Secondhand Stuff

Alexander Botts, the self-proclaimed world’s best tractor salesman, returns!

| December 2020

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Wherever Alexander Botts goes, bedlam is sure to follow. Alexander Botts illustrations by Tony Sarg © SEPS licensed by Curtis Licensing Indianapolis, Ind. All rights reserved.

The world’s best tractor salesman is making a triumphant return! Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor: Botts Begins is a collection of short stories originally published by the Saturday Evening Post during a time when conventional wisdom suggested that machines were going to save the world. In the series, the Earthworm tractor is a modern marvel constantly performing previously unthinkable tasks. The outlandish sales tactics of self-proclaimed master salesman Alexander Botts consistently backfire, but, in the end, he never fails to close a deal! For the first time, the full collection of more than 100 stories – including original illustrations and five stories that never appeared in the Post – is available through Octane Press.

In this excerpt from “Secondhand Stuff,” originally published in 1928, Botts visits a promising new prospect only to discover she plans to sell back her badly neglected tractor to the company by using their own sales points. With the reputation of the Farmers’ Friend Tractor Company at stake, Botts scrambles to find a buyer interested in bringing the old machine back to life. This excerpt is printed with the permission of Octane Press. To learn more, visit here.

The idea which came to me this morning was a good one. I remembered that some time ago in Albany one of the salesmen of our company had told of a call he had made on a Mr. George Anthony of Fort Henry, New York, which is just across Lake Champlain from here. It seems that Mr. Anthony had been interested in getting a secondhand tractor. He had been offered an old Army ten-ton which is still in our Albany warehouse, but for some reason had not taken it. If this Mr. Anthony still wanted a secondhand tractor it occurred to me that I might be able to get him to make an offer on Mrs. Watkins’ machine. If I could get him to offer a couple of thousand I might possibly talk Mrs. Watkins into taking it. It was worth trying.



Accordingly, I rented the same car which I had yesterday, drove down to Lake Champlain, crossed on the ferry, and about the middle of the morning reached Mr. Anthony’s farm outside Port Henry.

Mr. Anthony turned out to be a young man of pleasant personality, and we were at once on a very friendly footing. It appeared that we had both been in the artillery during the war and had both been most favorably impressed by the tractors which were used to pull the guns.



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