With new luxuries coming into our lives, what do we do with the old utilities? For some, selling off an old item may not be a necessity because the little money it can fetch may not be significant to them. And to some, old things may carry significant memories and irrespective of their working condition, they would prefer to preserve it with them. And I have enough of such preserved memories around the home!
One was my old Nokia 1600. Once upon a time, it was my prized possession. It was the time when mobile phones were just getting introduced in India and owning one gave such a prestigious status. Until how many ever years I had used it, I maintained it carefully.
Times change and somehow for some reason, new things come to you and thus came a new phone to me. Yet, I had kept my old phone safe. Sometimes, when someone in the house undergoes the frustrated period of getting their smart phones repaired, my Nokia 1600 would serve as their temporary back up.
After serving a while as back up and after lying inside my handbag for a few years, I finally decided to give it away. It was in perfect working condition; so I wasn’t willing to give it for free to anyone. I tried asking a few neighbours, relatives, known people; but I couldn’t make a fair deal. I had posted ads over selling websites. However, nothing turned out favourable.
But, you will be surprised to hear how I finally sold my Nokia 1600 – not for Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000, but for $100.
I had always kept my old phone within a zipper inside my hand bag and without my knowledge it continued it remain there during my trip to the US. I was at the Frankfurt International Airport, just in time for the security check for my connecting flight to Dallas. Security check always gets me nervous. I get tensed when it is my turn to leave the gadgets and liquid bottles in the checking tray. I hold my breathe until I see my things on the other side of the black box. With little time left, I quickly grabbed my things to rush to my gate.
And there we were flying – my Nokia 1600 and I, across the Atlantic Ocean. In sometime, an American co-passenger sitting next to me started a formal conversation with me. During the conversation, he specifically asked me if I was carrying an old-modeled mobile phone with me. It kind of shocked me at first. However, without letting me despair, he explained that he had noticed on old phone on my security check tray at the Frankfurt Airport.
Well, he seemed straight forward and put his request to me in no time. He wanted to buy my Nokia 1600! Period!
What? I was scared, scared to death! As an Indian woman, my gut wouldn’t trust strangers. Especially, making deals with strangers – no way! My old phone was already restored to factory settings; so there wasn’t anything in it that I should be afraid of revealing my personal information through my phone. Yet, I couldn’t accept an unexpected deal, several miles above the sea level 😆
But why would someone want to buy an old phone from India?
I was curious to know but I refrained my conversing any further to him lest I will again be put into the difficult situation of saying yes to the deal. However, as though a mind reader, he continued to explain politely that he owns an antique phone shop and in fact he is returning back from New Zealand after a visit to the antique telephone shops in there.
Hailing from a country which hardly values antiques and looks down upon anything that’s old, I was not convinced by his antique shop stories and continued to pose a rigid face. He pulled out his phone to show me the pictures of his shop in Dallas and his online buying site. However, all that went through my mind was that he must be a terrorist trying to collect old phones to use it for illegal purposes.
My fear heightened when he offered to pay me $100.
100 dollars? I quickly tried to convert to Indian Rupee in my mind. But in my confused state, my brain couldn’t work and it took more than three minutes to figure out the amount – Rs. 6700! Why would somebody pay me six times the amount of the original price for an used, old-modeled, outdated gadget?! Uff! I wanted the airplane to land immediately and save me from this tension.
Understanding my grim reaction, he said he would wait until I meet a family member of mine at the Dallas airport, so that I can have a discussion with them and come to a decision. For some reason, this particular point calmed my nerves because the responsibility seemed to shift to my daughter now.
In spite of the long queue at the immigration counter, he waited patiently after we reached the Dallas airport. Finally, I could breathe in peace after I spotted my daughter and family. The antique man got into a conversation with my son-in-law who was excited about the offer. To my surprise, I was congratulated to have successfully sold my old phone for $100. I was told that antique shopping is common in the US and it was indeed my lucky day.
Ha! When I look back, it seems an interesting incident; in fact an interesting coincidence that I had to carry my Nokia 1600 with no necessity to the US, the man whose seat number was next to mine was an antique collector and that by a strange chance, he had noticed my phone on the tray in those few minutes!
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