Dream of:06 June 2000 "Mad"
I had returned to Portsmouth for a visit, and had stopped in at the Gay Street House to see my father. He was sitting in the office on the Eighth Street side of the House, talking with a group of his employees gathered there. Six men (all probably in their 20s) were sitting in a row along one wall, while my father and a woman (about 60 years old) were seated on the other side of the room facing the men. I knew all the men worked for my father, but I was unsure about the woman. I thought she might be one of my relatives.
As I stood in the doorway, looking into the room, the woman spoke to me, and after exchanging a few words, she asked me if I were working. I gruffly answered, no, without giving any explanation. I hated when people pestered me with questions about whether I was working or if I had a job. I didn't have a job, and I didn't want one.
I stood for a few more minutes, listening to my father talk with his men. The meeting reminded me of the time when I had been a photographer many years earlier, traveling to a different town each week to take pictures in department stores. Every week, all the photographers for the photo-company had to gather together like that and listen to the boss give his little speech. I certainly didn't miss those times.
I was almost ready to leave, when something caught my attention. In one corner of the room was a rather large pile of magazines, and as I looked more closely at them, I realized they were Mad magazines. My interest aroused, I shifted all my attention from the boring meeting to the magazines. In short order I learned that one of the six men owned the magazines, and he had stacked them in the corner. I quickly singled him out and discovered he was interested in selling the magazines. I began flipping through the magazines and piling them up. In no time at all I had managed to carry all the magazines outside to the parking area behind the House.
The fellow who owned the magazines followed me out and watched as I continued going through them. I was increasingly impressed by what I saw. The magazines were old, but most were in excellent condition. I looked for the original price on the magazines, thinking the price would give me an idea of the age of magazines. Some prices were 25 cents, which meant they were quite old. Some even had covers which looked like the very earliest covers of Mad, when the magazine had been in comic book form.
A few other comic books were mixed in with the Mad magazines, and a few magazines didn't have covers. Those would probably have no value. Most magazines were in excellent condition, however, and surprisingly, some of the magazines had several copies of the same magazine. I immediately saw the value of multiple copies of the same magazine: if I were to buy the magazines, I could sell them on an internet auction site, and if I had multiple copies of the same magazine, I could sell the same ones over and over and not have to retype the info each time. I had already sold many things on Ebay, and I knew how easy it was to do. Since these magazines would be easy to sell, and were obviously quite valuable, I was definitely interested in buying them.
I turned to the fellow and began negotiating. I asked him why he had bought so many issues of the same magazines. He replied that he had originally bought the magazines as an investment. His statement was a bit surprising, because as I talked with him, I could see that he had no idea of the value of the magazines. When I finally asked him how much he wanted for all of them, he said $200.
I was elated to hear his price – the magazines were worth many times what he was asking. But, of course, I was going to try to get them as cheaply as possible, and I countered that I would give him $100. He responded that he would take $150. Clearly he was weakening; I thought he might actually come all the way down to $100, so I stood firm. I told him I simply couldn't give more that $100. He clearly wanted to sell the magazines, but he said he couldn't go that low.
I chatted a bit more, and told him that if he changed his mind, he should contact me, and I would still pay the $100 for the magazines. And then I turned to leave. Of course, however, I had no intention of leaving. I was just giving him a chance to call out to me and give in to the $100 offer. If he didn't, I would definitely be willing to give the $150 for the magazines.
When I took a couple of steps away, and he didn't say anything, I turned back around, and acting as if I were giving in, I told him I would meet him half way, and pay $125 for the magazines. Seeming satisfied, he agreed. I was unsure I had any money with me – I might have to go inside to borrow it from my father. But when I reached into my pocket, I pulled out a wad of bills. I quickly peeled off the $125 and handed it to the fellow. The deal was consummated, and I was definitely richer for it.
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