Since I was in San Francisco for the weekend, I had thought I would be able to get to a few stoop sales or at the very least the huge Alameda Swap Meet on Sunday. Due to some late night drinking and lack of organization we couldn’t get up and moving to do either of these things.
SF does have a huge amount of what I like to call “crazy-homeless-person-on-crack selling-dumpster-dive-items on-the-most-filthy-corner-of-the Mission” sales – I saw many of these, but didn’t take the time to peruse their wares.
So instead of going to the Alameda Swap we went to Urban Ore in Berkeley. Urban Ore is similar to Seattle Re-store and has many of the same items: doors, windows, sinks, toilets … the list goes on and on.
Where these two places differ is that Urban Ore is 4 or 5 times the size, and they pretty much have everything else too (clothing, art, furniture, books) along with tile, bricks, tools and many, many other items. Like old pharmacy signs.
The first thing that I saw (and would have purchased in a second) was a 1930’s or maybe 1940’s mint green metal cigarette machine. As a ex-smoker (and let me stress I was an avid smoker. I loved, loved, loved them and if I knew the world was ending tomorrow I would be at the corner store buying a pack), owning a cigarette machine would be like the next best thing to smoking. It was $350 and if I could have thought of a way to get it back to Seattle without breaking the bank (and my back) I would have bought it right then and there.
They have everything that you can imagine. Some of it is really cool and some of it feels like “the bins” in Portland. Some of it is just too crusty.
Did you need a tube for your TV? They have like 2,000 of them on a shelf.
What about a 78 RPM record?
What about an old tape dispenser?
My favorite thing that I saw was a church’s pulpit stored outside between the tile and old bathtubs.
For once I managed to not purchase anything (my suitcase was already past the breaking point), but I loved seeing the recycle movement taken to a whole new level.