*This is a sponsored post: the story is true and completely my own
It's nearly time for my son to move from his cot to a "real" bed. So I started the search a couple months ago for a bed with storage. We have a really small house so an all-in-one bed was really what I was after. I thought only loft bed's existed for these purposes but discovered there is a more toddler safe and friendly option called a cabin bed.
On Saturday I was doing some more Gumtree browsing, (Gumtree is a buy and sell site here in Australia), and came across this bed, with shelving, drawers and even a roll out desk. I called my mother in-law and she generously agreed to meet me at the seller's house with her mini-van so we could pick it up.
On the morning of pick-up, I'd been speaking with a friend about how much bartering makes me nervous. How much I hate it. It makes me feel cheap, cheap, cheap. Exactly what I am. Ha, ha! I wouldn't be using Gumtree otherwise, would I? I told my friend that the ad said negotiable, and that the bed needs to be gone ASAP. It had been uploaded on May 1st, 18 days earlier, so I thought there would be some wiggle room in the price. My friend suggested starting $150 below asking price, which made me gasp. Like I said, I'm a sissy when it comes to bartering but see it as a necessary evil. She reminded me that you start very low and then find the middle ground with the seller.
We met the seller, Amy* and walked into her garage and started the usual buy and seller discussions about what I was buying. As Amy was speaking about why she was selling the bed she dropped in that her husband had passed away. I assume Amy is in her mid to late-thirties because of her appearance, and also because she has a 3 year old clinging to her right leg. I was going to let her finish speaking, barter my little heart out, and load up this beast into the mini-van.
|Mother's Day 2015|
My mother in-law Kathy is the most kind, caring and genuine woman ever, so she can't just let it go when she hears that Amy's husband has passed. "If you don't mind me asking, how long ago did your husband pass away?" She asks. "Eight weeks ago today." Amy replied. Kathy's heart of gold just burst for this poor woman. Meanwhile I stood there like a stunned pigeon who's just encountered my first pane of glass. Kathy asked a couple more questions and soon Amy was willingly pouring her heart out. Kathy has so much sincerity in her voice and love in her eyes that it's easy to tell her just about anything.
We soon discovered her husband Jake* has passed after battling cancer for the last few years. She was telling us how they had sold their home while he was still alive because he didn't want the mortgage hanging over Amy's head. She told us how they sold the family caravan that they only had 3 family holidays in, and how her husband had used the money and bought her a sexy red sport's car instead. Her 3 year old sits on her hip by this point, as she tells this part of the story. I notice that the little girl begins to pull on her own hair. Slowly at first and not noticeably. But as mum continues she is pulling out strands of her hair out, hard. I gently reach for her hand. This poor little family is so overcome with stress and grief. Amy continues to tell us how she will have to move back overseas so she can have family support and tells us how she will be selling everything. "...Trying to get as much as I can for everything we need to buy for our new home over there."
Oh no! Do you see where I'm going with this? How does one barter after hearing a story so heart breaking? I was near tears and had goosebumps all over because her grief was so palpable. I can't imagine losing my husband, and on top of that not having a supportive mother in-law, like she's had to go through. But I was also thinking about how this bed was priced over what we could afford to spend, and how bartering was a necessity to this deal. At the same time I felt my charitable heart wanting to throw money and hugs at this nice lady. Then I had to figure out how to bring the conversation back around to the bed.
Eventually, when the conversation lulled, I quietly asked a question about the drawers. That brought us back on topic and I was able to ask if she'd take $X for it. Which was $100 under asking price. She thought for a brief moment and then agreed. I was so relieved that part was over. I said " Great."Let's get this thing loaded up."
On the way home I called my husband from my car on my handsfree. I told him the story of what had just happened. He's like "OH, no. Oh, no! What did you do? What could you do?... You didn't still barter did you?" I told him how I'd just offered an amount and she'd taken it. He's like "Oh I feel so bad for her." "Do you want me to ring her and ask to direct deposit the other $100 as a donation." I said. He laughed. "No, but man you were put in a difficult position. Thanks mum for always caring so much. (-sarcasm)"
When Kathy and I arrived home she walked up to me and said "I was thinking about how Amy was telling us she had to sell everything, and then thinking what have I done? Here poor Jess is trying to buy a bed and needs to negotiate on price and I've just put my foot in it by asking this woman all about her loss. How is Jess going to manage this one?" We both had a big laugh. It was such an awkward position to be in. But I hugged my mother in-law and tears sprang to my eyes again. I told her how I loved that she was always such an example to me of being kind and caring, even to complete strangers. She really takes the time to love at every opportunity. I know that kindness meant something to Amy. Sometimes we just need to know when to stop and take the time to be a friend to someone... Even if it means your daughter in-law has to pay for it.
>>>> If you liked this post check out ...
|12 Ways to Use Gumtree Without Pissing People Off|
*names have been changed to protect the buyer
Linking up with Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays