Firewood Saga: Part 2: Cold Calling

In theory buying firewood should be easy; much easier than processing the wood myself. I should be able to define what I want using the unit of a cord (which is a definition older than time). I should be able to pay the market rate for a single cord of hardwood firewood, cut, split, seasoned, and delivered. If I’m desperate, I could pay more. If I’m cheap… I could hold out for a better price. This shouldn’t get complex.

City folks might imagine a visit to or 1-800-FREEZING. They might imagine a single call, a swipe of a credit card, tough but cheerful men showing up on time and happy with a profitable truckload of oak. Nope!

Capitalism out here in the hinterlands (on the ragged end of the countryside) is already breaking down. We’re so close to the barter phase that buying firewood (which is legal I might add) is like scoring drugs.

I looked in the local paper, found a few old school classified ads. I also checked Craigslist. Plus I consulted an Oracle and sacrificed a goat. This gave me several possible contacts.

The next step was what I call “cold calling”. This is when I call people or companies, cash in hand, and am told that they don’t want my filthy lucre. Either that or I learn things I don’t want to learn (a fate that’s even worse!).

Ring ring. “What?”

Curmudgeon: “I’m calling about the ad. It says you’ve got cut and split firewood?”

“That’s my husband.”

Curmudgeon: “He has firewood?”


Curmudgeon: “Um… The ad?”

“He went hunting. What a jackoff.”

Curmudgeon: “Well OK then. Sorry to trouble you.”

Ring ring. “Billy JoeBob Junior’s Firewood Service.”

Curmudgeon: “I’m calling about the ad. It says you’ve got cut and split firewood?”

“Well I can.”

Curmudgeon: “Come again?”

“I’ve got some trees. Been meaning to cut ’em down.”

Curmudgeon: “Um… The firewood in the ad?”

“Sold out.”

Curmudgeon: “So everything you have to sell would be ‘green’?”

“Yeah, sure would smoke bad if ya’ burn it this winter. When you gonna’ use it?”

Curmudgeon: “This winter.”

“Sucks to be you.”

Ring ring. “Hydraulic Machinery Inc. How can I help you?”

Curmudgeon: “I’m calling about the ad. It says you’ve got cut and split firewood?”


Curmudgeon: “So you put up an ad because?”

“We’ve got a screaming deal on a firewood processor!”

Curmudgeon: “Um… That’s a big machine.”

“Only $20,000! Financing available. You can easily run 50 cords a week. The cab is air conditioned.”

Curmudgeon: “And that’s going to heat my house how?”

“You could clearcut your backyard. ”

Curmudgeon: “Thanks but I only need a cord.”

“Turn down the deal of a lifetime? Are you nuts?”


Ring ring. “Billy JoeBob’s Dad’s Firewood Service.”

Curmudgeon: “I’m calling about the ad. It says you’ve got cut and split firewood?”

“Heck yeah I’ve got firewood!”

Curmudgeon: “Then who is Billy JoeBob Junior’s Firewood Service?”

“My son. The kid’s an idiot. The kid has my truck though. You’ll have to pick it up here.”

Curmudgeon: “I can come get it with my truck. So how much for a cord of not delivered, firewood?”


Curmudgeon: “Ouch.” (The market rate for a 4’x4’x8′ cord of firewood is about $180 delivered.) “So this is cut, split, seasoned…”

“Yeah, burn it tomorrow.”

Curmudgeon: “…and a cord is defined by you as…”

“A truckload.”

Curmudgeon: “…you can fit a volume of wood equivalent to a stack of wood that’s 8′ long, 4′ high and 4′ wide… 128 cubic feet of stacked wood. You can fit that in a pickup?”

“Well maybe not a Toyota.”

Curmudgeon: “You think you can make a firewood stack the full length and width of a longbed pickup… and the stack is as tall as a Hobbit. And this will roll down the road?”

“Well maybe it’s not a cord per se. We dump it from a bobcat.”

Curmudgeon: “So, it’ll be pyramidal shaped jackstraws in the back of a pickup. Probably about 1/3 of a true 4’x4’x8′ cord. Can I buy from you a full, actual, real, cord of firewood?”

“Oh sheesh. Yeah, but that’d be a whole lot more.”

Curmudgeon: “Like how much?”

“Ya aren’t going to like the cost. I’ll level with ya’. Most people don’t know the difference between a cord and a pickup. Sometimes guys come up with little trucks like a Ford Ranger and last week this one dude had a Honda Ridgeline and I’m like ‘oh yeah that truck can hold eight tons of firewood’ and they went for it. They don’t know what a ton is. They don’t know a cord. I screw them all nine ways from Sunday. I only say cord because they believe it.”

Curmudgeon: “So I should go elsewhere?”

“I would, you know what really fits in a truck. I’m just sorta’ skimming the gullible ones.”

Curmudgeon: “Well thank you for your honesty.”

“You should see what I can do with a bobcat. Shake the box just so and I can ‘fluff up’ the wood.”

Curmudgeon: “Well I don’t really want to know…”

“I swear I could make two pumpkins and a beer can fill a truck bed. Some dudes won’t even get out and look.”

Curmudgeon: “Er… I should go…”

“Man this one chick. She was gonna’ surprise her old man and get him firewood. I told her wood cost… well she’d have believed anything. I almost felt guilty.”

Curmudgeon: “You charged more than $220 for a pickup load of wood?”

“They were summer people.”

Curmudgeon: “Well this has been a fine chat. I’ve got to go now.”

Ring ring. “MegaCorp Construction, we build it so you don’t have to. How can I help you?”

Curmudgeon: “I’m calling about the ad. It says you’ve got firewood?”

“Certainly. I’ll transfer you to Jake…”

At this point things continue on a new path. More in my next post.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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2 Responses to Firewood Saga: Part 2: Cold Calling

  1. abnormalist says:

    Curmudgeon?!? Seriously? We hates us a cliffhanger!

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