Yesterday, I opened my 3-day garage sale. It poured down rain. I still managed to sell a few items. The highlight of my day, however, was the little old Asian couple.
They wandered in huddled under an umbrella, in the midst of a downpour, and proceeded to pick up and discuss almost every object in my garage–in rapid Chinese, no less. At one point , they crossed the “barrier” of tables into the garage sale world equivalent of the DMZ: The “not for sale” zone. The man started picking up my garden tools. He seemed rather taken with a hoe. I tried politely to let them know that the garden tools were not for sale and pointed to the rest of the items for sale in the garage not in this zone. They both smiled and nodded at me, then picked up the rake. At this point, I realized we had another sort of barrier with which to contend: the language barrier.
They should have had a sign that said “No English Spoken Here” for I would have saved myself a lot of foolish gestures and explanations. I even think (shudder) that I started to speak loudly to them as if they were deaf instead of simply not speakers of my language.
In spite of my repeated actions and shaking of head, the man pulled out the hoe again and, I am not lying, started to hoe some dirt in my yard! I guess he needed to test drive it before purchasing. At this point, my brother, who lives in Florida but was getting a blow-by-blow account via AIM, said to me “Just give him the dang hoe!”
After about 30 minutes of this interaction, they left. It caused me great amusement and my family and I chuckled over the whole experience.
This morning, I put the kids on the bus and was talking to some neighbors when I saw two Asian gentlemen riding bikes pull into my driveway. I could not believe my eyes…it was the same man! This time he brought along what I presume to be his interpreter….a younger man of Asian decent who actually said the word Hello.
The first thing the older man went for? THE HOE. I thought, “OK. This time I will sell it to him, but for what price?” Well, they soon left without asking about it again, so I decided I had escaped a second potential international incident. That is, until 2 pm.
I looked up and saw my friend, the old Asian man, standing in the garage, holding in his hand…..???? Yup.
I thought, “Oh no, old man. You are not going to put me through this three times and get my hoe for a measly quarter.”
I smiled and shook my head, held up a $1.00 bill and said “One dollar.”
He smiled and pulled out a 2nd quarter, offering 50 cents.
I smiled and shook my head. I held up 4 fingers and said “4 quarters.”
He laughed and pulled out two more quarters.
I had won! I negotiated with a little old Asian man who didn’t speak English and held out for more money. That, I think, was the hardest earned dollar I’ve ever made!
Oh well…at least we are still friends with China…at least in my neighborhood!
Although my neighbor pointed out to me that now I am a marked woman: they will come back every time I have a garage sale and try to buy all my garden tools…one at a time for a quarter a piece!