OK, I admit it. I’m a sucker for good deals. The ones most remembered by kin “near and dear,” however, are the lead-pipe cinches that turned to mush.

Exhibits “A” through “Z” could be provided.

In the interest of time and space, only a couple will be re-visited, one in the 50’s and the other a couple of decades later…

Readers of a certain age clearly recall Fess Parker’s movie, Davy Crockett. A Disney production, it was “ballyhooed” to the hilt, resurrecting interest in coonskin caps. Tons of them were sold, some for as much as five bucks each.

A couple of years later, I stumbled across a coonskin cap sale in the city. The marked-down price was 11 cents. Eyes spinning with dollar marks and with no clue that the rage for such headwear had run its course, I bought several dozen.

The plan was to turn a tidy profit back in my little hometown. Alas, my contemporaries already knew the fad was over. No caps were sold. Finally, they were used to warm newborns in the bunny hutches…

In 1971, I got a “tip” from a long-time friend who turned used car deals in my direction several times. “Round up as many of the new Eisenhower dollars as you can,” he suggested. “They’re going to mint them for just a few years.”

He convinced me that these silver dollars were bound to become “collectors’ items.”

I pestered bank tellers, and in a few weeks had $600 in the coins, necessitating an upgrade to a larger safe deposit box…

You can guess the rest. For the next 20 years, I kept paying extra for the deposit box, and the coins’ value remained unchanged at a buck apiece.

Had the $600 been placed in savings, cumulative simple interest would have swelled the figure to a couple of thousand dollars, even more when you throw in reduced charges for a smaller deposit box.

Only in recent years have I raised eyebrows when hot deals come along. As to gift horses, though, I never look them in the mouth, and I feel the same about bulls…

The recent phone call was from Frank Bull, a Waco electrical contractor. He has some popcorn boxes to give away; his pastor, Dr. Mike Toby, told him that I might be just the guy to take them off his hands. Dr. Toby, a longtime friend, knows that I’ve given away popcorn for some 40 years, and still do so at speaking gigs. (Across four decades, I’ve given away about 24 tons.)

Bull explained that most of boxes hold 3.2 ounces of corn and was quick to say that I could have the whole “kit and caboodle” for free.

“Would they fit in a car trunk?” I asked…

“They won’t fit in 50 car trunks,” Bull chuckled.

He emphasized that the boxes are “like new,” in unopened cartons. And the total number of containers is almost 100,000 (includes a few thousand for pickles).

I asked why an electrical contractor would need popcorn boxes to begin with. “We bought a building, the previous owner left them there, and I just can’t bear to throw them away,” Bull said. (I’d be the same way, unable to watch $10,000 worth of boxes go up in smoke)…

I started craw-fishing. Why, my wife had expressed unhappiness a few days earlier when she scoured the garage for a spot to store 10,000 new popcorn bags ordered in November. At this point, there’s still room for one car.

Storing another 100,000 containers, free or not, would result in demoting both of our cars to the driveway. On top of that, I’d need to live another 100 years or so to need this number of bags at the rate I give away corn. (Reminds me of the guy sentenced to 400 years in prison. “I don’t know if I’ll live that long,” he whined. “Just do the best you can,” the judge answered)…

Maybe you or your organization takes care of concessions for some worthwhile cause.

If so, here’s a deal for you.

If you have need for popcorn boxes, send me an email or give me a call. I’ll put you in touch with a guy who just can’t bear to throw them away.

All you have to do is transport them from Waco. Bring a truck, or 50-plus cars with empty trunks…

Don Newbury is a speaker and author whose weekly column appears in 125 newspapers in six states. He welcomes comments and inquiries. Call him at (817) 447-3872, or send e-mail to newbury@speakerdoc.com His Web site is www.speakerdoc.com.