Mitzvahs of Commerce

Craig’s List. What an amazing invention and a terrific mode of commerce. I always forget between transactions how gratified I feel once I have successfully bought or sold something through this wonderful internet innovation.

Last week, we realized our garage and shed were getting overrun by outgrown bicycles. As the kids have gotten bigger and moved onto bigger bikes they never seem to want to part with the old one. Each kid currently has an extra bike (just in case a friend comes over and wants to ride) but when I realized after cleaning out the shed that my son now had two used bikes besides the one he is currently riding I knew it was time for some Craig’s List action. Since the bike was used to begin with I couldn’t ask very much for it but free seemed a bit too low. I priced it at $20. After cleaning it up some more, I realized one of the tires was worn and it looked more beat up then I’d remembered. Perhaps I had priced it a bit high. I was willing to negotiate. The family that came to look at it spoke little English and the older brother translated for his mom as we transacted the exchange for his younger brother. They offered $5,  I countered to $10 and we both happily settled.

Here is a mitzvah that makes sense but perhaps you’ve never thought of it in this way. “Not to wrong the stranger in buying and selling.” It is our responsibility or duty to always negotiate fairly and honestly with someone. Both parties need to feel that they are getting appropriately compensated from the transaction. Negotiating skills are very important anywhere prices aren’t fixed ie. garage sales, fairs, Craig’s List etc. The bottom line though in matters of buying and selling is that neither party feels taken advantage of just comfortable with the transaction that has transpired. Try to keep this in mind as summer winds to an end.


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