If You Really Want Something, Don’t Put It Down Or Remove Your Grip

We were at one of my favorite flea markets (despite some of the quite pushy codgers), held twice a year for a local historical society, and my boyfriend learned this the hard way. He found this really nice bench that had a great darker, aged wood, and was thinking about it. It didn’t have a price on it, so, hands in pockets, he asked the vendor how much she wanted, and she gave a very reasonable price. He nodded his head, continued looking at other things while he said, more to me than the vendor, “yeah. I’ll get it”… The words were barely out of his mouth when another woman picked it up & gave the vendor the money. He was a bit flabbergasted and looked at me in disbelief, shaking his head & stating, um, a little loudly, “Are you serious? She bought that right out from under me!” While it sucks to have something you wanted go to someone else, I feel that’s just how it goes if you don’t communicate properly.  Additionally, this is a topic I’ve told him & warned him of before & like it or not, you have to communicate properly. Guess it’s just one of those lessons you have to learn the hard way.

When I’m interested in an item that doesn’t have a price, I hold onto it or put my hand on it (for larger items) while I’m asking. If I’m finding lots of great things I am definitely going to buy & just can’t hold it all in two hands, I tell the seller “I want to buy these but I’m not done looking at your items.” And then ask, “Is there somewhere I can place these while I look?”. If there’s an item I’m not sure about, I won’t put it aside, but usually carry it with me while I make up my mind. My feeling is, if you have it in your hand, or have told the vendor you are going to buy an item but are still looking at their things & have gotten an acknowledgement, then your claim is good. Otherwise, all bets are off.

Now, here’s a situation where I was the victor due to someone else’s lack of communicating an intent to buy. I was at a yard sale, and there was a really cool, handmade knitted blanket. There were a lot of really cool things & I was working my way toward it, when a woman asked, “How much?”. The seller responded with a ridiculously low price, the woman slightly nodded, and walked away. She walked away as in, down the block. As soon as she put it down & it was apparant she was passing on the blanket, I added it to my pile. About five minutes later, I was done looking, so I paid up. As I was gathering my items, the other woman returned. She looked a little disheartened & said to the seller, “oh…I wanted that, I just had to go get some money.” She never stated she wanted it, or asked to have it put aside while she went to get money. I hesitated in case the woman gave the seller any kind of hassle (I’d offer it up just so the seller wouldn’t have to deal with crazy neighbor lady again…), but the woman realized her own error in not communicating properly.

Comments? Any thoughts or experiences? How do you handle similar situations, either as a buyer or seller?


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