“Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window; Why, why, says the junk in the yard.” – Paul McCartney
Ever since we started coming to the San Tan Valley in AZ, I have been drawn to and intrigued by one thing in particular. It’s not the glorious sunny days, the magnificent sunsets or the enchanting starry nights, although I enjoy each of these very much.
No, what I am referencing has nothing at all to do with the beauty of nature. In fact, there’s nothing really beautiful about it and it certainly isn’t natural. Actually, I am talking about what can best be described as a junkyard, since that is the word that first came to mind when I saw it. Yet despite that initial reaction, I was hooked. I was hooked by the notion that somewhere hidden under all that disarray was a gem just waiting to be discovered. Every time we drove by (I think my husband purposely sped up) I craned my neck to get a better look.
Finally I convinced my husband to stop and we went in for a look. As we cautiously proceeded through the big iron gates with a padlock hanging on the side and carefully stepped around broken down bicycles, old washers and dryers, damaged tables and iron patio sets, I was beginning to understand why the word “junk” had popped up.
Someone had attended many auction, estate and liquidation sales to amass this accumulation of items, but where was that someone? Just then a friendly voice boomed out, “Can I help you folks?”
We glanced around wondering where the voice was located and spotted a fellow resting on an old recliner chair in a shady spot behind a huge old bar set.
He asked what we were looking for and told us we were welcome to check out the contents of the building and to call him if we needed assistance. Apparently he was not in a hurry to move from his comfy spot or maybe it was a smart sales move.
The building was packed with furniture, decor items and saddles, lots and lots of saddles (after all, this was AZ). Sofas were turned upright to provide more space. Chairs were stacked on tables and night stands were on top of dressers. Squeezing ourselves through narrow openings, we ventured deeper into the huge building which housed more and more of the same.
My instincts had been correct. Beneath the junkyard exterior was a treasure trove of decent, good quality furniture – many of these antiques.
Several pieces caught my eye, but Mr. Junkyard (who by now had abandoned his shady spot to come and chat with us) was not going to part with his merchandise cheaply as I soon found out. When I inquired about a few items, he named some hefty prices, and, of course, a story accompanied every item.
When he sensed my hesitation after quoting me a price, he quickly added that all things were negotiable. And therein lay the problem! I am terrible when it comes to bartering as I always worry that I will insult the seller if I offer too low a price, even as I sense that the buyer has asked way too much,
In the end, after only one round of haggling, I paid $30 for a side table which needed work, all the while thinking I should have offered only $20.
Mr. Junkyard might not have the best organizational skills, but he definitely has people skills which, as everyone knows, is paramount for a salesman. No doubt he had me figured out shortly after I arrived.
Even so, I’ll go back for those other interesting pieces, but in the meantime I think I’ll brush up on my negotiating skills.