Living with a Missed Opportunity

Originally my post was titled “Getting Over A Missed Opportunity,” but notice the change once I fully read all of our responses.

We’ve all been there. There was a chance to purchase, we talked ourselves out of it, and the missed opportunity haunts us. A fellow Snag commenter asks if we ever get over the nagging feeling of frustration, anger and other mixed emotions. Here’s each of our takes.


My missed item was a small dresser matching my Garrison hutch exactly. EXACTLY! The post was on Craigslist, and by the time I got to the ad a fair amount of time had passed. I think around four or five hours. In our market, things go pretty quickly when under-priced, and this dresser was only $40. So I assumed it was already sold. Then, I decided I had nowhere to put the dresser…even though there was a dresser-sized space in my dining room being taken up by a radio table. It would have been perfect and could have held all of my grandma tablecloths and various linens. Honestly, I was lazy and probably took a nap. Then called about twelve hours later. The guy was super nice and said someone was coming to pick it up in half an hour and it had sold an hour before. Curses.

Now I do want that little dresser pretty badly, but have been surviving without it for about a year. Have I gotten over it? Yes. Well, mostly. Now I’m quicker to call about a Craigslist item if I’m moderately interested. In order to help me through the many situations where I haven’t bought something and lived to regret it, I focus on the reason I didn’t buy it in the first place. I assume the dresser would have looked monstrous in the dining room. I assume it sold after about ten minutes on Craigslist. I also assure myself there are other matching dressers out there and I will be prepared to purchase it right away and know my maximum dollar amount. Now when I find it we will all celebrate!

Danish Modern Mid Century China Hutch (NW Okc) for $500

Here’s my hutch. Well, not my exact hutch. Now picture an adorable dresser styled the same. Then kick yourself for not buying it.


What do I regret not hauling home? The Art Nouveau print by artist Alphones Mucha. I missed out by seconds. I stood and watched a lady purchase it right in front of me. I still think maybe, just maybe she would have sold it to me if I would have stalked her at the flea market and asked her if she would take double what she had just paid for it. It sounds a bit crazy, but I really wanted it and she did say to me she had no clue where she was going to put it—in a not-so-friendly tone. How do I deal with my loss? I hunt for another one. I’d like to think that this old lady who bought MY picture has a booth at a flea market somewhere and I am going to find it again. Is this coping with my loss?

I also still regret not buying a box full of early 1980s Transformers for my boys. They would have been great stocking stuffers. The whole box was priced under $5.00. I’m pretty sure I lost some sleep over this box of toys. How do I deal? I tell myself they wouldn’t have played with them long or they would have broke them. My best tip I can share is, if you have something in your hands you are thinking about buying, don’t put it down until you are sure you will not be crushed if someone else walks off with it. Also surround yourself with friends who know your likes and may force you buy something they know you will regret leaving behind. So I guess my coping is to just keep hunting. This post is making me a bit sad, so I’m going to start thinking about the crazy-fun garage sale season that is soon going to start. Yah!!!


After 20+ years of collecting, there have been so many “shoulda got that” moments that I can’t even remember most of them. But one I clearly remember is a regrettable decision that will undoubtedly haunt me the rest of my days. About 9 years ago at a garage sale, I made my way to the back of the dark garage of a 1960s ranch-style house. In the dim light I made out an interesting sofa. One identical to this…


“How much?”

“I’d have to have $50.”


And I walked away.

That’s right, I walked away from an Adrian Pearsall sofa designed for Craft Associates. For $50. $50?! KICK! KICK! KICK! What could I have possibly been thinking? At the time I was still in college and I had no space for this 9-foot monster. I knew my parents were already storing two mid-century sofas that I had bought previously and I suspected they wouldn’t be thrilled at the idea of driving 100 miles to pick up a third. And that was it. I walked away.

I was much less experienced and much less educated about mid-century design back then. The market was softer and I thought the supply was endless. But over time, the reality of what I had done began to develop in my mind like a photograph of a gory train accident. What could have been one of the greatest snags of my snagging career, I simply walked away from. I’ve fantasized about finding the house and checking to see if its still out in the garage by some freak chance nearly a decade later. I’ve even tried to rationalize it. It was probably broken. It probably needed new upholstery. Maybe it was a knock-off? But in the end, there is no way to rationalize it. It was simply the best chance I never took.

While this one that got away will always leave a sore spot in my heart, I use it for motivation. When it comes to collecting, sometimes you have to be impractical and impulsive. In the end, it’s easier to get rid of a purchase you regret making than it is to live with the regret of a purchase you wish you had made.


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  1. Susie
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi snag team!!!

    Ive been so busy this past month and am now catching up on your posts. Oh, thank you so much Angela for deciding to do a follow up post on regretful lost opportunities. Yep, I definitely can relate to all your responses (ouch Austin) especially in regards to my loss of the vinyl chairs and table set :(. I too went through all those feelings…trying to make myself feel better about my loss, which didn’t work very well, I was VERY upset. I guess though now I can look back since its been a little while, and say time and being extremely busy took my mind off it, but like you all basically said, there’s still a looking back to a what could have been. Theres definetly a wound left on me from my inaction…so hopefully I’ve learned my lesson. Thanks again for this post and its reassuring that others have had similar experiences.


    • Angela
      Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely Susie! It brought up a good point that we curse about in private, but helpful to let other people know they will get through it 🙂

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