Monday, December 17, 2012

What is it worth?

With much of the weekend soaked with cold and rain, the usual golf day (and probably season) was postponed, leaving the entertainment options scarce. Thus, I decided to head out with my girlfriend on one of her usual Saturday trips around the area to estate sale, garage sales and other sales in which people want to rid themselves of their personal belongings.

On this trip, we saw albums from the early 70’s and 80’s for sale, rusted tools, weed trimmers, books (tons of books), toys, dolls; you name it, it was probably for sale in the greater St. Joseph area on Saturday and Sunday.

At this particular estate sale it was fairly obvious that the person who owned the house was a senior citizen since most every item at the sale looked like it had been there quiet sometime. There were the above mentioned record albums from the 70’s, old-style silverware, tools that nobody uses anymore; you get the picture. And since I didn’t see any elderly people at the sale, I assumed that they had either passed away or were unable to live alone and were in a health facility for the elderly.

Going around the house I saw one item for sale that was questionable at best – in my opinion; it was a brand-new, right-out-of-the-box, state-of-the-art, never-been-used wheelchair. Price Tag? $100.

I stared at it quizzically, wondering a couple of different things - How much does a new one cost from a manufacturer?; Would someone actually purchase one at an estate sale? - Who came up with the price of $10? After going through these scenarios, the lasting question that I still have today is – How much was that wheelchair worth?

According to the person running the estate sale, it was worth $100 to them, but what about the lone senior struggling to get around in their own home or in public? What about those sons or daughters who have aging parents that need this piece of equipment to help their parents get around better but can’t afford it? What about the caregiver who sees seniors bedridden or unable to get around on a daily basis, knowing that if they could come up with this wheelchair that they could make more of a difference to one of their clients?

In leaving the sale, I had met with the folks running it, explained to them that I worked for InterServ and if they didn’t get the $100 they thought the wheelchair was worth at the time, and if they still had it, they could donate it to InterServ and we would find that senior, son or daughter, care-giver, who would think these pieces of aluminum, plastic and rubber were priceless at best.