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Published: September 3rd 2012
Where the 3 seater was
Best seat in the house!
The past week I’ve developed quite the entrepreneurial skills. It’s been all about getting the furniture sold and gone before the end of September which is when Scott and I are hoping to complete on the sale of our house. We’ve decided to sell EVERYTHING. The cost of any kind of storage would become increasingly resentful as it’s clear, we need every penny we can get. Second of all, I know my high maintenance behaviour will soon kick in. After travelling world and indulgingly adopting new cultures and styles, I’m going to crave new furniture when we return and settle down. Out with the old, in with the new to reflect our new experiences.
My friends, who truly know me, know that I have a proverbial fear of the online sales world. Since my Ebay fiasco on Christmas Eve about 6 years ago, when a computer genius hacked into my account and attempted to buy everything from Ipods to Blackberry’s, I’ve never gone anywhere near internet buying and selling websites. Luckily, the so called “genius” didn’t realise that pay day is and has always been at the end of each month. So I didn’t have enough money in
my account to purchase his thieving goods! Nevertheless, the experience spooked me and it’s only this year that I’ve grown a pair and tried again. This time I’m the seller.
Last Sunday I placed an ad’ in the Aylesbury local paper and another ad’ on Gumtree. Both have served useful as I’ve received an upheaval of calls and e-mails from people looking to buy second hand furniture. What makes the process easy, is hearing the little bit of happiness we’re bringing to people’s lives by the price slashing we’ve given our costly furniture. It’s been great meeting people from different walks of life and hearing their reasons for buying our goods.
On Wednesday evening, I had 3 guests. The first two were a young couple looking to purchase our sofas. They were mid to late 20’s and the lady was pregnant. They came in, introduced themselves and complemented me on how lovely our home was. Before she’d even sat on the sofa, the lady said “they’re beautiful, we’ll take them!” I responded by urging her not to be so eager and to take a seat and get a feel for whether or not her and her pregnant belly felt comfortable. She took a seat and said “Yup! We’ll take them. They’re lovely.” We all laughed. She explained that she had two weeks left until the birth of their first child and that they’ve been living in a studio apartment for years and have nothing but a sofa bed. They asked questions about our travels and displayed the usual shock-horror look when I mentioned we were selling everything. But this couple were so grateful. Thanking me 100 times over as if I’d done them the biggest favour in the world. They made me smile from the inside out.
As the young couple were leaving, I got a knock at the door from a much older lady who was looking to purchase our chaise lounge, fridge-freezer, bedside tables and lamps. A very lovely woman who explained that she was buying these items for her son. Her son was also a travelling addict, who had previously been to the likes of Uganda and Tanzania but gave all that up to be in a long term relationship and later engaged to who he thought was the love of his life. They bought a house together which was indeed a fixer upper, in an area that he particularly didn’t want to move to but where his loving fiancée made him. After stripping the carpets (because she was allergic) and before replacing them, the loving fiancée ended their relationship, leaving him with a mortgage to pay on his own for a house not even half way to being a home, in an area he hated. To top off this sudden change of events, the young man lost his job. I couldn’t help but feel deeply sympathetic for the poor bastard. He gave up the travelling world he knew for a chance at “normality” only to have it thrown back in his face twice over.
The next day, I had a call from another older woman. I can’t remember her name for the life of me but in my mind I called her “Lady Me”. She was a woman after my own heart. Someone who by the tone of her voice, found it difficult to even make the call in the first place. She sounded posh, classy and bitterly exhausted. The second she got on the phone, her life was an open drama series. She explained that she was going through a difficult divorce and that her soon to be ex-husband wasn’t letting her keep anything they’d bought together to stabilise the building blocks of their marital home. She said that buying second hand furniture was not something she ever saw herself doing and that someone else had suggested she give it a try. Again, I could tell by her voice that this was not what she wanted. Something told me she’d rather go hungry for a month while she sat on a brand new sofa. To some people there’s something more filling about working hard and overcoming trials to own new things and be proud of your accomplishment. As shallow as it sounds, I can’t deny that I’ve done it myself. I told her what I had left and she said she’d call me to arrange a time to view. I never heard from “Lady Me” again. Something tells me I never will. But when we ended the conversation, I noticed her voice got brighter, like she was happy to even talk to a stranger about her divorce and have the strength not to unleash hysterical crying. I also didn’t pity her or give her an empty apology of “Oh I’m sorry to hear that”. She actually seemed relieved to have someone just listen to how she felt about the whole situation and not impark any bias opinions. I think we both knew I wouldn’t hear from her again but for some reason, she just kept thanking me.
Since then I’ve received more calls of people asking me what we have left to sell. The business woman in me decided to take inventory. So I devised an Excel spread sheet of items with listed prices, deposits received, dates sold, dates the items are to be taken and by whom. I’ve even created my own receipts and invoices for people as a comfort that I’m not hoodwinking them.
It’s funny. My previous boss had his last day yesterday at the company I worked for in Marylebone. I sent him a nice e-mail saying what a pleasure and true blessing it was to work for him and his business partner for as long as I did. He wrote back a lovely message too and in that message was this:
“….We have enjoyed watching you grow into a more than competent business woman and (property developer by all accounts) yet it comes as no surprise to me that you are masquerading under the title “office manager”…..” This is not the first time someone has told me I can be more. I even heard it from my bank manager the first day I met her. I won’t lie, there’s part of me hoping our trip around the world can shed some light on whatever it is other people see in me.
Today, the young expecting couple took the sofas to their new home. Before they left, the gentleman kindly asked if I wanted him to bring the sofa bed down from the spare room to the living room so I’d be comfortable. I declined and thanked him and wished them luck in their new home and with the birth of their baby in two weeks time. I stood in the echoing living room thinking how much bigger it looked but I smiled. Those sofas will be in that young couple’s life for years to come. He’ll sit massaging her feet on hard days. She’ll sit and rock their baby to sleep and one day, they’ll sit as a family in front of the television. Laughing and smiling in loving comfort. Just as Scott and I did.
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