Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stickley Stupidity

People are amazing. They get stuck in a mindset and will not change or leave it no matter the cost. The ability to call it quits, to backtrack is hard won and too often viewed as defeat. Pride, ego is paramount. If I stop, then I lose. Does that mean someone else won? Maybe. This is a problem because why? Life is a zero/sum game? Sez who? Calling it quits, knowing when to stop is not the same as being defeated. Why do people view it that way? It can mean cutting your losses. Learning when to stop is one of the great challenges of human existance and relationships. Stop, pause, think, consider. Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Let's all take a deep breath before we continue, whether it means continuing the discussion, argument, world as we know it. Or not. Why are people afraid of the unknown possibility? Better the devil you know than the enigma you don't. The definition of madness is repeating the same behavior in the same or similar circumstance and expecting a different outcome.
My point is actually much simpler than the high philosophic discussions of man's psyche I seem to be espousing. I want to talk about Stickley, Stickley nesting tables to be precise.
I inherited a set of Stickley nesting tables. Useful, fairly attractive to some, moderate value. [for more info, go to:]
Their beauty was in their utility, in their very simplicity and cleanness of line. I had no use for them, so I put them with all the other furniture and goods to be sold.
A couple was very interested in the set of three tables, oohing and ahhing. "The tall one could go here and the medium there and the little one is juuusssstttt right for over in the corner" I quoted them what I thought was a reasonable price for the set and paused, expecting them to make a counter-offer. They were silent.
"Ummm,, Are you interested in the tables? I quoted you a fair price, based on maker, condition and completeness of the set."
"Oh. Well. That's too much. We can't go higher than [$75 less than my proposal]."
I made a counter offer, a bit higher than midway between my request and their offer.
"Nope, still too high."
"If you can't then you can't. No problem." They settled on a few other small items, paid and left. I sent the tables to auction a few weeks later.
Can you imagine my surprise when the auction house sent me the name of the purchasers and the winning bid? It was the couple from the garage. Not only had they paid my original requested amount, they went another $50 over that. Go figure.
They spent more instead of just calling me and admitting they really wanted those tables. I suppose the cost in pride was greater than the cost in dollars.
That sort of behavior extends to the business world. I was hired as a subcontractor for a business management office. I wasn't surprised to discover that I had worked with or offered my services to a few of their clients in the past. Orlando is a small town, complete with a mainstreet and a cinema and cotton candy and a dog and pony show!
In any case, I had offered my services to one particular family in the past. And was turned down. So now I will be doing the tasks originally offered and getting paid more than originally requested. And its taken longer and cost more than if they hired me in the first place.
Such is life.


Independent Accountant said...

I have often been amazed at how people will pay more for the "branded" product than the same product without the brand name. How do the Big CPA firms, banks and investment banks stay in business? Easy, they convince the public only they can do the job

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zoesmomdebbie said...

Some people are just asses, but we knew that years ago.