Grabbing the bulky coffee maker, I walked to the back of the thrift shop where my buddy, "Sarge" volunteers his time. A former Vietnam vet, Sarge has his own workshop in the rear of the store where he makes repairs to donated items. Usually when I check in on Sarge he's tinkering with some donated item. Other times, he's taking a well-deserved snooze in his chair. The little guy likes to put me to work too, often asking me to help him move furniture when he spots me. Fortunately he cut me a break this day. No heavy lifting was required! With coffee maker in hand, I stuck my head around the corner of the partition that separates Sarge from the rest of the store and asked him if I could plug in the coffee maker? Sarge loves company, so he gladly welcomed me back to his kingdom.
Being invited back to Sarge's work area is a special treat. The main reason I enjoy it so much is because he reminds me of my grandfather and his basement workbench. Like my grandfather, Sarge's bench is neatly organized with lots of little drawers and shelves for all his tools. On one shelf he has an AM radio that's always playing oldies while he works. On another shelf sits a fluorescent lamp shining down on Sarge as he tinkers away. Above the bench on the wall is a cross and an old framed photo of President Kennedy. The President looks down on Sarge as the old veteran makes his repairs. I guess it's a guy thing, but I love hanging out with JFK and good old Sarge at his workbench.
My conversations with Sarge almost always follow the same pattern. He begins by proudly showing me something he's repaired. Usually it's a vacuum cleaner, stereo or boom box. He then tries to convince me that the repaired item is something I just can't live without and urges me to buy it! My response is always the same. No matter what the thing is, I compliment him on fixing it. I then tell Sarge that's although it's really nice, I already have one. (Whether I do or not.) I wrap it up by assuring Sarge his repaired item will sell quickly once it's put out on the shelf. I am not sure if Sarge realizes I give him the same old lines, but he always seems to enjoy our give and take.
Back at the workbench with the Keurig, Sarge showed me where I could plug in the coffeemaker. We also filled the tank with some water. I then turned on the Keurig and while the screen lit up, nothing else happened. As President Kennedy watched from high on the wall, Sarge and I proceeded to fiddle with the Keurig, but to no avail-the thing wasn't working. But even though the coffeemaker looked like a dud, I was still interested. I knew there was a chance Keurig might replace the broken coffee maker if I called their consumer hotline number. As I ran all my options through my head, Sarge called over Dana, the store manager. It was time to negotiate with her. Telling Dana that the Keurig didn't seem to be working, I asked her if she'd sell me the broken coffeemaker for five bucks? To my surprise, she agreed with no hesitation. With that, I unplugged the coffeemaker, told Sarge I'd see him later, and headed to the front of the store to pay.
If you don't know already, I am big a fan of Keurig coffee makers. I've blogged about these great machines several times in the past. So once I got my office version Keurig home from the thrift store, I really, really wanted it to work. So much so, in fact, that I decided to give it one more try at home. Setting it up on my kitchen counter, I plugged the machine in and hit the brew button. Guess what happened? Yep, the dog gone thing actually worked! Don't ask me how it happened, because I have no idea. Maybe President Kennedy threw down some Irish luck at me as I was leaving the store? Whatever the reason, the thing was now operating perfectly fine. Needless to say, I was ecstatic! The Keurig now had the potential to earn me some major bucks! With that in mind, I wasted no time posting the miracle Keurig on eBay.
|Lo and behold...it works!|
All in all, it was a pretty lucky thrift store flip! But that's what makes it all worth while, right? Have you flipped a Keurig or other coffee maker? Share your story in the comment section below. Meanwhile, I think I may go visit Sarge at his workbench. Who knows what I'll find there next?
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