Monday, January 12, 2009

Being the better person ... maybe?

By now, most people have seen this story about the lady who almost sold the 1869 baseball card for $10. But what I'm curious about is what my own reaction and that of others would be?

I've been to yard sales, and garage sales and flea markets and looked for baseball cards and other memorabilia. I know enough about the stuff that I would have probably recognized what the card was. So the question I've been asking myself is:

What would I have done?

And I'm not really sure. It seems to me there are only really 3 courses of action that could have been taken.

1. Tell the lady what she had and let her keep it so she can sell it herself.

2. Buy the card, sell it, then give the lady a portion of the proceeds as a nice gesture.

3. Buy the card, sell it and keep all the money for yourself.

They each present interesting dilemmas, and there isn't really a clear cut answer.

In #1, that's perfectly acceptable to me, if someone does it. It's a nice thing to do, and of course, we all want to think we are the kind of person who does that.

In #2, that's a nice thing also, but unfortunately, with the way things are today, I can see some kind of lawsuit being filed for the full amount, because that's what people do these days, and then both sides lose.

In #3, I don't have any issue with this at all. If you're going to sell something, isn't it up to the seller to be aware of the value of what the item is? And isn't this what the flea market/garage sale mentality is about? Finding a bargain, or something valuable that other people want to get rid of? The old saying is, "let the buyer beware". By proxy, doesn't that count for the seller also.

So, as much as I would like to think I'm the better person, and would do the right thing, I'm not sure if there is any one "right thing" to do here. Being the person I am, especially one who is in dire financial straits, I'm probably going to buy the card and sell it, then keep all the money for myself.

Unless I knew the people and they were friends.

Or I didn't have the $10, which is always a likely proposition, and then I would tell them because it wouldn't matter to me anyhow.

But I think I would go sell some blood and get the $10, then cash in on the big bucks. That's me. I'll be most people would do the same thing, if they were to say it out loud.

1 comment:

tHeMARksMiTh said...

That's an interesting question. I have to admit that I'd probably buy the card for $10, but I'm not sure I would sell it right away. Maybe if I really needed the money. Otherwise, I'd put it in a safety deposit box and keep for another 50 years so my grandkids or kids could do something with it.