November 11, 2009

The importance of wording

SETTING: A lawn on the side of a busy road. Old tables, a rattan easy chair, an antique dining chair, vintage suitcases, a mirror with a burned aluminum frame, and various knickknacks are scattered in a yard sale display.

AT RISE: A buyer browses the baskets and figurines while waiting for a man at the residence to fetch the woman who sets the prices.

The woman of the house emerges.

WOMAN: (smiles) Help you?

BUYER: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about the mirror and that chair over there.

WOMAN: Oh, five dollars. (Waves it off with her hand.)

BUYER: For the…for b–

WOMAN: For the mirror. That’s just five dollars.

BUYER: And the chair?

WOMAN: Which one?

BUYER: That one, there. (Points at antique dining chair.)

WOMAN: Oh, well. I can’t let that go for under ten dollars. It’s good cherry, been in my family for years. An antique, you know.


WOMAN: How much do you want to give me for it?

BUYER: Ten for both?

WOMAN: Oh, no. The chair’s worth more than … I really can’t let it go for under ten.


WOMAN: Well…how much were you thinking?

BUYER: I mean, ten dollars for the chair, for sure. And then I thought maybe you’d just throw in the mirror…?

WOMAN: (pauses to consider) Well…okay. All right.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Ah, haggling, my nemesis …

  2. If this only worked at Toys R Us, Christmas would be complete.
    The other Kristen ~


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About Kris Tsetsi

Kristen J. Tsetsi is the author of the novels "Pretty Much True..." and "The Year of Dan Palace" and the short fiction collection "20 Short Stories," all published under the name Chris Jane. Website:




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