somebody on a Walker mower in the foreground. Lloyd has long hair and a bushy beard so he may have looked more Amish than Bible Belt, even had we dressed him in the mandatory white, long sleeved shirt that all these Walker mower operators appear to wear in the US. We never got around to staging a photo shoot and the calendars stopped coming.
I did find a photo – as in a print photo from pre-digital era – of Lloyd mowing the lawns on the Walker, wearing a Santa hat. But I need his permission before posting his photograph and he does not work on Sunday. He may, after all, be less than enthusiastic about having a photo of himself wearing a Santa hat sitting on the internet. I give you instead a photo of an upside down mower. Very stable, the Walker may be, but even it can not stay upright when the stream bank caves in. I think Mark was responsible for this mishap 22 years ago, cutting in too close to the bank.
What to do with the old machine? We were not going to get a good trade-in price on it so decided that we would try and sell it privately. The lawnmowing here is entirely Lloyd’s domain so he gave the old machine a final wash and clean and I listed it on two local Facebook buy and sell pages. Overall it was in good nick, well maintained but with very high hours on it so we set a price accordingly at $2900, leaving a little room to negotiate.
Well, who would have thought that an old Walker is so very desirable? They are a specialised machine with exacting maintenance requirements and there are much cheaper ride-ons for home gardeners. It had only been on line for a few minutes when the messages started pouring in. I am not exaggerating when I say that in the three hours that followed, I could have sold six of them at that price. Four were people willing to pay immediately, sight unseen, based on the photos. But we only had one to sell and it had been paid for and left the property within three hours. Yes, it is tempting to think that we set the price too low and we could have got more for it. But we set that price at what we thought it was worth and we are fine with that.
Lloyd is very happy with his new Walker mower. Mark and I are happy that Lloyd is happy, though we hope this machine may see us out. And then we received this little hamper by courier from the salesman. Apparently, Walker mower owners are more craft beer drinkers than wine drinkers. Mark was most delighted by the two little bags of potato crisps which says something about the lack of such taste treats in our household. I could calculate how many bags of potato chips we could have bought for the price of the mower but then they would no longer be a treat. Mark instead calculated what sort of luxury vehicle we could be driving for the price of our three, brand new Walker mowers.