One of my favorite volunteer jobs is running the Attic Treasures booth for our local library’s May Fair.  Not only do I love the cause, but our library looks like it belongs in a Beatrix Potter book.  The old part is stone, and cottagey, with beautiful soaring windows in the reading room and flowering trees outside.  Every penny we bring in at the May Fair goes to help the library.  And every donated bit of bric-a-brac that we sell at Attic Treasures is very cheap.

Which is why we Attic Treasures ladies (huge thank you to Karen and Caroline and Anne!) get very impatient with the buyers who insist on trying to get something that already’s a total bargain for next to nothing.  “This chicken-shaped plate for deviled eggs is marked $3 but I’ll pay you $1, is that OK?”  I didn’t even bother doing the obvious dickering and agreeing on $2.  “The sale just started!  Someone will pay $3, so no, I’m not lowering the price.”  The joke was on me as I had to pack up the darn hen dish and take it to Goodwill at the end of the day. 

Somehow, mild-mannered white suburban Americans all turn into ruthless Moroccan rug merchants when it’s yard sale time.  If they can’t barter and horse-trade and get something for less, apparently they feel  like losers.  I blame all the TV shows and magazine articles about junking and thrift shopping.  Personally, if I’m at a yard sale and something is fairly priced, I shock the sellers by paying it without a peep.  They always look so grateful. 

The worst example of dickering at the library sale was when a lady came to pay for her little collection of items, and held up a hankie. 

“Would you take a dime for this?” 

“It’s only a quarter to begin with!”

“Yes, but it has a hole.”

“I’m aware of the pinhole, that’s why it’s only a quarter.  It’s vintage and it’s beautiful.”

“Hmmmm, I don’t know….” (feigns disinterest, fingers hankie while teenage daughter looks mortified)

“You know, one of my online friends just sold a hankie for more than $200.  Trust me, a quarter is cheap.”

“FINE, since you’re making such a big deal out of it, I’ll pay you the quarter!”  (Flinging money at me)

“Thank you!  The extra fifteen cents is for our beautiful little library!”

To make sure we’re all winners at next year’s fair, we Attic Treasures girls are going to print up our own price stickers.   Here’s a prototype:

This way, someone will pick up an item marked $32 and say “Hmmmm, would you take $30 for this?”  And we will say “Sure!”  And everybody will be happy.  If you can’t beat em, join em.

On a final note, here’s a cookie that Hugh bought at a recent school fair and brought home so I could take its picture.  Take a thin mint, secure it between two vanilla wafers with red, green and yellow icing, and glue sesame seeds to the top with tiny dots of frosting.  Voila, a cookieburger.  How much would you pay for that?

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