I love Craigslist. I've sold lots of things over the years; from baby clothes to unused old toys to crystal vases to a Honda SUV, I've run the gamut with sales prices. I’ve even used it to give away free stuff in the alley, like moving boxes and unused furniture. I've also bought lots if things on Craigslist. Training wheels and patio furniture, chairs and bed frames, it's all the same. The idea of re-using items instead of buying new at outrageous prices or trashing STUFF to go sit in some landfill just makes so much sense. Couple that with the thrill of the negotiating, my favorite pastime, even if it’s just over five dollars, and Craigslist is a dream come true for me!
Yesterday I was chasing down faux Tiffany lamps on Craigslist, as we recently painted our living room, and the result was a gorgeous hue of rich green that contrasted beautifully with the dark woodwork, but reduced the lighting to dungeon-status. I emailed back and forth with a woman in the city over a set of Tiffany-inspired lamps. I inquired about the height, the working order, and the brightness of the light output. We did not talk about price, but I knew I wanted to buy the lamps, so I was prepared to pay the full list price of $50 apiece, but as always, would be ready to bargain.
We arranged a time for me to come to her home. I told her I’d have my kid, so as to prepare her for a child in her house. I was at least ten minutes late and as I pulled up to the huge Victorian home where she lived in my dirty ’98 Camry, toting a 4-year-old clad in an unzipped coat without hat and mittens, despite the fact that it was windy and fifteen degrees outside with spitting snow, she met me at the front door and welcomed us inside.
We worked our way upstairs to the room where the lamps were located, and she flipped on the bulbs.
“I love them!” I gushed. “Is it $50 for both lamps or $50 apiece?” I inquired.
“Oh, it’s $50 for them both,” she answered, “and I’ll be happy to give them to you for $40,” she uncomfortably stammered, as she avoided eye-contact with me.
I was shocked! I’d never had anyone so quickly offer a discount, unless there was an obvious deformity in the item or urgency to unload the merchandise, which didn’t seem like the case here.
“I’ll take them,” I gushed and counted out $40 in ones, pulled from a roll of cash in my coat pocket.
As we worked our way down the stairs with the lamps, I glanced at my 4-year-old with strawberry yogurt crusted on her mouth and her shoes on the wrong feet. I looked down at my own painting pants I hadn’t bothered to change out of since yesterday, and I brushed my cheek against my Village Discount H&M winter coat purchased three winters ago for $6 with the screwed up zipper. I scratched my itchy scalp which was disguised underneath a tightly haphazard ponytail and gazed out at the car while carrying the lamps, studying the gashes in the paint on the back bumper. I subconsciously noted to myself that by the time another fifty parallel parks have been executed, the entire bumper would be void of any color at all.
By the time I’d made two trips to the car with my toddler in tow and lamps in hand, I realized that I had gotten a pity discount. I laughed out loud at the thought of the sight of my daughter and I pulling up to this big house loaded with room after room of furniture and antiques and I lovingly patted the roll of bills I’d saved because of our appearance, still occupying my coat pocket.
For a sick moment, I apologetically thought about working this new angle of a scruffy getup from here on out while Craigslist shopping, then again laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. My stained-glass lamps look amazing in the newly decorated living room and no one has to know about my pity discount. I have a feeling the funny story will make its way out though!