The Odd Human Behavior About Firsts and Lasts

003I rolled out my produce cart with a new box of plums. It was a really good collection – all the plums were ripe, but not too ripe. As produce manager, I was around all afternoon to watch customers buy these fresh pitted delicacies bag by bag.

By three o’clock, only one plum was left – just as good as the previous ones it shared the bin with, but nobody wanted to buy it.

At five o’clock, the plum was still there and reminded me of a certain human behavior I’d noticed, how nobody wants to buy the last of anything – ever – regardless of condition.

I roll a cart of items to the thrift store’s display floor to be placed on shelves for sale. Working in the thrift trade now, I’m introduced to another customer behavior. As the newly donated items come out, a customer follows closely behind the cart. She’s studying the articles carefully. As I slow, she picks one up. I can’t see what it is, but she smiles while examining it, as if handling a gold necklace.

“How much is this coaster?”

“The coaster? Two dollars.”

Another customer, who’s been eying the cart by way of a gap through the housewares, wanders over.

“How much is this scarf?”

“The price is marked on a tag, ma’am.” I stop the cart.

A third customer, having seen the cart crowd building, walks over. She lowers the glasses to the tip of her nose, then picks through the bottom rack of irresistible consumables.

“Does this pencil sharpener work?”

I might as well set up  a tent with a big sign saying “Cart Sale Today” because it appears I’m not going to get any more work done now. More customers surround the cart as if on a hunt and they’ve just smelled fresh meat enter the store. These thrill-seeking thrift seekers must think that because the items I’m rolling out are the hot new ones, they’re better than the last cart of hot ones I put out twenty minutes ago. What an annoying throng of people.

Next time, I’m going to take advantage of modern customer behavior and roll out one item on the cart. One, and that’s all. For sure nobody will want that.


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