The elderly shopkeeper greedily watched Fenton fumble around the antique furniture scoffing at his obvious lack in years of experience. From the angelic glow by his blonde hair to his thick black rimmed glasses she knew she would be able to take from his innocence double an item’s asking price.
‘That particular secretary wouldn’t suit you, dear.’ The keeper interrupted the young man thickly laying on the sweet old motherly act. He was opening drawers and pulling up a chair checking if the desk would fit his tall lanky body.
‘My grandmother had one just like this when I was growing up. She wrote some of her best letters to the family, recipes, and journal entries from her desk.’ He ran his fingers over the worn wooden top wondering if it WAS his grandmothers.
‘This secretary deserves a smart lifestyle, one befitting the wise craftsmanship. I can show you a sturdy desk that will better suit your needs within your budget.’ The shopkeep said trying to lead him to a cheaper commercial crafted desk. She thought she had him sold and would be able to get a markup from the original price.
‘No thank you, ma’am. I would like to purchase this one here.’ he said not lifting his hand from the item and before the old woman could say another word Fenton cooly said through a grin, ‘But not for the price listed. This particular piece of furniture, even though it was created by the town’s founding mother, isn’t worth the asking price. Her work is distinguished by the methods of inlaying different woods but her trademark isn’t engraved on any surface of this piece. It has obviously been neglected over the years and needs some basic restorations to bring it back to its novel glory of decades past. Do you have a certificate of authenticity?’ Fenton finished knowing he would’ve made his grandmother proud. In fact, she was the one that taught him how to haggle the best price out of the crafty antiquarians.
‘I’m sorry son, no I don’t have a certificate. It was lost through the years of passing from generation to generation. But you knowing who made the desk only proves that the price is more than adequate.’ Her voice trembled at the end now understanding her mistake of assuming the young man’s knowledge and negotiating skills. She needed to make a sale though. With the town’s younger generation moving out and it not being an awe-inspiring tourist destination, business was deathly slow.
‘I’ll purchase the desk for half the asking price. I could find one on eBay with a certificate for a better price than what I’m offering.’ Fenton said with confidence. Now if he was doing this correctly she would either call his bluff or….
‘I can’t let it go for that but what I am willing to do is take 25% off and let the matching chair go with it.’ She said more timidly this time knowing her imminent defeat. Fenton realized the shopkeeper was holding out on him.
‘May I see the chair?’ Fenton asked hiding his eagerness. The old woman disappeared into the darkness at the back of the store. The nimble woman reappears with a matching chair in obvious need of some TLC. The remnants of the red velvet cushion were holding on for dear life. When she set the chair down he noticed that the back was loose from the base of the chair. He wasn’t going to sit on it in fear of accidental demolishment.
‘How about I write up the ticket making you the new proud owner.’ She said hoping that the chair was enough to close the deal.
Fenton grinned, nodding in approval. The shopkeeper headed to her counter with the chair and he followed carrying the desk. It quietly rattled which he dismissed as it having loose legs and made a mental note to tighten those.
She quickly wrote out the ticket for the lowered price and handed it to Fenton to look over. ‘If you are not satisfied please bring the item back within 15 days.’
‘I thought there was a no return policy on items?’ Fenton said pointing to the sign behind her.
‘This desk is an exception which is written on your buyer’s ticket.’
‘I don’t think that will be an issue. He pulled cash from his wallet and the desk was his.’
‘Could you sign the guestbook? I send out flyers to customers about specials, coupons, and events.’ She asked shyly.
‘Oh, no problem.’ Fenton filled the register out with his name and address. The keeper spun the book around, ‘It was nice to meet you, Fenton.’ reading his name from the book. ‘I’m Abigail.’
Fenton shook her outreached hand.
‘Thank you. I’m glad to see this shop open. There are so few left in town. I hope to see you around. Thanks again and have a great day.
The bell chimed on the door from behind Fenton as he left the store. He carefully wrapped the desk in blankets and loaded the find in his jeep, beaming at his victory.
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