Whew, at least they aren't bikes! (cool site)
The woman who offered her Free Spirit for $50 dollars probably had kept the bike in good condition. My experience has been that women keep their bikes in much better shape and don't beat their bikes to death like men.
Also, the Free Spirit was not much different in terms of parts than his Schwinn. Even the bike he lusted after weighed about the same as his Sprint
Someone once told me about a 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T that was rotting under a tarp in someone's driveway. I asked a friend who lived in the neighborhood about it, and he confirmed he had seen the car, and offered to buy it several times. The owner always sent him away, telling him something about shooting trespassers.
I decided to see for myself. The car was there. I knocked on the door, and a man answered. I asked him if the car was for sale. He said "Yes, but I'm asking a lot of money for it."
"How much?" I asked. "$600" he said.
I took some money out of my wallet, "will you take $500?" He took it. A few gallons of gas, some air in the tires, and a new battery, and I drove it home. Other than a bit of faded paint and a slippery clutch, it was a great car.