Bull in a China Shop

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Bull in a China Shop
Written by Mark Edgemon

George and Harriet Steel were in the antique business and sold rare antiquities to the public, merchandise of great value, at least according to the price tags. But in actuality, they made their ancient antiques in the workshop out back. Using many techniques, they would age up furniture by beating them with chains, fading the stain in usually worn areas, scuff up the furniture, add burn marks and various other types of deceptions, that would add validity to their story that they would use to sale their merchandise.

Lies and deception were just tools of the trade. Dishonesty was just the normal way of doing business for them.

People would flock to their store to buy pricey items for their upscale homes and luxury apartments.

One day, they received a truckload of items from an estate sale and had their stock clerks unload them in the back shop to prep them for sale. A real antique expert came into the store while the truck was being unloaded and saw the items as they were being unloaded into the workshop. He knew what was going on there, because he knew the dishonest side of the business. He introduced himself without revealing the business he was in and asked if he could purchase what was currently being unloaded. George and Harriet looked at each other and thought that they had a live one on their hands.

The made up some lame story that the expert could see right through and when they were done, sold the entire contents for $20,000. When he had written them a check, the items were reloaded on the truck and delivered to his shop across town.

A few days later, the Steels noticed a story in the newspaper about some crooked antique shop that had unknowingly sold priceless antiques worth 2 million dollars for only $20,000. They looked at each other, laughed and said out loud, “What idiots!” Then they glanced at the check for $20,000 they were about to deposit.

Copyright © 2008 Mark Edgemon

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