We had originally planned to head back to the south side of Seattle on Saturday, so we could hit that neighborhood sale that we’d been way too early for last time around. But when I started looking at the sale listings to put together a plan, there were a ton of sales listed right in our neighborhood. I felt like it would just be stupid to head all the way across town for that one group sale and only a handful of others that looked decent. I mean, we are fully in yard sale season, the weather was great, and our neighborhood really does rock when it comes to people selling weird and cool stuff. Really, that’s kind of what it’s all about. So I consulted with Meghan and Karl and they agreed — we made a plan to meet extra early, at 8:00.
I had about 20 sales in our neighborhood listed, plus about 20 more further away. (I always have way more sales on our list than we could possibly hit. I think it’s like going to a buffet and taking more food than you can really eat.) The only damper on our morning was that due to some completely non-sale-related circumstances, Meghan was super stressed out … about as bad as I have ever seen her get. Karl and I shifted out of our usual shit-talking mode in order to try and smooth things over, but she was really upset. I even wondered if she would end up bailing out early, although I knew she would do whatever she could to make sure a bunch of b.s. didn’t ruin her saling time. So we forged ahead, making a quick stop for cash and then starting to move through the sales on our list.
I was really curious about one of our first stops because of their ad: there were some pictures of some interesting items there, and I actually recognized one photo of some crazy glam ball gowns … it was the exact same photo used in a recent post on Fresh Vintage! It boggled my mind that this seller was using photos of other people’s stuff to advertise her sale. And what are the odds that someone (me) would see her ad, and know where they came from … it was so strange.
Naturally, there were no hanging dresses at the sale, although she did have some intriguing items, like these crazy chairs.
I had to ask. “Hey, where are those dresses from your ad?” The seller just laughed, but I wasn’t going to let it go. “No, really, where are they?”
She shrugged. “Oh … I think they sold already.” Yeah, right! I then revealed that I recognized the photos from Fresh Vintage and she said, “Yeah, that was just a joke.” I didn’t even know what to make of this response. I might have continued to harass her, but I was starting to get interested in her stuff. I asked the price of a great ’50s dress, and she said it was a dollar. My thrill at a cheap score outweighed my sense of moral justice, so I just dropped it.
Meghan also picked up a pile of cool stuff, then attempted to pay with a twenty, and the seller had no change. She seemed baffled by this, like it hadn’t ever occurred to her that she might need to make change. Between the two of us we managed to scrape up $6 in small bills, which she was happy to accept as payment for our $8 worth of stuff.
We hit one sale with a ton of cheap books and Meghan filled up a whole box (possibly attempting to shop away the pain … though to be fair, she got good stuff). None of her purchases, however, were from this box.
Then we hit a sale with ten cent records, which made Karl rather happy. He got a stack and said he was tempted to buy all of them, but figured he’d leave some for someone else to get excited about. This apparently granted him some big score karma at the next sale. As we pulled up he groaned, “Oh, man, there are two record squirrels I know going through the boxes …” and figured they had already picked up anything worthy. We all fanned out to different areas and when we walked away, he had managed to pick up a few records. I noticed he looked a bit flushed. He then excitedly showed us a rather nondescript looking record that he’d pulled out of the boxes — the ones that those guys had already looked through. You couldn’t really tell what the hell it was if you didn’t know, but I guess it was a rare bootleg that typically sells for hundreds of dollars. One of the guys had seen him grab it and asked, “Hey, what is that, anyway?” Karl just said “Uh, I really don’t know for sure,” saving his crazed gloating and freaking out until we were driving away.
We decided to backtrack a little to get some coffee and snacks (on Karl!) so I directed us to a few sales along the way. There was an estate sale which had just opened up that didn’t sound all that interesting, plus I didn’t know if it was going to have a line or what, so I didn’t really have high hopes. When we walked in, it looked pretty bland. Then I heard Meghan call out from a hallway, “Hey Jenny … can you get me a box?” She had unearthed a stash of ’80s boots and shoes in pristine condition. She then went on to find piles of amazing clothes, priced at 50 cents each. Vintage slips, dresses, shirts, a fur hat … there were some great things in there. Meghan ended up spending about $36 for two boxes of amazing stuff plus some lawn chairs. Her stress was completely blown away. Karl also picked up some dishes and a few other items. I picked up a few rolls of cute vintage wrapping paper out of the free box, but didn’t buy anything.
