Afraid to Make an Offer: Lessons from a Garage Sale

Some folks took choice items and put in two bucks. One person put $4 in for something she should have given at least $50 for (new would have cost her about $1000). To see people, knowing the cause and choosing to not be honorable was disheartening….but an interesting study in human nature.

 

By Marcee Murray King

It was a simple fundraiser garage sale.

All money earned went to help a group we are starting locally, the Driftless Domestic Abuse Legal Fund, to help battered people raise funds to secure an attorney to help get them out of abusive relationships. All items, with a few exceptions, were simply donation based: you pay what you think it’s worth.

It was so interesting to watch. Some folks took choice items and put in two bucks. One person put $4 in for something she should have given at least $50 for (new would have cost her about $1000). To see people, knowing the cause and choosing to not be honorable was disheartening….but an interesting study in human nature. These folks all tried to hide the fact that they were being cheap, rolling their money into a tight light bundle to prevent us from seeing what they were putting in the jar, knowing that what they were doing really was shameful.

Then there were others—the ones who were so very generous.

These folks gave $30 when $5 would have been appropriate, dropped $50 in the jar and took nothing. These were the people we were hoping to reach, and they were the ones who made the sale a success.

But there was also another strange group that left me reflective…the ones who couldn’t let themselves donate what they thought it was worth or, in case of a special items, would make an offer on what they might be willing to pay. These items were pricier items that we had a bottom line as to what we would accept. We didn’t want to tell them what that minimal amount was, as we were afraid someone just snatch it for that and we were hoping to get more (which we did with a few items).

Granted, I hate bartering and all of that, but this was for a good cause.

On these items I would tell people to make an offer and let them know if they reached our minimum or not. There was a group that just refused to do this. One woman who refused to name a minimum told me in frustration, “No, I don’t want to give you a price because I am too cheap!”

Person after person asked about the sturdy lawn chairs, the bike, the mower, the hammock—but were too afraid to say what they thought it was worth and have me just say no, the minimum is higher. They could have tried again.

I pondered this and reflected it back on my own life.

How often in life am I afraid to ask for what I want? How often am I afraid to speak my value, my worth?

Still reflecting on these questions, I am noticing the dance of how this plays out in my life and in others, trying to learn to step into speaking my worth and asking for what I want without being afraid of being told no.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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