Thing 1:A pile of awesome.
You really can’t judge a sale by its ad or even by a drive-by. It being the dead of winter, I will go to any sale that is happening. The first sale on my list was a moving sale that had the benefit of being near my house. During the month of May, I never would have bothered going to it, because I would be too busy going to huge church sales instead. And if I had just driven by it, I probably would not have stopped, because the house was in a nice neighborhood full of houses that looked just like it. The people who live in those kinds of houses don’t usually have the sort of thing that I’m looking for.
But I stopped, because it’s January. For the most part, my preconceptions were absolutely right. The sale consisted of a lot of expensive clothes and various decorations from the Pottery Barn of three years ago. But then I found the pile of vintage Snoopy children’s clothes. My trained eye caught sight of the top item, and as I kept digging, more vintage cuteness kept appearing. They were all too freakin’ adorable for words.
In the end, I picked out only two items to send to my sister’s kids. The lady wanted $1 apiece for them, which seems a bit high for children’s clothes. I could have offered $5 for the whole pile, but what was I going to do with them? In this case, “vintage” also meant “stained,” and my sister is not as excited by old things as I am. I see stains as badges of authenticity, but she’s more likely to see them as spaghetti sauce from twenty years ago. So I picked out the two cleanest and most normal items. As I was leaving, I noticed another woman who was enthusiastically pawing through the pile, so hopefully the other little outfits will find a home where they are loved.
Anyway, the point is, even the most cookie-cutter of houses sometimes has a pile of awesome in the corner.
Thing 2: A risky gamble.
Half of the sales I visited yesterday were estate sales. One of the nice things about these kinds of sales is that prices are uniformly slashed in half at some point. I was there at 10:30 and saw something I that I wanted – a cast iron Dutch oven with a handle that you could use to hang the pot over a campfire. It was $10, which seemed a bit high. After much deliberation, I decided that I would come back at noon, when everything would be half off.
That’s a risky gamble, of course. Someone might come in the interim and buy it. I had paid $8 for a Cousances Dutch oven a couple of years ago, rather than wait for the half-off sale, and I’ve never regretted it. Then again, I had known at the time that name-brand Dutch ovens like that one ran about $150. I’d also been looking for one for a while, whereas I had no immediate use for this campfire one.
I guess the fact that I’m not posting a picture here tells the story. I got back to the sale at noon on the dot, and the pot was gone. C’est la vie.
Thing 3: Just looking.
I have always loved shopping, which is one of the few womanly-type things that does come naturally to me. Other women who love shopping tell me that their love of shopping is different than mine because they go to Kohls or whatever. I say that it is no different, except that maybe my way is awesomer. One might argue that a love of shopping is a love of spending, and that is probably true to a certain point (or at the very least, a love of acquiring). But there is fun to be found in just looking, and that is one way that the awesomeness of my kind of shopping really stands out.
I present to you:
I did not buy this. Not because I don’t think it was worth $1500, but because I really shouldn’t be spending that much on useless things, even though I probably could have gotten the price down, and I know just the spot in my house for it. The owners bought it half a century ago from the Sir Walter Raleigh hotel. Sometimes it’s worth going to the sales just to see what’s hanging out in someone’s garage.