I can’t say I was sorry to have missed last week’s pitiful day of sales, but with the weather great all week I was stoked to go out last Saturday. Previous guest star Tokyo Rose was coming along and it was gonna be great … right? Shockingly, there were grey clouds and even hints of drizzle in the morning, but they never materialized into any yard-sale-halting type of weather.
One of the first sales we hit had sounded like it could be good, mentioning vintage items and the ever-enticing “years of accumulation.” When we got there it was really strange. Someone obviously collected (hoarded) things for years and you got the feeling they were finally cleaning out the basement. One of the first thing we noticed was this box of doll heads.
There were some items that were not only strange, but appeared in alarming quantities, like these tiny toy hot dogs (next to several sealed packages of socks).
By far my favorite thing here was a box of old Rolling Stone magazines. Not usually all that remarkable, but when they’ve been drawn on like this, it really takes it to a whole new level.
We stopped at a few more sales that were okay, but nothing special. At one Meghan did snag an amazing vintage shower curtain for $2 and I picked up a couple of purses that are cool, but I’m already questioning if I am really ever going to use them. We made a stop for coffee and baked goods, then started heading to a sale advertised by a huge number of cardboard signs. For some reason I had a bad feeling and when we got there, we were horrified to discover it was the pink and white house where we have been to not one, but two awful sales. Talk about sale ja vu of the worst kind!
Next we hit a school rummage sale. There was stuff inside the gym, and then various people had tables set up outside that were each run separately. One woman had some interesting books, then I noticed a closed box marked “Rummage Sale.” I opened it and started pulling out various smaller boxes with priced items. Of course I was hoping to be the first to discover untold wonders, but instead I was shocked to find this!
After determining there was nothing in there I wanted, I moved on to the rest of her stuff. All of a sudden I heard her start sputtering about the nerve of people. I turned and she was putting everything back in the box, going off about how she couldn’t believe some people and blah blah blah … Really, if you don’t want people to look in a box at your sale, don’t put it out!
There was an estate sale nearby and it didn’t sound great, but since we were right there we checked it out. The basement had the usual crap, and then some not so usual crap, like this enormous painting.
Meghan came down from upstairs and said, “There’s this really crazy clown art in one of the bedrooms. You should check it out.” We later explained to Tokyo that although we’ve never formally discussed it, this was clearly a code word for “Go take a picture!” Sure enough, it was blogworthy in its awfulness.
We made a few more stops, unremarkable except for one where we pulled up and all three yelled “AAAAAAAAAAAAGH” in perfect (but unplanned) unison because of how bad it looked. Then we decided to go to the Seattle Repertory Theatre’s costume sale, even though we weren’t sure it would really be up our alley. On the way we saw a sign for a block sale that Karl had mentioned being good when he called us earlier in the day to salivate over the record score he’d just made. We decided to make a detour and check it out. It seemed to be right near the huge multi-block sale we’d been to last year, but we didn’t recognize anything and thought maybe it was a different street nearby. Around five blocks in Meghan exclaimed, “This is where all the beakers were last year!” It was the same street after all, but last year we’d started at close to the midpoint of this year’s sale. It went on for at least a dozen blocks.
Neighborhood sales can be questionable since a lot of time it’s people who really shouldn’t be having a sale, but just threw some stuff together since it was happening anyway. But the sheer number of sales in one location is always appealing. There was a definite hodge-podge of stuff — lots of the usual unexciting baby and Pottery Barn type items, but some decent stuff too. And even in this classy little enclave, there was plenty of trash.
This jacket was mixed in with some clothing that was actually okay. Meghan grabbed a few things, but the woman selling the items was nowhere to be found, and nothing was priced. Finally she appeared and we asked how much. The woman started talking about how she paid $120 for this item, and … I think that was all Meghan had to hear before putting the whole pile down and just walking away. A few houses later she found the score of the day: a bottle cap man for $2! She did admit that her boyfriend might not be all that excited to have yet another one of these move into their home, but she was pretty stoked.
As we made it towards the end of the street we recognized quite a few sales from last year. These people had made their own custom sign for the occasion and were super friendly, but had nothing we wanted.
Another guy had a huge amount of cassette tapes — probably over 100, both pre-recorded and homemade. Some of the mix tapes had crazy titles and handmade covers and I told Meghan that if she still had a tape player in her car I would be buying them and making her play them (in the hopes of finding a new yard sale theme tape, a la Spankin’ the Funky Spunk Munky from days gone by.) Although better judgment dictates that I really never need to buy any cassette tapes ever again, I couldn’t help picking up a few … I mean, Ciccone Youth on tape? How can you turn that down? Another girl nearby was grabbing a few and asked the seller how much. He said it was $5 if you filled a whole case (probably 40 tapes), $3 for a smaller box. “How about 4 for a buck?” the girl asked. “I tell you what, if you fill this travel case, two bucks.” The case probably held 15 tapes. It was the odd situation where you were forced to buy more in order to pay less — strangely logical when the important thing is having as little as possible left over at the end of the day. We decided to join forces and together managed to snag enough tapes to fill it up, pitching in a dollar each.
The last sale that we stopped at here had tons of great vintage shoes … priced from around $90 up to $350! People are on crack. Meghan asked them if they had sold many shoes, and they said no. Then they revealed that they owned an (overpriced) local vintage store and that the marked prices weren’t what they were asking today, “although they’re worth that much.” Uh, whatever.
We got back in the car and headed off toward the costume sale … but wait! Signs for an estate sale beckoned. The house was enormous, with an incredible view. I noticed that there were some elephant sculptures in the front room. Then some stuffed elephants. A few elephant wall hangings. Okay, someone liked elephants.
Then I spotted a 1984 Republican Convention mug, a Reagan-Bush yard sign, a commemorative inauguration tote bag …
Oh. Those are Republican elephants.
But it wasn’t all political stuff. Oh no.
Wait, what’s that in the corner? Why, it’s a Gemstone Calculator! (Meghan carried this all through the house just so I could …. “check it out.”)
Really, it was one of those estate sales that made you want to get rid of half the stuff in your house. There were cleaning supplies dating back to the Reagan era, buckets of pens, and mountains of Amway products. Meghan was thrilled to find a koala notepad, probably 30 years old, which she plans to use for notes at work (much to the envy of her office-mates, we’re sure).
We passed through the kitchen one more time on our way out. “What’s that?” Meghan asked, pulling out a drawer. It turned out to be a built-in toaster! We both couldn’t believe it and I got the camera out, then heard a huge THUNK as Meghan pulled it out … all the way out. I really questioned whether we’d be able to get it back in right, but after a minute or so of trying (accompanied by our semi-embarrassed laughter) I managed to put it back.
Finally, we made it over to the costume sale.
We were directed through a mazelike backstage passage to the sale … which was being held on the stage itself. Sadly, most of the cheaper items had been cleaned out. All that was left was the most boring regular clothes, which I guess had been used for boring regular characters in some play or another. We did get to see some of the fancier items which were part of an ongoing silent auction. Not anything I needed to bid on, but they were kind of cool to see.
It was a long day and I really didn’t buy all that much, but between the three of us the trunk got reasonably filled …