Late this afternoon the bell rang. I looked out, sighed and went ahead and released the lock. A scruffy urban camper walked inside with his gear which consisted of four or five brown plastic grocery bags.
Without preamble I get this, "Hey hey hey, hey man the word is you be buy coins and stuff, you know like these here collectable coins and hey hey hey, hey man, the word is you pay good. Hey man, check it out."
He reaches over and offers a desk plaque. Its two thick pieces of clear plastic with a fake wood backing which sandwiched two uncirculated coins, a single 1971 Eisenhower dollar and a penny. The sign read John Tunney and was from a local small bank.
I glanced at the piece and asked, "What's your price?" Always, always, make them reveal their price. Big smile, then, "Hey hey hey, hey man, listen here. That's a real silver coin. A dollar man, hey hey, how's about twenty dollars?"
"Hey hey hey, hey man what the hells wrong with you? This is silver man, pure silver. They quit making these here silver coins in 1975. Don't you know nothing man...I mean hey hey hey, hey man the word is you a good man that pays good money, hey hey come on man."
I took my cell and flipped it around and as he tried to read I explained the difference in silver content of U. S. currency. I pointed to the screen and said, "See, it contains forty percent silver and at current spot its melt value is just a bit over seven dollars. The penny is worth a penny. My offer is four dollars and you can keep the penny."
He took a quick step back and as before, "Hey hey hey, hey man this is bullsh*t and you're ripping me off man, hey hey, hey man, come on give me my twenty dollars."
I said it very calmly. Did not raise my voice nor hands.
He lowered his head and mumbled, "Sorry man, hey hey hey, hey man, really I'm sorry. It's just I need cash man."
I backed off. Reached in my pocket and peeled off four dollars and placed the cash and his coins back into his hands. I remained silent and pointed at the door.
There but for the grace of our Lord.....