The importance of wording

SETTING: A lawn on the side of a busy road. Old tables, a rattan easy chair, an antique dining chair, vintage suitcases, a mirror with a burned aluminum frame, and various knickknacks are scattered in a yard sale display.

AT RISE: A buyer browses the baskets and figurines while waiting for a man at the residence to fetch the woman who sets the prices.

The woman of the house emerges.

WOMAN: (smiles) Help you?

BUYER: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about the mirror and that chair over there.

WOMAN: Oh, five dollars. (Waves it off with her hand.)

BUYER: For the…for b–

WOMAN: For the mirror. That’s just five dollars.

BUYER: And the chair?

WOMAN: Which one?

BUYER: That one, there. (Points at antique dining chair.)

WOMAN: Oh, well. I can’t let that go for under ten dollars. It’s good cherry, been in my family for years. An antique, you know.

BUYER: Hm.

WOMAN: How much do you want to give me for it?

BUYER: Ten for both?

WOMAN: Oh, no. The chair’s worth more than … I really can’t let it go for under ten.

BUYER: Hm.

WOMAN: Well…how much were you thinking?

BUYER: I mean, ten dollars for the chair, for sure. And then I thought maybe you’d just throw in the mirror…?

WOMAN: (pauses to consider) Well…okay. All right.

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