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A Deal That Didn't Go Through
(Article orginally published December 1928 by The Antiquarian)
She was out to buy a wedding present and she walked into the shop of a well-known dealer in antiques to look around. Her own familiarty with old furniture was limited to the knowledge that it was "the thing," but she knew that the bride was something of a collector. She passed by the more pretentious pieces and stopped before a pair of fine Queen Anne mirrors. "What is the price of these?" she inquired. "Seven-fifty the pair, madam," replied the salesman. The lady quickly made a mental calculation-half the price was certainly enough to spend on a mere acquaintance. "Can't you separate them?" she asks, "One is all I want." The courteous salesman thought it could be arranged and disappeared to consult the owner of the shop. He returned with the information that she could have a single mirror for three seventy-five. "I'll take it," said the customer. "What is the charge for packing?" "That is included in the price," was the reply. "Where do you want it sent?" The address was given and the lady opened her purse and handed the salesman a five-dollar bill. The man looked at the greenback, scratched his head and cleared his throat. "Isn't that right?" asked the customer, noticing his hesitation; "you said three seventy-five." The salesman found his voice. "You must have misunderstood me, madam," he explained "the price is three hundred and seventy five dollars." "Oh!" exclaimed the misguided lady, feeling very flat, "I thought you meant three dollars and seventy five cents!"
It is with less thought of poking fun at the novice, that this instance is cited than a desire to smooth his (or her) path. Those of us who have a basis of experience for judging values are flattered when we are addressed in the abbreviated language of trade, but to presuppose such knowledge is hardly fair to the chance buyer who may just be learning his A B C's in the world of antiques.