Caveat Emptor…or Emptorium

The world has gone crazy.

Inflation has gone screaming through the roof. Mortgage interest rates are causing people to lose sleep at night. Going by the expressions I see on the faces of others at the grocery store, I’m not the only one dreading this week’s total.

Caveat Emptor. Latin for ‘let the buyer beware’. And boy howdy, these days you definitely want to be aware as the value of….well…anything. Bad enough that basics like mortgages, gas and groceries provide enough of a gut punch. Seeing tantalizing items online with exorbitant price tags attached only seems to add insult to injury. Well, for most of us.

Yes, everyone does it. Who doesn’t want to make a profit? A seller sets a price and potential buyers decide if they are willing to pay the price. Neither party is being pressured to buy or sell. Fair Market Value at its most basic. If an item doesn’t move, then the seller can either lower their price or withdraw it from sale.

How much would you pay for this lovely 7″ cranberry Bohemian Moser Harrash dresser jar?

However, google the name of anything for sale and across the first row dance photos of lovely luxury items from WayFair, Chairish and 1stDibs, all sporting outrageous price tags that may make you snort any liquid you’re drinking.

Keep in mind a couple of things, though. 1stDibs, for example, caters largely to trade professionals like architects and interior designers, who get trade discounts. Rest assured that those trade pros happily charge their deep-pocketed clients the full asking price. Even 1stDibs sellers quietly lower their prices in order to move stock.

This is where the you, dear reader, have some power as a potential buyer. You have the right to contact the seller with an offer that is more realistic.

After all, as I’ve heard from many retail and antique dealer friends say: “I’m running a business, not a museum.”

For example, a few weeks ago a friend got a lovely 7″ Moser Harrash cranberry Bohemian glass dresser jar as part of an estate lot. I saw a listing for an almost identical dresser jar – same make, size, colour, condition, comparable amount of ornate detail – listed online for a pretty healthy price.

I bookmarked that listing and revisited it today.

That same dresser jar has dropped in price to 1/3 the original asking price.

So while we ride out the current financial s**tshow, rest assured that there will always be shiny objects that entice us, and a way to get them. You’re welcome.

Have a great week everyone and stay warm!

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