I spent last weekend in Northern California visiting my family — great timing, since the town of Point Richmond has their annual garage sale day on Memorial Day.
I’m not sure how long they have been doing this, but the first time I went was in 1993 or 1994, so it’s been a while. My parents and sisters try to go every year and usually find good stuff, so I was pretty happy to get to go for the first time in ages! We agreed to meet up at 9:00 near the “main event” out in front of the Masquers Playhouse.
Approaching from down the street you could see there was tons of stuff. It was only when I got a little closer that I could really witness the chaos of people digging into unopened boxes — putting the “rummage” into “rummage sale”!
Yes, it can be a thrill when you know you’re gonna be the first person to look at stuff, but it didn’t seem like anything was that great … so we avoided jumping wildly into the fray.
Instead, after a quick look around the perimeter (and a nice fresh donut) we meandered on to check out the other tables set up nearby. Maps were being sold for a quarter, which might explain why this one was being guarded.
The stuff ranged from antique-y and fancy …
… to random and odd.
None of us found much of anything, so we walked up a hill into the residential area. Lots of sales were happening and I remembered some spots where I’d scored in previous years, but we were striking out all over. Between this and Meghan’s Phinney experience last week, I was starting to wonder: after a place does community-wide sales for years and years, do they eventually just run out of good stuff?
After a quick “tea and pee” stop, we split up – some called it a day and went home while the rest of us forged boldly ahead. I drove up to a church sale and dropped everyone off while I looked for parking. It was a traffic jam from hell as people tried to worm their way through streets barely wide enough for one car. I finally parked two blocks away and passed this box on the way back to the sale. Whatever had been free was already long gone.
We consulted the map and headed further uphill, away from the center of town. Most of the stuff was just typical boring household items and baby clothes. I laughed at this pairing of board games. Welcome to California!
And we all marveled at the oodles of ceramic poodles.
My mom had mentioned that there was a “new condo area” which had a parking lot full of tables last year and seemed to have fewer people hitting it, so we decided to check that out. The short drive over had gorgeous views of the bay, and sadly that was the best thing about our little excursion. This year it was three tables filled with a whole lot of nothing.
We backtracked through town and hit some sales we’d missed, then felt like maybe our day was done. But wait! Driving back through we spotted this display on a hillside.
You may have noticed that I can’t resist taking pictures of mannequins at sales, so that was enough to make me pull over. There was a lot of stuff, tending toward the junky and bizarre — promising! Plus, there were even more disheveled mannequins lounging around on a tabletop.
It was here I made my one purchase of the day: a Sirius satellite radio portable receiver that looked new and intact, priced at $25. The guy said it had belonged to a friend who had decided to move out of the country, and said it worked fine. I have sort of been wanting to do the Sirius thing, but wasn’t sure if there were going to be any hiccups getting a used one activated. When he said he’d take $20, I went for it. I haven’t determined whether this will turn out to be a total waste of money or an amazing score, but I figured I’d take a chance … especially since I hadn’t found anything else and was itching to buy something.
Other family members made a few purchases throughout the day — a Bodum teapot, a turntable, some outdoor seat cushions, and some plastic jewelry display hands — but it wasn’t exactly worth a trunk shot.
Next week, back to Seattle sales … are we due for some magic yet? Fingers crossed for some good scores heading our way!