Creatively getting rid of stuff

The Price Was Right!

by Rich Finzer

We've all confronted the strange dilemma of "I've got this (fill in the blank) and I can't even give the thing away." Here's how I solved that problem and had a good laugh besides.

Two years ago, I replaced the old triple track storm window in my parlor. As the thing was five-feet by four-feet, I had no conceivable use for it once the replacement was installed. None of my friends or neighbors wanted it, and the town dump refused to accept it. So I finally did what country folks do all the time, I leaned it up against a tree by the roadside. Out my way, when items are placed in that location, it's a defacto statement of "If you want it, take it. It's free." That storm window sat out there for three weeks generating zero interest whatsoever. It was like trying to give away an Edsel. Then I remembered Mark Twain's book Tom Sawyer.

Crafty Tom convinced his friends to pay him for the "privilege" of whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence, and his foolish companions readily gave up their prized trinkets just to work for less than free. He created the illusion and cachet of "value." So what's this got to do with getting rid of the old storm window? Read on just a bit more.

I found a large sheet of cardboard, wrote $50 on it, and taped it to the window. Two nights later, someone "stole" it, which was exactly what I wanted in the first place. So remember that sometimes the word "free" creates the impression that an object has no worth or usefulness. Have an item you're trying to get rid of at no cost? Then put a price tag on it and let somebody "steal" it! I guarantee the thief will never bring it back.

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