Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My latest project and lessons in junking strategies

Full-time job, bathroom renovation, blog, Etsy shop, and a house and husband to keep up with… somehow I thought I needed another project!  Because I want to wait to re-upholster my beloved mid-century rocking chair {pictured below} until I can make it a project with my Nana, I have been itching to start another small project.  Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment!


Lucky for me, I happened to be out running errands on Saturday morning and saw a tiny handmade“Yard Sale” sign.  I quickly swirved down a neighborhood road and drove aaaaalllll the way to the back, down a long gravel driveway, and up to a small delapidated house with TONS of fantastic junk on the lawn!  There were art deco bedroom sets, mid-century side tables, 50’s televisions, and some great lamps!


And then, beneath a pile of 90s mom jeans was this gorgeous hunk of rusted metal and ripped vinyl:


A mid-century hoop chair! Beautiful.  No price.  I made my offer: $15. No go. The sellers wanted an outrageous $50 bucks for this guy!  They explained to me that this was an “original” this-and-that from the fifties and it was a piece they had enjoyed for many years in their own home- I told them I knew exactly what it was and then my strategy became clear:  These people had so much sentimental value invested in this chair that they couldn’t see that it was simply a rusted, ripped up piece of scrap metal and boards at this point!  I allowed them to continue throwing “facts” at me- none of which had very much truth to them (“Probably Eames or something”, “Worth about $200”) and then I made my final offer.

I explained that the frame was rusted and would need refinishing.  The vinyl was ripped, the foam was disintegrating, and the boards were falling apart- all of which would need replacing.  There were no manufacturer’s markings on the frame, and clear evidence of a re-weld near a pressure point. I would give them $20. The man said there was no way his friend would take that little for such a classic, but he turned out to be wrong! I got the chair for $20!

Strategy #1: Give them the facts.  People love their stuff.  It’s crazy how much someone will ask for something just because they’ve dreamed up some grand story for how much it could potentially be worth- regardless of it’s current condition! Some sellers are “fact givers”. If you can prove that you value the quality of the piece, and that you know your stuff, you’ve got a better chance of communicating and reaching an agreement with the seller.  If I had become combative and said, “This isn’t worth $50”, the sellers probably wouldn’t have been as likely to haggle with me.  It’s a tricky thing! But so much fun.

In the end I walked away with a GREAT deal and my next project! I’ve already got paint, foam, and fabric for it… I’m hoping to get up early this weekend and begin sanding down the frame!

Got any great haggling tips?! Or great projects going on?!




Anna said...

Bargain buy...and such a good little bidder you are...knocked em down quick smart : )

Annie said...

That's awesome! I'm so terrible at haggling. I'll more than likely pay more than what someone is asking...I'm that bad at it! Ha! Perhaps we should meet up and go thrifting together! You could teach me a thing or two

Anonymous said...

Oh that rocking chair is amazing. I love it. I can't wait to see the transformation or your latest find!

Proverbs 31 Woman said...

That is a great hoop chair.

Abby said...

I'm revamping my entire living room - floor to ceiling... I just reupholstered my favorite Louis-style chair for the 2nd time in 6 months... I'm so indecisive!

If I ever get any spare time I plan on updating my's been WAY too long since it's been updated.