Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bad Cop, Worse Cop

Carrying home our quarry after
another garage sale expedition.
As a new homeowner, I have been faced with a challenge. How do I fill up the house with stuff? So I've responded by getting to it in the only way I know how: Get my mom in to town. My mom is a certified Dumpster Diver (there are pictures) and is recognized far and wide as the Queen of Garage Sales. Surely she will know what to do.

My mom did not disappoint. On her first walkthrough of the house, she went through every room with a measuring tape and was throwing out suggestions like gunfire: "You should add some shelves here -- add a long pillow to the window-sill -- find a longer table for the dining room -- this room would look good with a nice taupe rug -- maybe we could find a Chaise sofa for this room? --" ...and so on. Before we ever left the house, she had measured out the sizes for each ideal object.

Our search began in earnest yesterday, as we woke up early to hit the Winston-Salem garage sale circuit. After we found something we wanted, we would initiate our patented "bad cop, worse cop" routine. My mom would make an insulting offer, and then the sellor would make a counter-offer, and then my mom would look to me, where I would be pulling off my best "I don't know if I even want this piece of crap anyway" look, at which point the sellor would come down to about my mom's price. Here are a couple near-verbatim conversations:
Mom: "Would you take $250 for the armoire?" [which showed a sticker price of 395]

Sellor: "The wood alone is worth the asking price!"

Mom: (Looks at me.)

Me: (Face says "uggh, what an ugly piece of trash.")

Sellor: "Okay, how about $265?"

Mom: "How about $260?"

Sellor: "Fine!"
This was the typical story for big-sticker items, but my mom's haggling was unflagging. If something cost 50 cents, she would ask for 25. Here was another conversation:
Mom: "Would you take 50 cents for the coat hooks?" [A set of three which was offered for a buck.]

Sellor: "Surely you have a dollar."

Mom: (Looks at me.)

Me: (Face says "uggh, these hooks disgust me.")

Sellor: "I think we could do fifty cents."

Me: (Face says "This is 50 cents that could be better spent on used toilet paper")

Sellor: "Just take them for free if you like!"
In the end, we still paid the woman 50 cents anyway. With our bargaining powers combined, it just isn't even fair..


sarahsouth said...

i am confused by that photo. did your roof cave in?

-DW- said...

Not exactly... this is what you call packing your car beyond capacity to get a mattress home.

Lucy said...

Pls. tell me you didn't buy a mattress at a garage sale. Because that would truly warrant looks of disgust, and not as a bargaining tactic either.

Next time your mom is here, send her to Kinnamon's. True bounty.

-DW- said...

Actually, we did make a trip to Kinnamon's, and my mom was able to get an incredible deal for a very high quality table (which, ultimately, I didn't even want). But I will definitely vouch for Kinnamon's...

After this weekend, I could probably do a whole entry or two on the different furniture places in Winston, Greensboro, and High Point, but that would be far too functional, right?

Lori said...

it sounds like you and your mom are quite a team! try not to bankrupt the whole county, though. remember: with great power comes great responsibility.