I ran into an acquaintance this weekend, and he related a story to me about a fellow thrifter finding a genuine Rolex watch in small bag of assorted watches, which was purchased for $1 at a church yard sale.
It sold on eBay for $1900.
Yet, something was bothering me, from a philosophical standpoint. Given the age of the watch, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it was donated by a senior citizen, either directly, or through an estate, and neither of which would have parted with it if they had known its value. Of course, that’s true at any sale, but we aren’t talking about nickel and dime items. Two grand is a lot money, and, for most people, could make a difference in their quality of life, at least in the short term.
So, the question I kept asking myself is at what point does our hobby/business/obsession become less about thrifting, and more about taking advantage of people’s ignorance and/or misfortune? Is there a monetary value of a find that should make us stop, assess the situation, and be a good Samaritan, or should we always take the money and run, so to speak, regardless of the circumstances?
Does our conscience have a price?
Admittedly, I don’t have all the answers, and, honestly, like most of you, I probably would have kept and sold the watch for the almost obscene profit. By asking the questions, though, I’d like to think that I haven’t quite become so jaded that I wouldn’t at least consider the implications of my gain vs. the donor’s loss.
Elsewhere in my little corner of the thrifting world, Saturday again was hit and miss. I did find five USB bar code scanners for $20; a family of Care Bears; several new games and puzzles; and assorted books and CDs. I also had to work to make a nickel by buying the individual Twilight books for $.25 each to sell as a lot.
On a happier note, Ella returned on Sunday. Despite enjoying two months of bachelorhood, it’s good to have her home.
Plus, she brought me a plush ALF to sell.