Sob Stories…Part of the Biz

In my little vintage business I occasionally receive offers on items I have for sale. For example, I may have an item listed for $75 and someone may offer me $50. At that point I can accept, make a counter offer or politely decline. Usually I decline. My prices reflect a lot of research and reflection. I don’t make them lightly.

But every once in a while I receive a sob story. I received this one yesterday.


Now, it could be 100% true as she’s written. Or it could be an inventive piece of fiction from a woman driving a Lexus who wants a bargain. Who’s to know? 

For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s true. I wasn’t sure how low she expected me to drop prices for her so I thought about it overnight. When I woke up today, rather than feeling sympathetic towards her, I realized I felt manipulated. She said she wasn’t trying to give me a “boo hoo woe is me story” but that’s precisely what her whole message is about! It includes death, theft, police, disability and low income (to the penny). And even if it’s all true (and bless her if it is), her life situation really can have no bearing on my jewelry prices.

This may be hard ass but my thinking is either you can afford something or you can’t. Period. Don’t ask (or expect) a small business owner to take a huge cut/loss on something so you can get it. [Stepping down from soapbox now!]

In the end, I offered her a 10% discount, though I don’t think it was the deal she was hoping for.


How would you have responded to her??


  1. Eek! I don’t know how I would respond. If it is true and you helped her replace an item that meant a great deal to her, she might spread the word about your business and you might gain some new customers, but who knows. Since she is on Etsy, can you see how long she has been a member and view the other items she has chosen as favorites? Maybe that would give you some insight as to whether her story is legit or totally bogus.

    BTW. I added your shops as favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda. It was tricky! For me there was too much sad story and not enough of what she was expecting me to do. And to be honest if I cut her a great deal and possibly take a loss on the items and she tells her friends and they expect me to cut them a great deal…well, that’s no help.

      P.S. I did check out her Etsy profile beforehand and she has a favorite’s category of “Grandmas Charms.” So that at least sounds legit. 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you handled that well. I try to let my instinct led me in similar situations. I don’t always feel obligated. Regardless of whether her story is legit or not she could have requested a discount in a more classy manner without trying to guilt you into it and your reply was very gracious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jeff!! Her message did make me feel quite uncomfortable. I struggled over how to reply. – Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol

    Sometimes you have to be a hardass, Karen. Otherwise, people will wait in line to walk all over you.


  4. That’s a tough one.


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