Updated: Aug 11, 2021
I found a spectacular vintage western jacket today from Allen Men's Western Wear of Denver, Colorado. I bought it from another vendor who had all kinds of old and rusty stuff. Apart from a small burn hole on the sleeve (which actually made it even cooler), this jacket was in really good shape.
I took a peek online and found similar jackets listed on Poshmark and such for around $120. As I do, I priced this one much lower at $65, figuring I still make a substantial percentage and someone out there is going to get a good deal.
Later that day A Family walked up to the shop, each decked out in a stylish cowboy hat: Mom, Dad, Son & Daughter. I noticed right away that Dad had a nice Wrangler Brand shirt on.
They moseyed through the racks, and I wasn't surprised with Dad turned up with my the Allen jacket on. It fit like it was made for him (Well, actually, it was a little tight, but I'm trying to be nice, here.).
He started haggling with a joke or two, Now, to be honest... I enjoy a good round of haggling, myself. It's the nature of the Flea Market to do so, and it happens all the time. I am not opposed to negotiating my prices, but... you. have. to. be. nice. about. it.
Dad... was not.
In all fairness, the accent-which-shall-not-be-named probably had a lot to do with my irritation.
Dad asked if there was another price on the jacket.
I smiled and told him we could add a 1 in front of the 65, if he'd like.
The back and forth as he pointed out a burn hole in the sleeve. I told him I hadn't noticed it, but how cool! A real Cowboy burn hole... that should cost extra!
He told me he'd been in the horse trading business and that I wouldn't last long in this business if I wasn't willing to make deals.
He wagged his head to let me know this isn't something he would buy just because it's cool. He would WEAR this jacket - to CHURCH!
I joked that no church would let him attend.
Finally, after a sideways look from Mom, we both let it go.
Dad replaced the jacket on my rack and The Family ambled on to the next booth.
Minutes later, Daughter returned by herself. I'd guess she was about 12 years old and was as cute as she could possibly be.
"M'am?" she said, doe eyes huge and pleading, "I'd really like to buy that jacket for my dad..." *insert long pause with even larger doe eyes "Will you take $50 for it?"
Did this guy really send his adorable daughter over to my shop as a last ditch effort in negotiation? I didn't know whether to hate him or respect him. I settled on a mixture of both.
"I'm sorry," I started, meeting her doe eyes with a firm stare of my own, "but you'll have to tell your dad that no matter how adorable you are, that jacket is $65."
"Yes, M'am," she dutifully replied and walked away.
I struggled for a minute over how large of a monster I've become, but I didn't have to struggle for too long.
Daughter promptly returned with $65 and said she was ready to buy the jacket.
I smiled a genuine smile at her and said, "Good! Now I want you to hear me. When you know the value of something: your time, your energy, your stuff, it is okay to say NO. Don't ever let anyone guilt you or push you into devaluing yourself. When you draw a line, you hold it. Now, go get your dad's jacket."