8.05.2009

What NOT to say at a garage sale

I have purchased several vintage bikes over the years. The one in the photo was the last one I bought. I have never paid over $25.00. (all from my secret garage sale route) Last weekend My husband and I stopped at a sale. I spied the old white bike before we got out of the car and I announced to him "It's mine!" I checked out the price tag then did a once over on their goods. It really was the only thing worth buying. Since I always figure it doesn't hurt to try, I asked the guy if he wood take less for it. He hemmed and hawed and finally said "I might if you're a serious buyer." I wondered why I had to be serious, couldn't it just be good fun? "Would you take $20.00?" I asked? (down from $25.00) At first he looked stupefied then he looked a bit angry. Then came a long rant about it being 4o years old, he rode it on a paper route-it held a lot of meaning for him...As I listened to him I thought ""Wow, he does take it serious, but seriously-if he was so attached, why is he selling it?
When he took a breath, I said "OK, I will pay $25.00." By now he was outraged. "It's worth $2,500" he said loudly enough for the other shoppers to get interested in our discussion. " I should have it priced way higher then $250.00 but it needs a little work." I looked at my embarrassed husband who gave me the eye that said "let's get out of here." Somehow I had missed the extra little $0 on the tag -but I was starting to feel offended, why couldn't he just have said from the get go that I had read it wrong? My husband could see I was working up a return lecture for the guy (Norah, if you are reading this-are you surprised?) and guided me to the car mid sentence. I was a little embarrassed and I wouldn't normally argue over someones treasure...But did he have to make it look like I was trying to rip him off? Note to self: never make a offer without first asking the price. Note to self: next time don't be so cheap, I would have paid $25.00 for it no problem.

7 comments:

Lemondrop Marie said...

Oh well... you both had a bit of an experience there- his was that he needs to work on his penmanship like his third grade teacher said to years ago. The red bike is fantastic!

Norah said...

lolol

Pam, you are tooooo funny. I can just picture this scene, the guy highly insulted by your sincere offer (after all, he said he might be willing to take less!?!!) I agree, he should have made a better sign!

Something similar happened to me a couple of months ago.. There was a little homemade sign on the side of the road that said "Plants 25 each".. I've seen that sign before, we finally decided to stop. The nice woman was selling perennials of all kinds that had spread all over her property. We discussed the different varieties and then I said I'd take 10 of those, and 10 of these.. turns out they were $2.50 each, not .25 cents each! She said there's a little 'zero' there. Well, I only bought four plants total lolol.

It could happen to anyone!!

à la parisienne said...

Pam,
It sounds like that garage sale experience is one you'll never forget! It seems like the more we try to haggle down prices, the more we hit situations like this, but it's still worth it in the long run for all of those great bargains we "win" and get to bring home. Have a great weekend!

Susan Eastin said...

I had a similar experience in an antique shop several years ago. I found a vintage cookie jar that I absolutely fell in love with. The price tag appeard to read $150 and I took it to the front desk to ask if the dealer would take less. It turns out the ink on the tag had faded. The actual price was $1150.

Susan
PhotoWeights.com

Cathy said...

LOL! OMG, I have done just that...did not have my reading glasses with me at a sale one time and DID NOT see the extra 0! Now looking back it is quite funny, but at the time....very embarrassing! Happy Junkin....

Uncovered Ruby said...

This cracks me up Pam! You're such a good story teller, I can totally picture this in my head. Needless to say, that bike wasn't meant for you! Lisa :-)

adrianne said...

I've been wanting a vintage bike! You gotta tell me where you get them!