Recently I've been working at the office of my father-in-law. For some reason he keeps a radio going at all times; he has ever since I've known him and it's become one of those things that, like clocks or antique fans or his love of making you feel stupid with all these crazy trivia questions he knows, make me kind of chuckle about knowing him. The radios play in the office, in his warehouse, in the tack room for the horses. He always keeps them on some sort of quiet, droning, comforting type station, something that plays old bluegrass music or talks about things that only get talked about in the background of other conversations. Except on weekdays during the lunch hour, when dial-a-trade is on and I have to suspect that more people are listening to this show than are admitting to it. It's great.
It's a whole show, and I have no idea how long it goes, a couple of hours at least, of people just calling in saying "I've got a box of refrigerator magnets for sale for $5, my number is..." Then on to the next caller. It's like a radio version of a flea market or the classifieds or, I don't know, the internet. There are sometimes some really good things, depending on the types of things you like to buy (like if you like guns and four-wheelers I'd say there are lots of great things). There's always something weird and desperate-seeming that makes you think "how did I end up here, at 27, eating cold leftovers for lunch listening to some guy try to sell his broken down Pontiac GrandAm for $300?" Sometimes people call in looking for things, or they say they saw someone drop a set of keys in a parking lot at Wal Mart and if they're listening they can call 968-5555 to get the keys back. It's a whole networking opprotunity for people who don't read Craigs List.
Are there other places that have dial-a-trade? I'd never heard of such a thing but it seems like such a good idea. If they got some good hosts, some guys like Click and Clack or something this could be a nationally syndicated show, really. It's hilarious what people call in with and always leaves you wondering what these people do when they hang up the phone. Are they calling on their lunch hour or is dial-a-trade part of how they make a living? Why are they selling their Granfather's pocket watch that doesn't run? Do they listen to dial-a-trade all the time? How long did they wait to get on the air?
It's entertaining to listen to and even makes you think about all the things you could be selling through dial-a-trade, if you weren't selling them on eBay, or, in my case, through an auction. It makes you want to buy stuff you would never otherwise think about buying just because you like a person's voice or they really sound like they need the money. It makes you proud to be an Arkansan.