Striking the Right Chord

Reposted from Thrift Shops for Nova West Island


Accordion: a portable musical instrument with metal reeds that are blown by bellows and played by means of keys and buttons.

Accord:  an agreement or reconciliation.

Chord: a group of notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony.

Chording: playing, singing or arranging notes in chords.

Striking the right chordappealing to or arousing a particular emotion in others.

Common chord: the wonderful story below.

Tom volunteers at the Thrift Shops for Nova West Island. With integrity, and to the best of his ability, he helps to ensure that donated items are collected, repaired, prepared and sold at a fair price. As a Social Impact Organization, we believe that the selling price must be fair to both the customer and the Thrift Shops for Nova West Island. Otherwise we would be doing a disservice to our valued and generous donors, without whom we would not exist.

Like most volunteers, Tom is also a customer, and is happy to buy his treasures at the Thrift Shops for Nova West Island. What you may not know is that, like all volunteers, he is not permitted to buy items until they are priced and on display for the public. Tom also pays the same price as all other customers. That’s only fair, right? This is especially true during half-price sales: volunteers must wait until the doors open for business before they are allowed to buy at fifty percent off. After all, why should Tom have special privileges to “steal away your treasures”?

Recently, a generous donor delivered a fabulous accordion to the Ste. Anne de Bellevue thrift shop. We were overjoyed and priced the wonderful instrument at five hundred dollars–truly a fraction of its value.

One Sunday in May, an elderly gentleman who had learned to play the accordion as a teenager, saw the treasure in our shop and graciously played us some tunes. What a treat–for us and for him! He knew the quality and value of the instrument and decided he would like to have it. He also wisely calculated that if he waited until the half-price sale, he would pay only two hundred and fifty dollars. So he decided to wait.

Step in Tom.

Tom wisely calculated that, if the accordion sold at half-price, the Thrift Shops for Nova West Island would be losing two hundred and fifty dollars–valuable funds that would otherwise go to Nova West Island’s health care services. Tom refused to sit back and watch that happen. So, on the Friday before the half-price sale, he arrived with his five hundred dollars and purchased the accordion.

You can imagine how disappointed our elderly gentleman was when he arrived bright and early the next morning and saw that his treasure was gone! He was told that it had sold on Friday at full price. In fact, he was so disappointed that he decided to get to the bottom of it. So he made some phone calls. He wanted to know who would buy “his” accordion almost right from under his nose. Who was this musician who would pay full price for something that he might have had at fifty percent off?

Well, little did he know that Tom was not a musician at all. In fact, Tom could not make any music with the accordion. But by his actions, he indeed stuck the right chord with our elderly musician.

Our resident accordion player tracked Tom down, met him at the Thrift Shops for Nova West Island and respectfully persuaded him to sell the instrument to him–at full price. Then he visited us with his five hundred dollars, told us some wonderful stories, played us some lovely tunes, and thanked Tom for making the choice to do the right thing.

Such harmony!


About Audie Jean

I love volunteering for Thrift Shops for Nova West Island. I also spend a lot of time taking photos, making greeting cards, exploring on the computer, and doing all kinds of other things that stimulate learning. It is very important for me that I LEARN or DO something every day. I have a special fondness for milking cows, reading poetry, cutting grass, walking in the woods, chatting with my grandchildren, and much, much more. Life is indeed fun. Reach me at:
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1 Response to Striking the Right Chord

  1. Donna Bain says:

    This is so typically Tom! He has such a big heart and is one of those rare human beings who sees things clearly…..the first time around. Wonderful story.

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