The Best Bargain

“The Best Bargain,” Friend, May 2008, 10–12

The Best Bargain

I’ll form good habits in my youth, to keep my word, to tell the truth (Children’s Songbook, 149).

Andrea had been saving money from her paper route and her allowance for a long time. She wanted to get a CD player for her mom for Mother’s Day. She knew her mom would love listening to music in the kitchen while she worked. Finally, after paying tithing, Andrea had saved $20. With this money she hoped to find a great deal on a good secondhand CD player.

Andrea knew Mom wouldn’t mind if it was secondhand, because Mom was always happy to find “great deals” and “the best bargains” at the store. Mom would be proud to know that Andrea was trying to get the most for her money too.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, Andrea was excited to find a CD player at her friend Robin’s neighborhood yard sale.

“How much?” Andrea asked.

“Fifteen dollars,” Robin said.

Fifteen dollars! That meant Andrea would have five dollars left over for a fancy gift box and a card.

“I’ll take it,” she said. “But can you keep it here for me? I’ll need to sneak it home later, after my mom leaves for her hair appointment.”

“No problem,” Robin said. “I’ll put a ‘sold’ sign on it, and you can pay me when you pick it up.”

Andrea walked home smiling and humming to herself. What a good bargain shopper she was! Mom would be so proud.

Then Andrea saw another yard sale. Maybe she could find a great deal here on wrapping paper or ribbon. As she looked at the sale tables, another CD player caught her eye. This one was almost the same as the one sold by Robin—except the sign on this one read “$5.”

Five dollars! That was a better bargain than the first one. Andrea couldn’t believe her good luck. By spending only five dollars she’d have enough money left over to buy not only a fancy gift box and card but also the choir CD her mom liked so much. Mom would be twice as proud of her for finding this great deal.

Quickly Andrea bought the CD player and carried it home. By now Mom was gone, so Andrea hid it in her closet. She happily called Robin to tell her she didn’t need her CD player anymore. Robin didn’t say much.

Soon after Andrea hung up, the phone rang. It was Robin calling back.

“What you did isn’t fair,” Robin said. “Lots of people wanted my CD player but I told them it was sold to you. Now our yard sale is over and I can’t sell it. You broke your promise to me, and that’s not nice.”

After Robin hung up, Andrea sat in stunned silence. At first she felt mad. “How dare Robin talk to me like that?” she thought. “It’s my hard-earned money and I can do whatever I want with it.” Besides, getting the best deal was the most important thing, wasn’t it?

Then Andrea started feeling bad. Robin was right, she realized. Andrea had broken her agreement. While Andrea had gotten a better deal, Robin got no deal at all.

Andrea said a prayer for courage, took a deep breath, and dialed Robin’s phone number.

“You’re right,” she blurted out as soon as she heard Robin’s voice. “I’m sorry. I’ll pay you the money I promised, but you can keep the CD player. Maybe at another yard sale you can sell it to someone else. Is that OK?”

Now it was Robin’s turn to be stunned. Finally she responded: “That’s OK. You don’t have to pay me. I just remembered someone else who wanted it. I’ll give her a call. Thanks, though. I really appreciate it. See you at school, Andrea.”

When Andrea hung up, she gave a prayer of thanks that she was able to do the right thing. She knew it was the right thing because now she felt good inside. She was glad she had gotten a great deal on the CD player, but she was even happier that she had strengthened a friendship and learned to have integrity. That was the best bargain of all—one that would make her mother truly proud.

Illustrations by Mark Robison