Sunday, January 6, 2013

A thrift store Santa brings some comfort and joy...

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, considered the end of the Christmas season. I am ready to move on, as I'm sure you are too. But before we leave the holiday season, I have one more Christmas story to share. It's a little different because I actually lost money on this deal. But I am very okay with it.

About a month ago, I spotted a life-size Santa Claus at the Goodwill store. He was made up of two separate pieces-legs and upper body. Judging from his vintage appearance, I could see he went back more then a few years. His price was written on the outside of the box-a steep fifty dollars! Despite the high price, my juices were flowing on this great old find. But with only a few weeks to go before Christmas, I wasn't sure if the hefty investment was worthwhile. So I did what I usually do when I can't make up my mind. I paced around the store while weighing the pros and cons inside my head. Hoping some quick eBay research could help me decide, I clumsily plunked at the keys on my phone searching for similar Santas'. There were a few listed, but price depended on condition. The condition of my Santa was not the best. My other potential problem was storage. If I couldn't sell the big guy, I'd have to find a space for him in my crowded attic. Still unable to decide, I did something I never do at Goodwill-I approached the manger and asked if she would go lower on the price? Surprisingly, she agreed and came down to $40! (Maybe because I am a loyal customer.) Having now called my bluff, I couldn't back out....Santa came home with me!

He went to a good home!
Now the proud owner of a vintage Santa Claus, I conducted my usual research to try to find out his provenance. Given his size, I was curious how he was displayed back in the day. His suit was real fabric, eliminating the possibility of him being displayed outdoors. Being life-size, he also seemed too big for people to easily display inside their home. Surfing eBay listings, I concluded he was about 50 years old and most likely used in department store window displays. This would explain his life-like beard and  fabric clothing. Only a few of these guys were listed on eBay, but one in near-perfect condition sold for $600 dollars! Although my Santa was not nearly in the same pristine condition, I thought $100 would be a reasonable amount to ask for him.
   
With just a few weeks left to go before Christmas, my Santa went up on Craigslist for $100 dollars. But it seemed buyers were not in the holiday spirit for old Santa. I received no e-mails! I then lowered him to $75....then to $50. To my dismay, still no inquiries on old Saint Nick! As Christmas day past, I began to think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have bought the jolly old fella.

But before the big guy headed upstairs to my attic, I decided to lower him once more to $30 bucks. That was ten dollars less then what I paid for Santa. Some wheeler-dealer I was turning out to be! But I reasoned if I didn't get him sold now, I'd have to wait until next year! But then, just about the time when Santa was heading to the attic, I received an e-mail from a guy named Phil. He said he wanted to buy good, ol Santa! I met Phil the next day, which happened to be New Year's Eve. He pulled up in his flatbed truck 15 minutes late. I smiled to myself as he jumped out of his truck and apologized for his tardiness. He had a scattered, haphazard look about him and seemed like he was probably late for a lot of appointments.

Propped up in the cargo area of my car, I opened the rear door for Santa's big reveal! Marveling at the jolly old fellow, Phil handed me thirty dollars with no questions asked. As he paid me, I began to talk about how this Santa was a great, old collectible piece. Phil humored me and listened, but then told me what he really wanted the big guy for. It had nothing to do with the usual reasons, like collectible value or use as a holiday display. Phil told me he bought Santa Claus for his mother-in-law, explaining she suffers from Alzheimer's disease. While she doesn't respond to too many things anymore, Phil said her eyes brighten and she smiles when shown pictures of Santa. Seeing her reaction, Phil decided his mother-in-law deserved her own full-size Santa Claus!

Now I ask you....how great is this guy? He met me in a parking lot on cold, dreary New Year's Eve just to make his ailing mother-in-law a little happier. Now that's what I call a "Prince" of a son-in-law! I have to say, sometimes you meet the nicest people in this business!

With that, Phil gently buckled Santa into the passenger seat of his truck. I wished Phil a Happy New Year and told him I hoped Santa would bring some joy to his mother-in-law. As Santa happily looked out the front window of the truck, Phil pulled out of the parking lot and headed home. Call me crazy, but as they drove away it seemed like Santa couldn't wait to meet his new friend.




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10 comments:

  1. Sometimes you just can't put a price on a good thing. Even though you lost money on Santa, you gained a lot more just knowing there are people like Phil out there! Great story.

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    1. Amen to that. I am glad you liked it, thanks...Dude!

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  2. What a touching story! With all the evil things happening in the world, it's so nice to hear of good deeds. Thank you for sharing all that you do!

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  3. Thanks Barbara. It's nice to sing the praise of the good people out there like Phil!(And there are many) I am really glad you enjoyed it....Dude!

    :)

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  4. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Kym, I am glad you liked it...Dude!

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  5. That story really touched my heart. It's not always about the money we make in this business, and in this case it was ...... Priceless.

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    1. Tracy- Very true! Thanks for the nice e-mail....Dude!

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  6. Awwwww, almost brought tears to my eyes but managed to hold them back. Definitely warmed my heart and put a smile on my face.

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    1. Sharon-I am glad you liked it, thanks....Dude!

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