Listen to poem:
Having been avid antiques collectors for nearly 4 decades, my wife and I met our share of rascals like this sneaky dealer -
Damp and chilly winds were blowing, leaves would paint the ground,
As me and Connie rummaged through the treasures all around.
The antiques dealers strew their loads of old, assorted stash,
As we would search for bits of “gold” among the piles of trash.
“Every booth has something good,” we always told ourselves.
Those little things discovered by the early bird that delves
Deep into the boxes, and beneath the tabled wares,
That make the searcher wealthy with a fruit it seldom bears.
Long before the sun would rise the cars were flocking in.
(First in line was something that we still have never been.)
Some would quickly make their way to special spots they knew.
The thermos-toting scavengers would madly dart and spew
Left and right, discourteously, no selfishness was spared.
And if you needed time to think, you found that no one cared.
A buyer yelled, “How much for this?” The owner snapped a price.
The asker offered less than half…there was no time for “nice.”
“Sorry, pal…I know I’ve got more in the piece than that,
And I ain’t got the time to stand around with you and chat.”
Marked at forty-five, the man had offered twenty bucks.
The dealers just kept dragging ancient goods from off their trucks.
After they’d ignored him for a couple minutes more,
The tattered looking beggar grumbled, “OK…twenty-four.”
“Not today,” the man would say, he sounded quite upset.
“We paid a lot for that, my friend…they’re really hard to get.”
“OK, then I’ll go thirty. That’s as high as I can go,”
Whined the little weasel. But the dealer bellowed, “No!”
“Well…what’s the best that you can do?” the man would ask and wait.
“I suppose…for cash…I’d let it go for thirty eight.”
“Thirty eight,” the man would scream, “this thing ain’t made of gold.”
By now the way the man was lipping off was getting old.
“Now listen, mack,” the dealer snapped, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
We can split the difference, if that’s good enough for you.
“Thirty four is it…and that’s for cash, or take a hike.”
(We’d never seen a buyer more impossible to like.)
“Come on, man,” he begged again, “give a guy a break.”
“Sorry,” he replied, “but that’s the least that I can take.”
“All I’ve got is thirty-two. That’s every cent I’ve got,”
He whined again then added smugly, “I think that’s a lot.
“How about it, mister…will you take the thirty-two?
I cross my heart and swear to God, I’d do the same for you.”
Standing there and listening to this begging little creep,
Beating on the dealer…as he worked to buy it cheap…
Me and Connie thought he was the very biggest jerk
We’d ever seen, he was the king of “wheeler-dealer” work.
After all the squabbling, he would finally get his prize.
We clearly saw the great disgust within the dealer’s eyes.
The man absconded quickly with his loot into the crowd,
And as we left, we heard the angry dealer say out loud,
“I never thought I’d take a loss,” he’d tell a passerby,
“Just to make a person go away. I hate that guy!
“He always shows up early with his whiny begging ways.
But I suppose the little bum has seen his better days.
“He always gets a piece from us for ten cents on the buck
By bugging us while we are busy clearing out the truck.
“The tattered clothes are probably just a ploy to get a deal,
An’ five ‘ll get you ten that…‘all I’ve got’ line…isn’t real.”
Con and I would walk away surprised, but not amused.
The hard-to-stomach method that the weasely guy had used
Made the dealers angry, but it got the creep a “steal,”
And we were both disgusted with the way it made us feel.
Later on that morning - in a booth a mile away -
We would learn the truth about the games that people play.
There…all clean and pretty…stood the man from early morn.
Gone were all the dirty, ragged clothes that he had worn.
Strutting like a peacock, with his face aglow with pride,
He paced behind the tables he was standing just inside.
Yup…he was a dealer! And his goods were very nice.
Con and I at once began to search to learn the price
He’d put upon the piece that we had watched him buy at dawn.
The man had twenty teeming tables spread across the lawn.
Connie found it shortly, in a tiny little case.
I knew the price would shock me by the look upon her face.
I was right. The former cheap, disgusting little worm
Had priced that very piece he’d bought at ninety dollars…firm!
We could not resist the chance to dicker with this guy.
We waved him over. “Sir,” I said…“we would like to buy
“That piece there. The one that’s marked at ninety dollars firm.
We watched one like it sell at dawn.” (The guy began to squirm.)
“Well, I just bought that piece today. Some nasty little man
Showed up early, sold it to me, and then…off he ran.
“I had to pay a ton for that. I’m only making five.”
(We knew that we’d just met the biggest pile of bull alive.)
First he beats the struggling dealer down he got it from…
Then the price he asks is nearly triple. What a scum.
And though we’re not inclined to play that stupid kind of game,
We only wished the guy he’d bought it from had done the same.
So now, when we’re out hunting, at an antique mall or show,
We feel we’ve a learned a little more than most antiquers know,
And when the dealers tell us what they paid, we simply smile,
And think about the “better deal” we once - missed by a mile!
PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- email@example.com -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal) There are a bunch of my pieces on YouTube as well ---
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021