Junk Mobsters Part 4
I sat in my car in front of the Junk Mobsters Shop wondering how I had arrived there in the first place. I swore I would never go there again, and after the almost brawl I had with the Don at the estate sale, I thought I had ended on a high note- with me being the clear victor.
But here I was again. Sitting in front of the shop. I thought back to the estate sale and what the Don had said to me. At the time, he came across as a bully- all angry bluster and wild anger fueled gesturing arms and hands. The tone was meant to intimidate and irritate. It was meant to get a response of, “Well! I never!” and then I was supposed to give up, stomp off and throw a fit…while the Don swooped in and grabbed the awesome industrial lounge set. Or was it?
When I thought back to the exchange, I made myself look past all the “show” and focused on what he said to me. I have learned that if I take the time to weed out the bluster, the growling, the angry posturing that is where the nugget of truth lies.
The Don had underestimated me and he knew it. When he asked me if I knew what the vintage industrial lounge set was worth, he knew at that time that I had somehow outsmarted him. He figured out too late that I was one to watch and he had not been watching. Big mistake. He didn’t tell me what the lounge set was worth- he asked me- because he wasn’t so sure now of anything concerning me. He wasn’t sure what I knew. I was new to the local world of junk- his world of junk.
I have to admit that I wasn’t so sure about him either because right before he stomped off to throw his own fit, I swear I saw what looked like respect in his eyes. I also saw the upturned corner of his grumpy mouth and I swear it looked like he was actually having fun. I thought about that moment for weeks and really wanted to doubt my translation of it BUT I have learned to trust my instincts and how I read people and knew, I just knew, I needed to go back to the Junk Mobster’s shop.
I took a deep breath, ready for anything and stepped out of my car. I wound my way through the maze of old metal filing cabinets and arrived at the front door. I hitched my purse high on my shoulder and yanked the door open with confidence. I stepped inside and immediately looked to my right where I thought maybe I was lucky enough to get to avoid Mama and Mini Mob. No such luck. They were both sitting right where they were on our first meeting. But here’s where I was met with a little blessing- they didn’t say a word when I slowly walked past them staring by now because they still weren’t saying a word– just staring right back.
I drew even with the door to The Don’s lair and saw that he was in there. His head turned towards me and he sat up with a start, moving the noisy gears of his Lazy Boy from a lounge into a strict upright chair.
“Hey! Girl!” The Don growled out.
It doesn’t matter how much I trusted my instincts or how well I thought I translated some hidden meaning in my exchange with The Don, I was still struck stupid with his begrudgingly friendly tone…full of respect.
“Well?! Get in here!” The Don growled out. I snapped to and looked to my right where Mama Mob and Mini Mob were both open mouth gawking at me. I smiled my winner’s smile and seized the invitation.
“Is she the one at that sale?!” I heard Mama Mob ask Mini Mob as I stepped past them.
“Well, I don’t know Mama!” They were out of the know and that wasn’t good.
I tentatively stepped into the office area and stood by waiting, on the defense should things start to fly or Mini Mob sneak up behind me. I turned my back to the wall, better to watch all of the above.
This might’ve been a trick of some sort, a scam or an all out play at evening the score, but a junk sale of a life time…no, an estate sale to end all estate sales…no, if the Little Old Lady that inspired my biggest bout of Junk Drunkeness was actually there at her shop right then, I still wouldn’t have left and missed that moment.
More important than any one treasure I find, is the opportunity to build a relationship with a junk shop owner. That relationship is worth more to me than anything I could buy, regardless of what kind of deal I got and the resale value on it. The stories, adventures, life lessons, history, the hard won information – these entreprenuers are goldmines full of priceless information that can be yours depending on what kind of value you place on it. If you judge a Junk Shop by its store front, you’ll more than likely miss the treasures right under your nose and if you disregard the shabby shop owner as a third rate citizen, you’ll miss the opportunity for an education in business- right from the source at ground level. So, was I willing to look past the bluster and what appeared to be bullying to see the spark of respect or was I going to stick with my original summary of the exchange as being a blow hard old coot out to harass a rookie girl who dared to mix up his world?
“So, about that estate sale. Whatcha going to do with that industrial lounge set?” He settled back into his Lazy Boy waiting, eager to hear my answer.
“Well, I was going to save it for …” I explained my plan of special treasures I was stockpiling for a special upcoming market and I saw The Don nod with approval. I decided to go with this new turn of events, as opposed to telling him to shove it, and the conversation turned into two hours of questions and answers from both of us. I found myself sitting in a equally past its prime lazy boy which was wrestled into the office just for me, by none other than Mini Mob, herself.
At the end of the conversation, The Don told me, “Hey listen here. I got something I want you to look at…” He led the way out of the front door to the store, calling over his shoulder at Mama Mob about showing me something “in the back.”
We headed towards a side gate and The Don had to wrestle them open and I fell head long into junk heaven…