Third time’s the charm

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023

By Jan Penton-Miller


I stepped into The Rusty Magnolia yesterday for about the third time looking for a sturdy dresser and mirror. I’ve always heard the third time’s the charm, and on this day it was true for me.

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After perusing around the shop for a while I realized that I had forgotten the little hallway by the back door. My expectations were pretty low since the search was almost over, but my eyes fell on just what I had been looking for.

The well built dresser and mirror had seen a little wear and had a few scratches on the top, but I saw the potential. Excitedly, I strode to the counter to pay Tommie when I spotted an absolutely gorgeous lawyer’s bookshelf. I really didn’t know what it was called until Tommie rectified that, but I knew it was something I could put to good use.

When a piece of furniture has stood the passing of many years it almost seems romantic to me. I wonder whose hands have touched it and what stories it has been privy to. Like adding a chapter to a book I also want to write a few words and pass the piece along for someone else to cherish.

I haggled just a bit over the price, but knew all along that I would pay the asking price if need be. The price held firm, but I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoy trying to get a bargain, but that’s just a little part of the shopping experience. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s fun to try.

Occasionally people shopping with me look like they want to run and hide, but when they see me get a discount the look of embarrassment usually changes to a wary look of approval. Everyone doesn’t feel comfortable asking for a price reduction, but the trick is to always accept a no just as gracefully as a yes.

My late-husband would go into a car dealership and pay sticker price until I encouraged him not to be so quick to accept the price as final. He wasn’t much of a price haggler, but he got a little better at it as time went along. I suppose I like the challenge, and maybe it’s a bit of a game for me to try to get a better price.  

I purchased the two pieces and made arrangements to have help with delivery. The plan was that I would supply the truck, while a nice fellow named Robert would supply the manpower. The next day I arrived for pickup and realized that Robert also refinishes furniture. What good fortune it was not only to find the dresser I wanted, but also to have the imperfections reduced.

My dresser should be delivered tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. The lawyer’s bookshelf has been cleaned and loaded. It has a character mark or two, and stands dutifully waiting for this family’s stories to seep into the dark, rich wood.