Memorable Moments in an Alien World

{August 2, 2014}   Knowing Where to Buy Quality

Last week after I dropped a visiting friend off at LAX, I decided to walk around Abbot Kinney for the afternoon. It was a blast just walking around, talking with random people, overhearing audacious conversations. It is particularly dangerous for me to shop without a specific purpose, but nothing jumped out at me in the very trendy, ridiculously overpriced stores I visited. That is, until I stumbled across an open air shop.

The woman running it sold jewelry, knick-knacks and other random items that I am just going to call antiques. The layout of the store intrigued me as did the owner herself. She drove all around the country looking for interesting items for her store. It seemed to be a rather new venture for her – there wasn’t a huge stockpile of items yet – but what she did have was worth looking at.

As we talked, I asked her about some necklaces she had. There were dog tags, small sports medals and military tags all from the 1930s that were hung from various necklaces. Fun. So I ventured to ask how much they were.

“Oh, these are $20.” She responded.

“Hmm…do you think you could let this one go for $12?” I held up a necklace.

“Nope. Nice try though.” She paused and then laughed at me, “Where did you come up with a random number like that?!”

I eyed her. Quietly, I answered, “Oh it wasn’t a random number at all. I thought we could negotiate a price and I was willing to go up to $15.”

Maybe it shouldn’t have, but it caused me a great deal of satisfaction to watch her process this. After a moment, she rejoined, “Well, you know, since you were willing to go to $15, I will go so far as to take $15 for that one.” In that moment, I knew that I shouldn’t buy it. It wasn’t worth it. I knew it. She knew it. I should walk away.

I looked down at it, turning it around in my hands. “Okay,” I shrugged, “I’ll take it.” I chatted a bit more, paid her (albeit reluctantly) and left.

Now before you judge me, I must confess that when I said she ran an “open air shop,” that may be a bit misleading. She was actually selling her merchandise out of the back of her van and I am of the firm belief that everyone, EVERYONE should have a, “Oh, I bought this from the back of a van” story.

Ergo, I had no choice but to close the deal. free_candy_van

sell out of a van

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