Saturday, January 14, 2012

And to think I almost didn’t go out!

When I do my “Shopping on Driveways” workshop, one of the things I tell people is that to find great deals, you have to keep showing up. Okay, that’s true for lots of things, including writing. And there are people who seem to have the kind of luck that if they only go to one sale a year, they find everything they were looking for. But for most of us, luck is in persistence.

Which is probably what got me out of the house this morning. Even the Queen of Fifty Cents weakens when faced with gray skies, cold wind and the forecast of snow outside vs. a warm snuggly puppy inside. But hey, my husband really needed a warm snuggly (okay, make that wiggly) puppy to keep him company for a bit, so I made my list of sales, grabbed Gertrude Pemberton Smith (my GPS) and headed out.

A lady was leaving the first sale as I arrived and stopped on the sidewalk, clutching her estate-sale wok, and said hello. Then she said, “Um, I hope this doesn’t seem too weird, but are you the person who writes the Queen of Fifty Cents blog?”

Now, this is the kind of moment you dream of…a stranger recognizes you on the street from your blog! Maybe it happens thousands of times a day somewhere in the world. But I bet not.

So I agreed that I was, and she went on to introduce herself and say that she works at the Salem Library, and one of her colleagues is the person we bought our house from a couple of years ago who had told her about my blog. (Hi, Robin & Ann!) She said she recognized me from my picture on my blog and that she’s good at remembering names and faces. (How I envy that!) Not only that, my next-door-neighbor is her hairdresser. Salem is not a really large town!

We had a nice chat. She mentioned that her husband is usually the one who goes to sales but he was doing something else, then a few minutes later she noticed a guy coming up the sidewalk. “There’s my husband now,” she said, so I got to meet him too. His thing is to buy air conditioners at sales and refurbish them to resell. She’d already scoped out the one at this sale and we all thought the price was silly.

I was a little afraid that everything inside would be equally overpriced, but was glad to see things marked ten cents and a quarter. Not anything I wanted, unfortunately – until I reached a sunroom at the back of the house. Where I found (drum roll) puppy gates! Two of them! For…a quarter each!!


They need some cleaning up, but I know they are going to come in awfully handy while our little Zoe is in the not-yet-housebroken-and chewing-on-everything stage.

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I jury-rigged some barriers to keep her in the kitchen

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where the floors are tile and there are no cords to chew on. She’s learned to wiggle out of any gap she spies, so actual gates are going to be great. And fifty cents worth of gates is best of all.

That wasn’t my only score. Picked up a dog brush for Edward (Zoe’s grooming needs are going to be minimal)


and a pair of waterproof Gore-Tex Nikes for me.

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After I paid, I noticed a box with odds and ends which turned out to be free. So I scored these.

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On the way home I realized that now I have a new collection. You know how they say if you have three of something you’ve started a collection? This is my Little Red Wooden People Collection, along with my walking Pinocchio from a few weeks ago.


Total outlay: two bucks. 2012 is off to a good start!



  1. Sounds like a pretty good day! pretty gloomy down here, so was a good thing I went out yesterday! no big fantastic scores, in fact very few yard sales on Friday! Today I stayed home and piled rocks for a new flowerbed.

  2. Love that cute puppy! My puppy is 2, but those puppy chewing memories are fresh! Baby gates worked great for us too. Super deals!

  3. We have a house full of baby gates we use for our Scotties. When my daughter and her boyfriend got their Scottie puppy, they asked me to search out baby gates for their house. I don't think I ever paid as little as a quarter, though. You got great buys on them!

  4. So excellent when you find exactly what you need.

    Hey, you're a celebrity! Stopped and asked if you're the QoFC? Fame! xx

  5. You sure are the queen of yard sales etc.
    We have poodles and we have gates to so when we are gone they stay in their beds nice and warm and their is a pee pad theri too. Theya are so good it is never used.
    I bought my 2 gates for $1.oo a pieice you did better than me, you go girle and FREE those little people you are collecting now are awesome, amd you are FAMOUS!!That was so sweet , see they love and read your blog!


  6. Great buy on the gates. I think it is cool that you were recognized. You are pulling at the strings of my heart with the pictures of Zoe and Edward but we are still not ready.

  7. I love the little wooden doll with the bucket in her hand - very sweet. Nice find with the dog gates too. It's always fabulous to find something you really need when out thrifting.

  8. I love the little red people! Its so great to find stuff that you actually need at sales. Imagine how much you saved over the cost of buying those gates new at a store! Good job!! Also, your pup is SO CUTE!

  9. Love your new collection of little red people. I have never seen those before, but I would collect them if I found them. Great start to the new year.
    Karen G


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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