Escaping the bad sale vortex

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 7 Comments

So, two weeks ago there were a ton of great sales, one week ago was kind of sparse. This last Saturday was in the middle, with a decent number of sales, but not as many as I’d really expect in the height of summer. We decided to get an early start and I was at Meghan’s a little before 8:00. As we headed out we noticed that the Ballard Eagles were already putting stuff outside for their sale that wasn’t supposed to start until 9:00.

Eagles sale (outside)

I jumped out of the car and asked if they were open and they said sure. It was great to get there way ahead of time, but unfortunately the stuff was mostly unexciting.

Eagles sale (inside)

Meghan found a few things and wasn’t sure if she would have enough cash, since we hadn’t stopped at the bank yet. She fished out a ten and the woman counting up her purchases said, “Okay, how about ten dollars?” Meghan paid it, but was a little perturbed wondering if that was really how much her stuff came to, or if the woman noticed she had a ten out and just went with it.

We then headed a little ways north to a sale I’d been curious about, since their ad promised tons of vintage fabric and clothes. They did have a lot, but most of it wasn’t really my style … a little too heavy on the country/cutesy. I did love this mannequin who beckoned everyone to the sale. I was tempted to buy it, but passed, which I half regret now.

I welcome you to the yard sale

Meghan got a shirt for a buck and I thought I might walk away empty handed, but at the last minute I spotted a five-dollar box full of vintage wrapping paper. I love this kind of stuff but have way too much of it, so I flipped through to see if it was worthy or not. When I got to the psychedelic girls, there was no question that it was coming home with me.

Wrapping paper galore

I also purchased a sealed package of Big Mama pantyhose for 25 cents. The packaging makes an awful big deal about how they are “Aerated,” going into an alarming level of detail about the specific types of problems that an aerated crotch will prevent. Anyway, they will go great with the other package of (non-aerated) Big Mama pantyhose lurking somewhere in my basement.

We headed back toward our normal stomping grounds and went to a multi-family sale that promised to have vintage and newer items. One of the sellers saw me taking a picture of this oddly sawed-off mannequin and joked about what might have happened to the rest of the body. (Unlike the mannequin at the last sale, I wasn’t at all tempted by this one.)

Sawed-off mannequin

I thought the cover of this bath pillow was pretty funny. I love how it makes a big deal about how it’s the “only 3-way bath pillow” because you can fill it with hot water, cold water, or air. That is some advanced bath pillow technology there, I guess.


We each picked up a couple of items, then moved on to another sale that sounded good. They had some amazing custom-built furniture, including one lovely wooden item priced at $1500 that I couldn’t quite figure out. Was it a table? A coat rack? Finally the seller revealed that it was … a sculpture.

I didn’t get a picture of the furniture because one of the sellers reacted a little strangely when she saw Meghan taking a picture of this table.

Geodes for sale

“Why did you take a picture of that?” she asked, sounding a little suspicious (or maybe just baffled). Meghan just rambled on about how it was unusual to see a table full of geodes, and that they looked cool, or something innocuous along those lines. She didn’t mention that she was documenting the fact that someone seriously expected people to wander up to their yard sale and drop up to $200 on one of these. (Or $1500 on a sculpture, for that matter.) I mean, I have no idea what that stuff goes for, but even if that’s a good deal, it’s probably not going to happen at your yard sale.

I did manage to sneak a picture of this odd item tucked away in the garage. The guy explained that he made a business trip to Las Vegas and for some reason, this was waiting in his hotel room.

Hef's Guide to Las Vegas

I think the company he worked with had some tangential connection to Hugh Hefner or Playboy or something like that. He seemed a bit embarrassed by it and it had obviously never even been unpacked. Who knows what else was lurking in that box!

Another sale that I’d been optimistic about was advertised as avid yard-salers getting rid of some of their finds. They must have been the people who buy all the other stuff at yard sales, because their sale was boring. The only interesting item was a hookah (oddly juxtaposed here with gun and foot spa) and it turned out it wasn’t even a previous yard sale purchase! The seller said that it had apparently been in their basement when they moved in and they finally decided to get rid of it.

