Over at Parent Bloggers Network this weekend, they’re asking what the best bargain you ever found was. Well, I’ve occasionally lucked into some pretty good sales, getting things for half price. I’ve also scored really well at garage sales; up north where my grandmother lived, there was a by-law only allowing garage sales on two days of the year (at the beginning and at the end of the summer) so it was great to go there and hit a ton of sales in one fell swoop, which is how I got a great little wooden sled for five bucks and a 2T snow suit for another five bucks.
But I think that really, the best bargain ever is when you manage to get something completely free. I’m very lucky in that I get many things for free for the sake of review. Still, the best deal I ever got was when I was taking a couple of bags of garbage down to the dumpster in the parking lot a few years ago. After I threw the bags in (the fact that they are so tall and the lids are almost impossible to life when you’re my height are a rant for another day), I turned around and saw a man from one of the other buildings walking my way. He had a small trash bag, an acoustic guitar, and an electric bass.
I walked past him, then turned and asked, “excuse me, but are you throwing those instruments away?” I really expected him to laugh and tell me that he was putting them in his car, but no. He shrugged and said he was throwing them out because they didn’t work. I asked if I could take them and he handed them over with a smile. I said thanks and practically ran up the four flights of stairs to show George.
It turns out that the guitar was completely useless. I don’t remember what was wrong with it, but it was a cheap guitar to begin with and would have cost more to try to fix it than it would to just buy a new one (and really, he already had a better one anyway). The bass though? It was easily fixable. He called the bassist in his band who agreed to take a look at it. He fixed the neck, tuned it up, and gave it back to George and it was in great shape. It’s not the best bass in the world, but it works, and works well. When George writes music now, he can do the whole thing from start to finish without having to get someone else to play bass on it or lend him a bass to do it himself.
I love telling people that I got his bass in a rescue mission, saving it from the dumpster, saving it from people who didn’t really understand anything about musical instruments.
So that’s my best bargain story. It’s a little white trash, perhaps, but free is free, and hey. It’s not like it had made it INTO the dumpster and needed to have grime and food scraps cleaned off it first.