Friday, May 1, 2009

Dickering with the departed

I've encountered plenty of strange incidents in my years of hitting the antique malls, but yesterday's was one of the oddest ever! I was about an hour from home at a magazine event and got there early, so I used the time to visit a nearby antique mall. Lots of things were on sale, including a small case displaying costume jewelry, various pieces of silver and, I noted, what appeared to be a silverplate tea infuser. I'd just seen a sterling one for $40 (it was beat up or I might have bought it, since that seems to be a very good price for sterling), but the silverplate one didn't appear to have a tag or sticker. The case was marked 50 percent off, so I headed to the front counter with the case/vendor number so I could make an inquiry.

Plenty polite, the fellow followed me over to the case, opened it, and handed me the infuser. I was pleased to find it in great shape, and it clasped all nice and tight. "It's half off," he said. "Yes, I know, but there's no price on it." He took it from me and scowled, so I said, "Could you just call the owner and ask her how much it is?" (I just assumed the owner was a "she.") He scowled again and walked over to the sterling infuser. "The sterling one's $40, so what if I let you have this one for $30?" At half price that would have been just $15, but I thought that was too much. "Well, no, I wouldn't be interested then. I'm used to paying $5 to $10 for these. If you don't think the owner would take that ..."

"Ma'am, well, you see, the problem is, the owner is dead." Silence. I mean, what does one say? "Oh! I'm so sorry!" I said. (But I'm simultaneously thinking, "But ... did you rob her or what? You are SELLING this piece in a store!") Then he said, "I don't really know what to do. Her son just brought all her stuff in here and told us to get what we could for it. You wanna make me an offer?" "How about $10?" "I'll take it." Whew. I've never had to work so hard for a deal. Dickering with the living is hard enough without having to worry about offending a seller who's crossed over!


  1. That looks like a lovely infuser. And you made an entertaining story of it!

  2. Very funny. That is a pretty tea infuser - love the urn pattern on the handle.

  3. You got a deal, Angela! I bet the dearly departed is happy her lovely infuser is going to a good home.

  4. Angela, if you think that is weird, you will DEFINATELY think I am stranger still!! LOL... everytime I buy a vintage tea item that I think I paid such a low price for, I say a little prayer of thanksgiving to the original owner, telling him/her that I will take good care of their cherished item!! Susie 2

  5. So I'm reading, and thinking, oh my... she found out it wasn't an infuser after all but an implement for spreading ashes! Whew....glad to see how the story "ended"...LOL

    Happy Birthday on Monday! I'm sending a "late" surprise!

    no puns intended...

    ok, yes they were.


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