Bad For Business

A while back when I lived in California, I’d visit a distant used media store whenever I was in that area. The used CDs were usually in the $5 range.

Sometimes I’d buy something, but usually I just browsed.

Eventually the owner asked if I was looking something specific so I told him. I mentioned in passing that I’d been searching for a while.

He said he’d keep an eye out for it.

Time passed and I found the CD at a yard sale for a quarter.

Eventually I made my way back to that side of town and visited the store.

The owner was happy to see me, went in back, and returned with the CD I’d long looked for. It was in good condition, though not as good as the copy I’d already bought.
He had a round price sticker on the case: $80.
He wanted $80 bucks for this CD.

His big grin fell when I told him that I already bought it elsewhere.

“You’re kidding!” he said in a hollow voice.

Due to his reaction, it immediately hit me that this guy too, had paid more than the CD was worth.

He then came across like he had gone out of his way to do me this big favor. One I’d never asked for.

Why on earth would I even dream of not buying it elsewhere if given the chance? Why in the world would I wait for him to make the sale?

Let’s be clear here: It was just a CD. One that never sold well, was out of print, and would likely be ignored by many. It didn’t have market value, it had value to me.

I didn’t feel sorry for him, I felt insulted.

Why would he presume that I’d be such a desperate chump for something? Why was he so confident I could be suckered?

Everything has a relative value, doesn’t he know that?

If I was restoring a classic dream car, yeah, I might pay a lot of money for an original part. Maybe even 5 times as much just to end my search for something so rare. The car (bike, house, boat, whatever) has a far greater relative value.

He began grumbling, he was so deeply put out.

I left and never returned.

Unrelated to me, he closed his shop a few years later. I wondered if he went down bitching about people who say they want something but don’t want to pay for it?


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