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Columnists

Greek-American Stories: A Win-Win Situation

May 18, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

The subject at Dixon’s was about the church having sent out flyers for lightly used or unwanted clothing. “I have a couple of sweaters and a pair of shoes,” John told the others. Dimos announced that he’d take whatever they had and volunteered to drive everything to the church when they were ready. Kipreos quickly told them that he had a raincoat, adding, “Do you think they’d accept a shirt with an oil stain on it?” Dimos nodded. “Why not? They’re having everything dry cleaned, repaired and hand pressed before and ready for the sale; all like new.” George added, “My wife bought a leather purse that sold in a store for three times the price and a woolen jacket that was worth about $75 in a downtown department store but bought it at church for $5.00. Now, that was a real bargain. It’s her favorite.” Reaching out for a donut with the sprinkles, Yiannis’s hand stopped in mid air. “Five dollars?”

Kipreos told them about a nylon jacket with a zipper he’d bought last year. “I saw the same jacket for $25, and I bought it for $4 at the church sale. It’s a steal!” Yiannis’s head snapped up. “They dry clean everything?” Dimos assured. “Like new! They’re very careful about that. The store next to my diner is a dry cleaners and they offer free, to do the cleaning once a year. So, I can tell you it’s guaranteed clean.” Then, he asked Yiannis, “Do you have anything to contribute this year?” Setting down his coffee cup he gave it long thought. “You know? I have a suit that could go to church. I’ll bring it round to the diner tomorrow.”

George quipped, “Did it come over on the Mayflower?”  Yiannis scowled, “It’s only ten years old. I wore it to my daughter’s engagement.” So, it was that Dimos toted a load of clothes in his van and headed for the church. There he unloaded everything and left. The day of the church sale arrived and the basement of the church was loaded with used clothing, shoes, and other items that were lined up for the sale.

That next Sunday, the guys all met, got their coffees and sat down. They noticed Yiannis heading for the coffee stand. As he was filling his cup, George wondered about the suit he was wearing. “Isn’t that the suit Yiannis contributed to the church sale? Or, is it something that looks like it?” Dimos studied the suit carefully, before ruminating over the similarity. “Could be, but…” Kipreos was more definite. “Oh, that’s the suit, alright. But, I remember it had a button missing. That one has all its buttons.” When Yiannis sat down after greeting everyone he reached for a donut and asked, “What’s new?”

George couldn’t leave it alone. “Not your suit, I think. Isn’t that the suit you contributed for the church sale?” Nonchalantly, Yiannis nodded in agreement. “It’s the very same.” Dimos asked, “How come you’re wearing it if you contributed it?” John asked, accusingly. “Did you take it back after we left?”  Yiannis grinned, taking another bite and sipping his coffee. “Would I do such a thing?” George, about to respond, was cut off. “I bought it at the church sale.” responded Yiannis, savoring the sprinkles with delight. “I decided to do two good deeds for our church. First, with my good heart, I contributed my good suit and was thanked by our good father. Then I went and bought it as my generous contribution towards the church sale.” George, suspicious at Yiannis’ ulterior motivations tried to figure out how the transaction was two charitable acts. Noticing their confusion, Yiannis explained. “You see, the cleaners wanted eight dollars to clean my suit. But, by contributing it to church it got cleaned and pressed and I bought it back all ready to wear, the missing button replaced, for three dollars.” He grinned. “The cleaners would have charged me an extra dollar for the missing button.” Bending forwards, he said confidentially, “Maybe, charge me for replacing all the buttons. That would be four whole dollars!” Leaning back in complete satisfaction, he said, “It’s called a win-win situation.”

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