So I ducked into this little pawn shop on the way home from work today, and what did I find but a box of beat-to-shit guns with a magic marker sign that said "make offers". There were 9 long guns in the box, all rifles and shotguns, mostly single-shot and all rusty.
Then there was the one that stood out. I almost missed it because it was shorter than the rest and the box was tall. It was in behind the others in the corner of the box, but I recognized the front sight as soon as I saw it.
"What's the story on this box of guns?" I asked the shop clerk, a little Vietnamese woman. She didn't know, but she called her husband over. He was the store owner and he told me that a woman had just brought them all in and that they were her late father's guns and she just wanted them gone.
"He sure didn't take very good care of them," I said, starting the tire-kicking dance. How does someone let guns get like this?
"She said they were in his house when Katrina knocked it down," he told me. "She just wants them gone."
"No prices?" I asked.
He shrugged. "Make offer. We talk."
And eight of the nine were clearly trash. One definitely wasn't, but I had to play it careful. And to be fair, I love this game.
"Some of these might have been nice once," I said.
"Yeah, yeah..." he said, walking off. "You find ones you like, bring to counter."
Damn. This is easier when they actually want to make a sale. But I don't think this guy really cared.
Still...I pawed at the bunch for a while, picking them each up in turn so as not to give away the fact that I'd already decided that I was not walking away without a particular one. Then after a few minutes of acting disgusted (not hard with the junk in that box), I casually reached for the one that had caught my eye:
"That one is good," he said. Real good. Best one in the box."
"That's not saying much," I replied. "It's still pretty beat."
"Five hundred dollars," he said.
"You told me to make an offer," I replied. "How about three? I mean, look at this thing."
"You funny. You should have TV show. That deal at five hundred. You pay five, you take home."
Great. A sarcastic Vietnamese guy. But he's not stupid, and it wasn't really that bad. Sure, the metal was all patina and in need of some TLC but the wood was real nice--probably replaced at some time since the storm but still pretty much correct. I chiseled at him a couple more times and at one point I actually went to put it back in the box as a bluff, but he either really didn't care or he was better at this than I was. And truthfully, I'd have paid five, but now I had time invested in the game too and I had to score at least some victory, even just a little.
Besides, this was fun.
"Four Fifty is really the best I can do," I said. He gave me that look that said that he was tired of me, so I added the magic word: "CASH."
"It's really all I can do," I said.
He thought for a few seconds, then agreed. I gave him forty bucks as a deposit before he could change his mind then I ran across the street to the ATM machine to get the rest.
So one Form 4473 and a NICS check later, I took my new business machine home.
Yep. $450 and fifteen minutes of dickering nabbed me a pretty shopworn but complete and apparently functional IBM-manufactured M-1 carbine.
Time to rack it with the others. I'll start working on it this week-end.