The scene of the alleged crime was a living estate sale that ran both Friday and Saturday. My wife attended the sale on Friday while I was at work, and told me that we should go on Saturday as well since they were going to mark down the prices. With several sales under our belts on Saturday, we decided to make it our last stop before heading home with our newfound treasure.
The sale in question had advertised a lot of stuff, but what caught my eye was that it was going to feature a Vic 20, Commodore 64, and Commodore 128, all early computers that I coveted while in my teens. While I eventually purchased the Vic 20 way back when, I still lusted after its higher priced cousins.
My wife said she didn’t see the computers during her visit on Friday, so I assumed that they were some of the first things to be sold. Walking through the house, I didn’t see the computers, but did find the manuals … several of them, in fact, in boxes in the garage. I spent some time going the boxes, and picking out some books. A gentleman working the sale noticed what I was doing, and wanted to know if I was interested in the computer that went with the books.
I hadn’t noticed it, but on a shelf behind him was the Commodore 128 in original box. It had a price tag of $100. There also were several Commodore disc drives, and a box full of software.
Cha ching, so to speak.
I asked how much for the computer and the Commodore books. He went inside and asked the lady running the cashbox. He came back out and said $55. I said, “sold,” and we started boxing up the computer, disc drives, software, and the books, and taking it to my car.
Once accomplished, I went inside to pay. I told the lady that I was the one buying the computer, and she said that would be $100 plus tax.
Wait a minute, I said. Her worker quoted me $55. She then said the $100 was for all three computers (a deal, but there was only one computer). I told her as much, but she said she had inventoried everything that morning, and that while she would honor the price that her worker quoted me, she would have to “eat” the other $45 if I didn’t pay for all the computers.
Now, of course, I wasn’t going to let this woman bully me into paying more than what was quoted, but she seemed dead set that I was trying to steal the other two computers. I again tried to explain it to her, even summoning her worker, who verified that there was only one computer. She still wasn’t convinced, and decided that the conversation was over. She took my $55, and refused to talk any more about it, giving me the “evil” eye as I walked out.
I left the sale fuming, with the wife trying to calm me down.
After thinking about it for a day or so now, though, I realized why I had become so mad. I work hard, negotiate fairly, play by the rules, and am considerate of all the yard/garage/estate sellers that I meet on Saturday mornings. I pay appropriately, never saddling sellers with big bills, and I always buy the cookies or lemonade that their children sell. In short, I respect the process.
However, I took the altercation personally, instead of professionally, a lesson I won’t soon forget. Once I realized that kernel of truth, my day got a little better.