What's My Time Worth?
On Sunday, a local museum was holding a fund-raiser. For $5 you could have an antique appraised by a number of experts who were divided into their respective fields of knowledge.
Overall it was a fairly exciting experience, despite the lack of TV cameras, a la 'Antiques Roadshow'. But similarly to Antiques Roadshow, Suz and I saw treasures valued at anywhere from worthless to $10,000.
We sat in white plastic chairs waiting for our number to be called. We had number nine. As we watched numbers 3 through 8 go before us, I slowly became more and more nervous. Then, our number was called. Yay!
I presented my mom's 1875 'Westward Ho' glass plate. My great-grandfather was the chief inspector at Dominion Glass, and one day he brought this plate home. It has been passed down through our family ever since. After approximately 2 minutes, our appraisal was finished and we were sent on our way with a small slip of paper.
Wait a minute!
We waited an hour for two minutes of their time? I wouldn't have minded so much, except that I had just spent an hour watching them appraise garbage from the 1970s. I suppose the experts felt really awful when they saw morons show up with "antiques" from 30 years ago. I suppose they didn't want to laugh in the faces of these poor ignorant women, or point out that their jewellery box still had the little gold sticker on the bottom that we are all so familiar with - "Made in Taiwan". And so, to save the women from embarrassment, the appraisers spent 20 minutes looking at this worthless box, and the worthless coins inside it. Total value? About 3 dollars.
And if that wasn't the biggest waste of time, it was a close second to the woman who spent nearly 20 minutes arguing with the appraisers that her Japanese urn was actually from the 1600's. In three appraisers' expert opinions, the urn was from 1910. They weren't just guessing at a century - they had it nailed down to an exact year! And still the woman refused to believe them. I don't know why. They weren't wearing clown noses or "Official Tan Line Inspector" t-shirts.
Then it was "Westward Ho, nice glass, worth about $300. Thanks, see ya." And with a nod, two burly bouncers hoisted us out of our plastic chairs, stuffed us into our car, and pushed us out into traffic. Two minutes later we were home, with heads spinning.
Next year maybe I'll have a little fun. Maybe I'll pick something up at Wal-mart 10 minutes before the event, and see if I can't waste some time.