Friday, February 22, 2008

The Antique Store Owner

On a trip to Hot Springs today, I passed a large antique store which had a huge banner declaring that it was

Usually that type of store does not make me turn my car around, but today, for some reason, it did.

I have been in several antique stores in my life, but this one is the mother of all antique stores in Central Arkansas.
It did not have aisles, it had tunnels.

The piles and stacks covered almost every square inch of wall and floor space. Hundreds of items hung from the ceiling. There were so many antiques that most were not even visible. I was afraid to touch anything for fear it would trigger an avalanche of dusty doors, windows, pictures, bed rails, cans, tools and a thousand other assorted things that were stacked (or thrown) 8-10 feet above my head.
This is the truth,.....OSHA would probably close it down as a hazard to the public.

The elderly owner did not see me come in but somehow found me in one of the tunnels. He began to chatter and asked me if I needed anything.
"Nope. Just browsing".
My standard answer when I shop.
I like to shop alone.
He did not get the hint.

He followed me though each burrow and provided a constant stream of conversation, peppering me with questions and volunteering the history of every piece I showed an interest in. He kept insisting that I must be looking for something particular.
"Barber chairs and telephones booths!" I said, convinced that he would have neither.
I was wrong.
He had both.
He told me "But my telephone booth is in the back in storage and is not ready to sell"
I laughed out loud!
If the store looked like this,..then what, in Heaven's name, would his storage be like?

Several times, as I meandered and he followed, I inquired about the phone booth and each time, he was insistent: He would not sell it.
For some reason,..that frustrated me.
And I did not even want the stupid phone booth.

I wanted to tell him how crazy it was that he had a store full of a million things that he obviously was not interested in selling.
I wanted to tell him his ridiculous prices were the reason his store was so full.
I wanted to ask him why he would advertise a "sale" and then be cantankerous about the one thing I was interested in.
I wanted to tell him that I was a nurse and we have big medical names for people who hoard stuff.

Hours have passed now, and I am not longer aggravated at this peculiar old man.
I am amused.
It is, after all, his store and he can run his insane business however he chooses.
It is not my business, is his business.

Maybe his goal for each day is to get a customer to drop in so he can frustrate them by NOT selling anything to them! I can hear it now:
"Honey, how was your day at the shop?"
"Oh it was great dear. I had three customers come in but I kept all our stuff and sent them out the door irritated!"

I love to try to relate stories like this to some kind of life lesson.
Tonight, however, I am a bit stumped.
I am going to ponder it for awhile.

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