Katie's Journal

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Failure to Communicate

by @ 2:19 pm on August 19, 2011.

I actually wrote this a week and a half ago now but didn’t get it posted. So references to time are relative.

We actually have a few extra heifers to sell so a few weeks ago I put an ad up on craigslist for the heifers and what bull calves we had at the time. The ad had been up a while and with no calls we took the bull calves to the stock sale a week ago Monday. They never do as well as when we sell off the farm so we try not to do that if we don’t have to. But we’d had a glut of calves born and I was full up on heifer calves. After a couple weeks of advertising I’d had no calls on the bulls. With Ern still not up to par and me feeling pretty overwhelmed we went ahead and dumped them.

Back to the point of the story, a few days ago we get a call from a guy in Ohio. Ern talks to him a few minutes and from hearing Ern’s side of the conversation I gather he’s calling about the heifers. Ern tells him I’m from Ohio and puts me on the phone for directions. That does absolutely no good as I left Ohio when I was four years old. But I give him our address and a google search tells him we’re almost three hours away. He says he’ll call back to arrange a time to come down and look at the calves. I thought it odd at the time he didn’t ask for details about what we had and when I offered to email pictures he wasn’t interested. I figured he wasn’t really that interested after all and we’d never hear from him again. That happens all the time.

Much to my surprise my phone rings yesterday evening. I was putting milkers on and couldn’t get to it. When I checked the message it was from the guy in Ohio who wanted to see our bull calves. Bull calves? Uh-oh. He was on our road. Here? Seriously? Shoot. Sure enough a minute later a little silver car pulls in with a back seat full of kids. It was indeed the poor guy from Ohio who just drove three hours to look at bull calves we didn’t have. His wife was seriously unhappy and they weren’t long turning around to head home.

I’m completely stumped by several things. First, who drives that far without first calling to confirm someone would be there? If he’d called again I’d like to think we would have caught the misunderstanding and saved him the trip. I caught it as soon as I got his message but by then it was too late to do anything about it. Second, he had a little hatchback car. The back seat was full of kids and there was maybe a 2-3′ cubbyhole behind the seat. How was he planning to get the calves home? For a short hop across town maybe he could have crammed one back there but a three hour drive? I don’t think so. Third, we have decent, healthy calves but nothing registered or particularly special. I can’t get my head around why anyone would drive 3 hours for them. Especially when he lived pretty close to Ohio’s top two dairy counties. It is my understanding that bull calf prices remain low in high dairy areas so it probably would’ve been cheaper and certainly would have been closer to get some there. Heifers are harder to come by and we have had people drive that far. But never bull calves. Somehow an honest misunderstanding was made in that one phone call, and while I feel really bad the guy drove all that way I’m left scratching my head as to how the comedy of errors culminated in a wasted three hour drive.

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One Response to “Failure to Communicate”

  1. Farmer Kate » Blog Archive » What are people thinking?? Says:

    […] time ago I wrote a post about an unfortunate miscommunication with a guy who drove clear from Ohio to look at bull calves […]

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