Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Kind of Commerce

Years ago, I'd accompanied two interior designer cousins and my mom to the furniture market in North Carolina. It was an amazing look into a different world. While there, I'd purchased a few pieces for the home we had just moved into. I'd purchased a unique circular desk I had loved at the time, but over the years, it became an unused piece over in the corner. I was in a white tornado phase and anything considered dust collecter had to go.

I priced the desk and chair well and listed them in an online classified ad.

I soon had a buyer. A man and his son came to the house, inspected it, and decided it was worth the full asking price. I was happy to see it carted off to its new home. In the days that followed, I thought a lot about the desk, the man and his boy. The transaction was fair, the buyers happy, the seller content--but not completely. There was nothing "fun" about the deal.

I emailed the buyer and asked for his address, explaining I had to send something else that belonged to the desk. The "fun."

It would be much more fun to surprise the buyers with a 1/3 refund of the purchase price.

Another year, another item. This time, a stack of eco bee boxes--essentially a mini hive for bees, a great place to grow queens. But the concept hadn't worked completely. Yes, the bees had created two different queens at two different times, but both times the queens had disappeared. It became another dust collector in the outside closet. Again, I placed an ad. I got an offer. A low offer. I remembered the "fun" in the last item I'd sold. It hadn't been in the selling and the making of money--it had been in giving back. I agreed to the price.

When the young man came to the house, inspected the hives, saw they were in brand new condition, complete with drawn out comb and the unexpected cover, he asked if his original offer was enough.

"You got a deal," I said.

He readily agreed.

"And you're probably a millionaire."

He was surprised at the idea, the possibility, and briefly explained his circumstances that proved he wasn't.

When he left, my only regret was that I hadn't handed him back one of his twenties.