While I was in the Midwest I was able to hit up some sales with an old friend and his sale partner in Omaha, Nebraska. Marc and Ron hit sales and auctions every weekend with a cast of characters that rival the pickers in Seattle.
A couple of things that set these two apart from me and Jenny is that they are both professional pickers and they start going to sales at 6:30 AM. The first time we went out was the day after I got there. The 6:30 wake-up call was a little harsh since it’s two hours later in Omaha and the thought of my body clock going to sales at 4:30 AM is even out of the realm of my obsessive compulsion for sales.
A few differences between sales in Omaha and Seattle: They have sales on Thursday & Friday. They have more auctions then we have. It’s not that uncommon for the entire contents of a house to be pulled outside and auctioned off.
Another oddball thing I noticed at the sales was the lack of women. There really aren’t very many females who hit the sales early. In most cases I was the only one there.
So, the overall plan for sales in Omaha is this: Look over all the sales in the paper (they don’t use craigslist) and work out the top three or four sales to go to. Narrow it down to the one sale to hit first, and be there two hours early to get numbers and/or be the first in line.
This works out well, except if the sale is really bad and you wasted an hour waiting in the car or on someone’s porch for a bad sale. They pass the time by talking about scores that other pickers found before them, or by teasing each other. The best line was Marc telling Ron that he needed Imodium for his mouth.
While waiting outside at one sale, they pulled this car onto the lawn and put up flags.
At another sale they had boxes and boxes of items sealed into box tops with tape around them. If you wanted one item you had to buy the whole box. It was sort of like the bags of jewelry you used to find at thrift stores. Marc said that Heartland Estate Sales was the only company that did this.
One of my favorite sales was an estate sale of a former Tangier Shriner and his wife.
It was a decent sized house and I purchased a really cool Tangier embroidered shirt and hat (instant Halloween costume for next year) and a group photo of some Shriners from the ’60s. They had a lot of other interesting items, too.
Some of the sales we hit just didn’t seem worth the time, but how great are the sales in any town in early November?