He heads right to the back of my sales area, and I thought he was going to the comic boxes that were set up on a table there. Turns out he was looking at what was under the table.
About a half hour before he got there, I bought eight M&M dispensers from another vendor for a buck each. I talked him down from 2 a piece because they were all filthy. There are a couple of M&M collectors who roam through the Peddlers Mall, so it's another category of stuff I snag when I can get it cheaply enough. I had put them in a box under one of my tables so I could take them home and deal with them later.
Well, this kid was totally in love with them. He told me one of the other dealers had some, but they were too expensive. He said he had one at home and he thought it would be cool to collect them. He wanted to know how much mine were.
He pulled them all out of the box one at a time and carefully checked them over. He said he didn't mind cleaning them up a bit. He tried them all out to make sure the levers worked. And he talked about each one of them. "This one is a little fatter than that one," he would say. "I bet it would hold more candy."
He talked about how the red M&M guy dispenser I had was shaped like a peanut M&M, but the red guy in the commercials is always a plain M&M. The yellow one is the peanut M&M. He was having the best time checking them all out.
Needless to say, I was completely charmed by the kid. I remember being a young, budding collector and trying to find things I could afford. I told him that he could have them for the same price I paid, a dollar each.
He got excited at that and decided that he would get four of them. He split them into two groups: the more ordinary ones and the ones he called the "funny" ones. Then he looked at them all one by one and explained why he was or was not going to get that particular one. He put all the ones he wasn't going to buy back in the box. In the end, the four he picked were his "funny" group: The Recliner, The Roller Coaster, The Movie Theatre, and The Golf Course (even though it was missing the club). he really liked the scenarios and stories each represented. He also liked the way the levers worked on each of them to dispense the candy.
He had one dollar on him and he gave it to me, then went in search of his mom to get the other three bucks. Uh oh, the Mom Factor. I kind of got worried the whole deal would fall through, so I decided I would offer him one for free if his mom said no to getting all four.
She came over, looked at them, and asked him what he would do with them. He said he would clean them up and display them in his room, like a collection. She said "okay" to that, so I decided she was one of the cool moms as she handed me three more dollars.
The guy I bought them from asked me why I didn't decide to make a little profit on them. They did have his 2 dollar stickers on them, after all. I thought about trying to explain "collector karma" and the whole being young and having an interest thing, but I knew he wasn't the type to get it. When I looked at the kid I saw me at that age, hitting flea markets looking for old comics, hoping my dad would give me some extra money if I found something special. When this other dealer looked at him, he just saw a customer. I finally said, "It just wouldn't have been right."
The four he didn't get are cleaned up and in my booth right now, waiting for another collector to come along. I had a few M&M things there already, but this buy gave me enough to make a proper display.