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Willie Hobson owns Hobson's multi-storey Livery Stable which is clearly the equivalent of a multi-storey car park and Willie is clearly the equivalent of a used car salesman with all of the connotations of trust and honesty similar occupations have in Roundworld. He is describes as being a large man looking similar to the results of shaving a bear. Nothing much is known about him except that he is patterned after Thomas Hobson (1544-1630) a Cambridge stable manager and the origin of the saying "Hobson's choice" (ie the appearance of giving someone a choice, when actually there is only one option). People renting horses from him would be shown all available horses, but in the end they always had to take the one nearest the door, so that all his horses were exercised. This is a major business in Ankh-Morpork, so Hobson is likely a rich man. As the The New Discworld Companion points out, many people in the city want the use of a horse occasionally, but not all the time. People who own horses often have nowhere to park them, so one kind of customer rents an occasional horse, the other rents stable space, and either way Hobson provides a service - much like car sharing services (car clubs in Britain) like "Car2Go". Rincewind and Moist von Lipwig have used his horses. As well as stabling other people's horses, Hobson's Livery Stable is used in a similar fashion to car parks in TV and movies as a popular location for circumspect meetings and transactions. William de Worde meets "Deep Bone" there when he is looking for information in "The Truth". According to rumour, Hobson employs an Igor with a talent for taking body parts from different horses, and stitching them together into a "new" animal. Moist von Lipwig refers to a rumour that there is a horse in Ankh-Morpork with a longitudinal seam from head to tail but these rumours are rarely uttered in the presence of Hobson, who is a large man with a direct sense of humour when it comes to putting people with smart mouths on unbroken horses. In Going Postal Moist von Lipwig suggests that Hobson's provides "tired old horses" that are "feagued-up old screws". In revenge, when Moist von Lipwig needs a horse to take the mail to Sto Lat, Hobson provides him with Boris, a horse with "a few faults", including trampling assorted handlers and eating somebody, "again."


The Truth

Going Postal

The New Discworld Companion