Hookah and gun

So far the theme of the day seemed to be sales that sounded better than they actually were, and while we had each picked up a few things here and there, we weren’t really feeling the sale groove. The next couple of stops were more of the same. One had a bulletin board covered with printouts about the furniture they had for sale (mostly from Pottery Barn and the like, priced to reflect that), along with some overpriced clothes. The other was billed as an estate/moving sale and had meticulously labelled items at antique store prices, ranging from $20 pieces of mod fabric, to fine china, to this disturbingly freaky monkey toy.

Disturbingly freaky monkey toy

Meghan did score here with some fifty cent MAC cosmetics items. These are always worth picking up no matter the condition since you can turn in 6 packages for a free lipstick via their recycling program.

We then fell into some kind of vortex with one awful sale after another. Right when we would decide it was time to head to a different area, we’d see another sign and get suckered back in. I mean, how could we not stop for signs like this?

Sale Sale Sale

Eventually we managed to break away to what we hoped would be a better area. We hit a couple of duds there too, and then went to an estate sale that we figured would be pretty picked over at that point. Turns out they had a ton of stuff left. There were some clothes on a rack inside with a sign reading “Clothes: 50 cents – $25.” This baffled me — with a range that big, why even bother? I think no sign would have been just as helpful.

Meghan headed out to the back yard while I got suckered into checking out the “book and holiday room,” which was a total bust. When I walked out back I could barely see Meghan underneath two of the poofiest light blue crinoline skirts I have ever seen. She was also carrying a pile of crazy vintage girls’ costumes, probably formerly used in baton twirling performances or the like. I heard her call out, “I’m gonna need a box!” Turns out all the clothes out back were a buck apiece. She spent about $30 and filled up a huge moving box that was too big to even go into the car, so we ended up emptying it all out into the trunk and giving them their box back.

We were stoked to finally hit a sale where at least one of us found more than a couple of good items. Then right around the corner we saw this sign, which looked exciting too! Unfortunately, it was only after driving down their lonely block that we figured out that the sale was on Sunday.

Collaged yard sale sign

We decided to end the day by heading up to the Half Price Books warehouse sale, where everything was going to be priced at $1 or less. It had started at 10, and we figured it would be way too crowded then, but by 11:30 it shouldn’t be so bad … right?

Book sale line

Wrong. The line was way longer than you can even see here, wrapping all the way up the block. Screw that!

(Meghan did end up there later that afternoon and e-mailed me, “I went to the sale at around 4:00. Still crazy, but you could walk right in. I bought 3 books. I saw some stupid ass woman scanning the CDs – IDIOT. Does she think that Half Price doesn’t look stuff up?”)

We were ready to call it quits, but we found one more sale on our way home. When we pulled up we were greeted by some of the more fascinating items we’d seen all day, including this huge traffic light.

Giant traffic light

They had fun stuff.

Holy table of cool crap!

And some sad stuff too.

Bag of stuffed animals

While I was browsing around I heard Meghan asking, “Is this the house with the bowling pin in the back yard?” I had no idea what she was was talking about, but the sellers said yes indeed it was. They said we could peek around the back and take a look, and we were greeted with this beauty. They had somehow acquired it after a bowling alley went out of business years ago. (Meghan had spotted it once while driving down the alley behind their house, and I think she just put two and two together between the location and the cool kitschy schlock they had for sale.)

Backyard bowling pin

I bought two old books from them for fifty cents each and was happy to end the day on a good note.

Junk In My Trunk 7-12-08

7 Responses to Escaping the bad sale vortex

  1. becky says:

    oh man, my mom wore those Big Mama pantyhose. (that must have been pretty embarrassing for her to have to buy pantyhose with such a horrible name.)

    The problem with buying cool wrapping paper and stationary (my weekness) is that I never feel any of my friends are “worthy” or will understand how cool this stuff is!

  2. Sara says:

    Nothing like an aerated crotch! šŸ™‚

  3. Ricky says:

    I want that Bowling sign! Any future yard sales I have will have large cocks on them. Or..Bumbleebee women with Lobster Claws. Did you hit that sale on Sunday?

  4. Diane says:

    I really enjoy your blog … and I’m so stressed that you didn’t buy that stuffed monkey. Keep up the great blogging – I really enjoy your commentary and seeing the things that folks are selling/buying. D.

  5. Maria says:

    That psychedelic girl wrapping paper is fantastic!

  6. Monica says:

    I am saling where you live it looks so much cooler!

  7. Pingback: Yard Sale Bloodbath » Throw it in the pile