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July 24, 2009

Ask-o-logy interruption: Save $50 off a $250 bed?

I've been writing and writing these reports, and we're almost done!! Two more to go.

But I miss the other reports. The ones where I gallivant around town, ask away, and then tell you, gentle reader, what I've been up to!

So I thought I'd interject such a story, because it's a good one. Because it confirms some of what I've discovered this year. And also totally surprised me. Plus, I need a break from all those graphs...


For months, I've been on the lookout for a bed. Like a proper grad student, I had put the boxspring and mattress directly on the floor. But I could deny those secret yearnings for a headboard, and, dare I hope, a footboard?

My dream bed is either an antique or something on -- classical lines, but sufficiently indulgent -- but that site is out of the question. Some of those beds cost more than I earn in a month.

Instead, I've been scouring the internet. I've seen a few possibilities here and there, but nothing that screamed "buy me!" at a reasonable price. Until this week. The ad on Craigslist was simple:
Hand carved, queen sized sleigh bed. $250 O.B.O.
It was more than I wanted -- my original aim was under $100 -- but after almost a year of looking, Mr. A and I agreed to raise our budget to $200. The photos were gorgeous. Mr. A concurred: this was our new bed!! There was no phone number, so I wrote an email:

I am interested in this bed. Where are you located? And what is the
story behind it? (i.e. where did you buy it, how old is it, if you


La Roxy
With no answer for a few hours, I got scared. What if ALL OF SAN DIEGO wants that bed? I sent this follow up. Not the best move, I admit:

I wrote a short while ago, asking about your bed.

But bottom line, I would like to buy it! From the pictures, it looks exactly like what I am looking for. My only question is how I'd disassemble it -- do the head/foot boards come off of the frame?

Where are you located?

I could come by today, or tomorrow anytime but 12 to 3.

Best way to get in touch is by phone. My cell is XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Thanks again,

La Roxy
The next day, a guy wrote back and called, saying I was the first person to reply, and the bed was mine. He explained it was made in Indonesia and had belonged to a friend of his who upgraded. All good.

Here's where the story gets interesting.

I stopped by the ATM to extract $250, showed up at our meeting point, met the seller, and concluded the bed was as gorgeous live as in the pics.

"As for the price," I started.

(Between you and me, I was prepared to pay $250, because 1) It's a long term investment, not something I want to compromise on excessively in terms of quality and aesthetics 2) It was wood, with rock solid construction and 3) I was tired of looking. This was it.

But I was still going to try, fleetingly, to get the price down a little. Like 10 percent.)

"Yeah, I'm willing to deal," the guy cut me off, even before I could ask.

Excellent! Since he so openly said he'd like to deal, I decided to aim lower.

"Ok, great! What do you think of $200?"

"Perfect. That's exactly what I was shooting for."

Perfect, indeed!

I paid him, we loaded af few slabs into my car, and then I discovered there was no way the headboard would fit.

We looked at it, loosely measured it. I explained I've moved headboards before -- but this was truly massive. He got a phone call from a sorta girlfriend type to make dinner plans, so I thanked him and said I'd figure it out from there.

Instead, he stayed. And found a way to dangle the footboard out of my trunk. And then strapped the headboard to his car. And followed me to my house. And then unloaded it in my living room.

The whole time, I was telling him: You don't need to do this. You are being too kind. I will rent a truck, or find someone with a bigger car. My boyfriend and I can do this lifting. Your end of the deal was to sell me the bed. Even loading part onto my car was enough.

And he replied: I want to finish what I started. I have bungee cords, I have a car, I have time, so why not just do the job right?

He had nothing to gain. (And, contrary to what you might think, we weren't flirting -- at all. I would have felt disloyal to be even a little flirtatious while buying a bed for Mr. A and me. I'm not that sleazy, or desperate for a discount, come on. And he was clearly on his way to meet a date.)

Before he left, I gave him a bottle of wine as a thank you gesture -- at least that, he accepted.

Yes, I got a nice discount. But this story is not just about asking and getting. It's about someone who gave without being asked. Someone who was thorough and generous. Someone who makes me think about how I can be a kinder, more generous person, too. Someone whose story I was eager to tell.

Gained: Met an exceptional person. (And saved $50.) Thank you, David!

Tomorrow: Back to Ask-o-logy!
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