A couple of weeks ago, while making a rare solo grocery store run, I stopped at a garage sale. I was taking a short cut through the fancy part of Mt. Washington, and the house hosting it looked promising. Maybe I would find some good potted plants, or a rug for our guest room. Also, honestly? Running errands sans toddler feels so absolutely liberating and decadent that one wants to prolong it as much as possible. I probably would’ve stopped at any sale I passed, even if all I saw on offer were a laundry basket and two used catboxes. But this one seemed to have real potential. I pulled up and parked.
And I was glad I did. For I immediately came upon something I had to have. It was a set of simple wooden barstools, white with yellow seats. They looked like they would be perfect for our kitchen. We have a sort of high counter/bar area that I have always felt called for stools. Mike has argued that they would never get used, but I knew he was wrong. And I was going to prove it.
The items in question were marked $7 apiece. I — a consummate haggler — asked the guy if he’d take $10 for both. He readily agreed. Sucker!
When I arrived home I was quick to lead Mike out to the car to see my booty. “Can you believe it?” I asked. “They were only ten dollars!”
Mike’s left eyebrow elevated in the angular way that only his can. Gathering the groceries from the car he headed for the house, saying over his shoulder “if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
I brought the stools in and placed them at the bar. They looked adorable. I knew even Mike would think so. True, they were a little lower than they should be, and they did displace the dog food bin, which created a bit of a space problem, but I knew they’d get tons of use. Images of Mike and me, sitting at the bar, tea cups in hand, poring over the New York Times, swam before my head. How cozy.
Except it wasn’t.
For one thing we stopped getting the paper delivered a year ago. For another, there is a perfectly good dining room table not two feet from where the stools stand. Finally, the “bar” is one of those household junk depots where barrettes, plant cuttings, snot rags, tubs of lip balm, rolls of tape and cloves of garlic all end up. There is nowhere on it to even fit a cup of tea. Sitting at it could never be relaxing.
In short, Mike was right. The stools went absolutely unused. And I kept tripping on them. I didn’t even like the way they looked after a couple of days.
Well, then, I figured, if they aren’t going to get used, guess what? I will simply sell them. No big deal. Perhaps, having gotten them at such a bargain, I can even make a profit. Maybe it’ll open up a whole new line of work for me. Buy low at yard sales, sell high online. Why, they must be worth twice what I paid for them. At least!
So I listed the stools on my local moms’ discussion board, where people sell everything from used breast pumps to secondhand couches. Things typically get snatched up in minutes. It is a veritable bargain bazar. Deciding — much to my credit, I thought — to not price gauge my own kind, I asked only $20 for the set. A steal!
Then I waited. I actually waited. By. The. Computer. I even hit refresh a few times.
I took MJ out to the park and came back. Checked e-mail. Nothing. Weird! Finally, the next day, one woman contacted me. She was interested — could I send pictures? I did. She never wrote back.
Jeez. This was ridiculous. Those moms didn’t know a deal when one knocked them over the head. Oh, well. Craig’s List would be a different story. Especially if I put the stools on sale.
Set of two Ikea Visdalen Bar Stools – $15 (Mt. Washington)
Date: 2012-03-09, 3:12PM PST
Reply to: your anonymous craigslist address will appear here
Used but in very good condition. Wooden, 29.5 inches high. White legs, yellow seat, but can easily be painted. Sturdy and simple. Lovely.
- it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
A couple of days later I got my one, and only, reply:
Where are u located exactly?
I’m interested 😉
Sent from my iPad
For a second I was thrilled. Then I looked again. First of all, “u?” Where are “u” located? Really? I’m going to have commerce with a “u”-er? And then there was the “exactly.” Why did he/she need to know exactly where I was? We hadn’t even made terms yet. That seemed creepy. As far as “sent from your iPad,” could I care less? Could you not just take the time to delete that stupid-ass footer?
But it was the wink emoticon that really made me shudder. At first just from the tackiness of it. But then something else occurred to me. Something gross. Did this guy…no. Couldn’t be. But — did he think I want sex? Because of my furniture ad? Why? Oh, God. Are stools some kind of Craig’s List code? Is this some kind of a thing, like the politician in the the mens’ room and the foot signals?? What have I done? What have I unleashed?
I made a little shrieking sound and shut my computer quickly. Turning to look at the stools, I saw them in a new, more sinister light. What were these things, anyway? What sort of yellow, wooden filth had I let into my home?
Whatever it is, it’s still here. I’ve had to find a new place for the dog food, but honestly, that was easier than unloading those damn stools. Someday I’ll get my s— together and have a yard sale. I guess we’ll rid ourselves of them then.
Especially if I mark them at $5.