I learned a valuable lesson this week. Two, actually:
#1) Never hold a garage sale during Fair week.
#2) Some people are just pure evil.
I’ve held a dozen garage sales at this address and this one had the least amount of traffic ever. My oldest son had warned me, “Mom, Fair week might not be a good time to hold a garage sale. People in this town live for the fair. They’ll be too busy to go to your sale.”
He was right. There were several “regulars’ that didn’t make it, and one I wish hadn’t.
Every time I have a sale now this same guy shows up.
The first time he came, I thought he was just trying to be funny.
But, instead, he is intent on cheating me. Every single time. And, flustered, I let him.
I used to be a cynic. For several years I was like the Hallmark Maxine; my dry and caustic wit covering up the fact that I didn’t much like most people and I was sure their intentions were mostly selfish . For a period of about ten years, I wasn’t a real happy person. My marriage relationship reflected that. I’m not proud of the fact that I thought even the goodness of my siblings and relatives was suspect. I avoided family gatherings and dealing with the public. I was figuratively and literally holed up in my country house, encountering as few humans as possible.
Not a good way to live.
I was transformed during David’s cancer treatment. I saw the genuine goodness of so many people during that time; the nurses and doctors and family members and friends who reached out to help, David’s co-workers and even strangers who cared~ it was an amazing thing to see. I started looking for, and expecting, good from everyone I encountered, and my little world opened up. I am a happier and better person now. I smile more, hug more, and find myself reaching out to others and connecting on so many levels. Just writing about this makes me smile and feel “warm fuzzies” because by believing in the innate goodness of others, I have found the world a much better place.
And then I meet evil.
This man, with a huge jovial smile and a blustering attitude brings his chosen merchandise up to the table and it starts.
“Will you take a quarter for this? What about if I get two of them? Can I have them for a dollar? Can I pay you tomorrow? How about a quarter for this? Why not?”
He is handing me money as he dickers on prices, and I am putting his choices into a box or bag. But he talks so fast and he adds more to the bag that he didn’t pay for and I start to falter. I pull it out and he insists he just paid for it. He knows every trick in the book, and I am the clueless one. I remember his tricks from the last encounter, but he is pulling out new ones. I’m busy with other customers, one who whispers “Bless your heart. Just think of him as your good deed for the day.“
He asks if he can have two of the paper towels for 50-cents and I say they are $1, then he says “How about a quarter?” I think he won’t stop until I give him a discount so I counter with 75-cents each. And it isn’t the least bit funny because when I hesitate and agree to 50-cents for the two in his hands, he brings up six more. When I protest, he says I agreed to 50-cents. I tell him that was for two and not eight, but he is handing me four one dollar bills while he loads up the towels in a box, and didn’t he just stick a couple deodorants in there too? And I turn around and my family is on the porch oblivious to my dilemma and I just want this guy out of here, and besides, I have two customers waiting.
I’m not stupid. I realize I’m being had, but his wife or girlfriend, or whatever, is at the table now and ready to pay full-price for her selections, and he is loading up his truck, and I just want him gone. I remember the same thing happening last time I dealt with him; and the girlfriend paying full-price for an arm full while he hopped around surprisingly fast for an overweight man, jumping from one subject to the next and trying to get me to go down on every little thing. And just when I think he is done and I’ll be rid of him, he asks about something else.
I’m not against dickering at garage sales. I had another man dicker with me on everything yesterday afternoon, but on the second day of a sale and when certain things aren’t moving, his offers were reasonable like $1 for something that was $1.25 or buying two $3 razors for $5. Plus, he didn’t try to trip me up by handing me money throughout the exchange, and I didn’t mind his kind of dickering at all. In fact, I admired it. That second guy was having fun getting some good deals at a garage sale. The first guy was trying to cheat me, and I suspect, did very well at it, better than he should have. I let him do it, and that is what bothers me more than anything. I shouldn’t have been alone at the table and I should have pulled everything out of the bags and told him we’d do his final tally at the end when he was completed with his shopping. I will next time, as I am sure there will be a next time. But then, he’ll likely add to his repertoire of tricks by then.
I bet he and his girlfriend were chuckling about the sap at the garage sale when they left. I am sure he felt very powerful by his deceit. I, on the other hand, felt weak, and frankly, a bit shaky after he left.
One nasty man at my garage sale reminded me that, unfortunately, despite all the goodness and light in the world, there is still evil lurking out there.