How Would You Handle This Situation? Is He Being a Jerk?
So I was at Goodwill, and it was about 10:20 am. In this Goodwill, a couple times a week they have fresh inventory come out in these blue multitiered bins. The bins will be filled up with house goods, books, and all different types of items.
Well, that day they brought out this bin of books. There’s this one guy I always see there, and, sure enough, he was there that day. He always has a stool with him. He pulls the stool up, and he plops it right in front of the bin. He’s a nice guy; I have no problem with him. But he plops himself down and almost takes over the whole thing. He puts his shopping cart on the left side of it and puts the stool down in the middle.
And I get this vibe from him. It’s almost as if he is saying, “Back off. This is my territory. I’m here first.” Again, I have nothing against him. But I’m just curious what everyone else would have done.
A friend of mine once told me that he had said to him something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m here first.” I’m paraphrasing, and I can’t say for sure what happened since I wasn’t there.
So what would you do? Is it okay if he was there “first”? What is the right thing to do? What’s the wrong thing? Is that his territory? As a reseller, should I avoid approaching him since he was there already and had started scanning books right next to him? Or do I have the right to do that since we were both in the store? What’s right? What’s wrong? I don’t know the answer.
I’ll be honest with you. Part of me wanted to say, “Listen, I have the freedom to go in there, stand next to you, and take some books if I want. You don’t own the whole store.” And then another part of was thinking, “Well, as another reseller, someone who’s been in the business, it’s only proper etiquette; it’s only right that if another reseller is there scanning to keep a distance.”
It’s almost like fishing. My dad is a big fisherman, and he always taught me that if someone is fishing in a spot, you don’t want to fish too close to them because you’re going to scare the fish away. Sure, the books aren’t going anywhere, but it’s almost like proper etiquette. The other seller was there first. There are plenty of opportunities at the thrift store.
How to React?
So what would you do? Would you make your way in and say, “Listen. Whatever. It’s a free country. I can do whatever I want.” But maybe he wouldn’t even react and I wouldn’t have to say anything. What’s right? What’s wrong? What is proper etiquette? I don’t know.
The day in question, I kept my distance. I didn’t want to step on the guy’s toes. But as they say, nice guys finish last. That could be true in this case. If I would have gone next to him, maybe I would have found a hundred bucks worth of profit. Who knows? Or maybe I would have just created an enemy. But does he have the right to get mad at me? I don’t have all the answers.
It’s different when there’s a huge bookshelf. Obviously you can’t control the whole bookshelf. But a bin and if he’s there first…what are your thoughts?
Mama Profit’s Take
I told my mom—Mama Profit—about all this and asked her opinion. And do you know what she said?
She said, “Listen, I ain’t here to make friends. I’m going to barge right in and throw the books in my cart.”
So, I guess Mama Profit don’t give a damn. But, for me personally, it’s still an etiquette question that is up in the air. What are your thoughts?
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