It was not even 9:30 and we had to go do a drop-off to empty out the car. Keep in mind that the back seat was pretty packed as well (and as is usually with the case with the fuller trunk photos, you can’t even see most of the good stuff.)
The sales had already been amazing, but if you are paying close attention you might notice that I have hardly mentioned buying anything. The hauls were made by Meghan and Karl, not me. But this didn’t put a damper on my day at all. I’ve scored more on other days, but I still felt like this was one of the best mornings ever. Rather than being jealous, I was thrilled to live vicariously through the stuff Meghan and Karl were picking up. I guess right now I just only want to buy something for myself if it’s really compelling, and I don’t have the energy or motivation to do a lot of resale, so I was being pretty selective. I was still feeling the happy score vibe though, kind of like getting a contact high off of their sale-induced euphoria.
We made our coffee stop and then circled back around to a bunch of sales that hadn’t been advertised, but had signs up. We stopped at one sale which we thought had almost nothing, but it turned out to have a ton of stuff around the back. There was a box full of vintage stockings (mostly ’80s, but I did grab one ’60s box of brightly-colored ones) and a tub full of crazy legwarmers and dance outfits that we were all fascinated by. Most of the stuff was bad, though … like this.
At another stop I heard Karl declare that there was “a surprisingly large assortment of Todd Rundgren records!” He grabbed one of them, and then we started digging through a huge box of old buttons and pins. The more we dug, the funnier they got. Here’s a selection of our favorites. (It’s hard to make out in the picture, but the green one reads “You Smoke, I’ll Fart.”)
We were laughing for quite a while afterwards about the one that read “I Survived the Wind Storm at the Fun Forest ’93 Seattle Center.” None of us could remember any notable wind storm happening in 1993. And I actually pondered how odd it was that there was a wind storm there, then someone must have made the buttons after the fact, and how would the people who were there even end up buying them … we were just cracking up at how dumb this was. Then I did a quick search and found there was a roller coaster called the Windstorm that launched at the Fun Forest (an amusement park type area at the Seattle Center) in 1993. It’s actually still there. Duh.
We saw this assortment of games at one sale. I am sure these could have led to countless hours of fun, but we passed.
At another sale we spotted this item. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is.
I considered buying it, but when I opened the box I was disturbed by how horrifyingly clinical-looking it was. Besides, I think it falls into the same “kind of fascinating, but you really just need a picture” category as Super Boobs. The weirdest thing was that this item (along with a couple of rather prominently displayed erotica books) was at a sale where a very nice ten-year-old girl was in charge of taking the money. Which really just seemed kind of wrong.
We hadn’t even made it to all of the sales on our list, but we decided it was time to head across town to go to a sale held by a roller derby friend of Meghan’s who was moving out of the state. By this time it was really pretty scorchingly hot. When we got there, the ladies were relaxing in a nice shaded area. They still had tons of stuff, including these tidy stacks of pretty decent books.
I picked up a couple of books, and tried to make Karl buy this Ewok mug. (At least I am taking someone else’s word that it’s an Ewok. I didn’t know what the hell it was.)
It was getting to be time to head home, but there was one other sale a little further out that I was really curious to hit, since their ad had proclaimed they were “estate/yard sale junkies” who were more interested in clearing out stuff than making money. Which sounded just like our sales! On the way there, we spotted some signs and made a turn … right into two of the worst sales ever.
They were both bad, and after a quick look we all piled into the car. Then the seller from one walked over to us. “Did you see my cake cover?” she asked, jutting her head back towards her sale. “It’s from the sixties.” We were all a little freaked out that she was actually trying to talk us into buying stuff while we were already in the car ready to leave. As well as by the insane amount of white cat hair that was strewn all over her black shirt. (I’m not talking your everyday “yes, I have a white pet” amount of hair. It was almost like it was her fur.) I don’t know why she fixated on the cake cover as the item that we must obviously have to have. We acknowledged that we’d seen it, it was great, but um … no thanks. And then we got the hell out of there.
The estate sale junkies sale had some good stuff, and we knew it must have been a great sale earlier in the day. Karl and Meghan both picked up some cool items at greatly reduced prices, and we all sat on an adorable and surprisingly comfortable vintage daybed, which needed some work but was a steal at $10. But none of us had the means or motivation to deal with getting it home (let alone room for it), so we left it behind.
By the time we got back, the trunk was pretty darn full again. It was a two-bagger!
And yet, my purchases were so few that I could get them all over to my car in one trip. Which is really, truly okay.