Merry Happy Ground Hog Day Y’all!

Howdy All Y’all!

We’ve already gone through one whole month of 2018 and now we’re looking forward to spring! Whoo Hoo! So today is the day we watch for that big beaver looking critter to come out of his home and check around for his shadow. Barring any shadow foretells of a shorter winter but seeing a shadow offers 6 more weeks of cold weather. We’re getting the extended version looks like!

This just means we’ll be that much more thankful for milder conditions when they do finally arrive. Getting ready for that offers a fun time in the basement or garage which comes in the form of refitting and refinishing an old metal lawn chair. Oddly enough, now is a darn good time to be shopping for backyard relics at your local “antique” emporium. Things are a bit slower traffic wise for many of these shops as school is in full session, vacations are many weeks away and folks are pretty much hanging close to home. The shops need a little activity and they just might be in the mood to bargain better now than when warm weather is upon us.

Undoubtedly, you’ve been eyeing an old chair somewhere and maybe you’re seeing it sitting longer than when in spring and summer season. I’m willing to bet that if you pop in and have a slow talk with the shop owner and make a reasonable offer, you’ll walk out with a bargain! If you wait until full blown spring, the price is likely to be rather firm.

So what’s a good price, what’s too much and what is a steal? As in most things, location is the key. Large cities with up scale shops generally have the higher costs because they can charge more and have the client base for it. Little out of the way stores may not see much traffic until their season kicks in and are more willing to take less for a quick sale in their lean times; like right now. Generally, a good used metal lawn chair of the more commonly found styles in solid enough condition for continued use are valued from about $25 to $45.00. A chair of more unique design, in survivor shape, still in original paint and with a strong frame might come in at closer to $80 to $90.00. If the asking price is higher, then they either have something they think is fairly important, collectable or just feel that it’s worth more. Again, the conversation will likely reveal more complete details and open up a dialog towards bargaining.

In bargaining, a pleasant attitude towards the shop keeper or other seller is important. You wouldn’t want to have some random stranger walk up to you and say “I’ll give you a dollar for that old chair you got outside!” No. Be a little more careful, strike up a conversation and maybe ask if there at other chairs possibly hidden away to look at. It just could be the person likes to talk about their stuff and if you show genuine interest they are more likely to take you around the corner and show you some pieces not on the floor. And, if you see a better piece, now is the time to talk price. Also, buying more than one item almost always increases the chance of getting a better deal. Folks like to sell in volume.

Be reasonable in your discount request. Don’t expect the owner to take a 90% mark down. Offering between 10 to 20% less is normal. So, a $50.00 chair might go home with you for $40.00. Oh and by the way. Cash always speaks way louder than credit cards! That credit card with all the cool perks and rewards points is costing the store between 3 to 5% so stop by the ATM and go prepared to pay cash on the barrel head.

Now here’s the difficult part. If you’re shopping for an old example, make sure you’re looking at a vintage, period piece. Too often I see even our own furniture offered as vintage at period correct prices. And, many people either don’t know or are just marketing there stuff as from the 1940’s or 50’s when in fact they are a Flanders piece from the late 1980’s or 90’s. Nothing terribly wrong with any of this but you as the buyer should remain cautious and look for the “tells” I talk about in my book and on previous blogs here. Lots of folks think any metal lawn chair in rusty, flaking paint condition automatically must have come from the 1950’s. Remember your Latin, Caveat Emptor, which means buyer beware. You can always send me pictures with a question and I’ll be very happy to tell you what I can about any old lawn chairs or gliders.

Take a cold, dreary weekend and hit some shops and you may well be pleasantly surprised what you’ll find!

Good Hunting!!

Skip