Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rusty Pails #32
More Work for Ermine

by Rocky Macy

“These days everything’s a bargain,” according to Shadetree Mike, “because by the time you get it home the price has gone up.” As always, the Dean of Dominoes is right on the mark…prices generally don’t go down.

That’s why Mike and I both make our major purchases on the used market. Seconds cost less than new merchandise, and if you shop shrewdly, used will appreciate.

I watched Mike in operation at a sale this past weekend. Mike stood quietly by as the auctioneer commenced working his way up and over the mountain of musty memories. Esther Pearl snagged the curtains, hand towels, and yarn. After she pulled her plunder, I found a postcard album that promised a full afternoon of quiet enjoyment. As other members of Sprung Hinge’s smart shopping cadre picked off their prizes, I began to wonder just what it was that Shadetree Mike was after.

It wasn’t long until I had my answer. There, buried beneath one last box of National Geographics and six or eight coats of different colored paints, sat a remarkably sturdy oak kitchen table. Not top of the line material, but a piece that could be restored with a small investment of stripper, glue, and elbow grease.

Truman Treetopper, who likes bidding but avoids buying, bid seventy-five cents and hurried on to the next pile. Esther and I smiled and stayed quiet. (After all, Shadetree Mike hadn’t bid up our purchases.) Some of the others sense a bargain, but Mike still managed to walk away with his gem-in-the-rough at a very reasonable price.

Somewhere today, probably out behind the Pump and Git, Ermine is busy restoring an oak table that will support elbows and dominoes for years to come. And the next time that old table surfaces at a sale, it will wear an expensive label like “antique” or “primitive” … and Mike will have proved his point!

Auction Tip: When something that you were interested in gets sold in a group of several items, step up and the winning bidder if he will sell you what you wanted. The other bidder may have been after something entirely different.

No comments: