Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tattoos, Warm Feet, and Purses

Saturday morning. Back in the car after perusing a sale with lots of stuff; I spent ten cents on a brand new linen towel from Germany.


As I waited for Gertrude Pemberton Smith, my GPS, to come to life and tell me where to go next, a guy (short red hair, bulging biceps with tattoos) walked across the street carrying his loot: a black leather jacket and a black purse. Just one of those slightly amusing sights you happen across. I continued on my way, and noticed a Garage Sale sign that wasn’t on my list for the day. Quick right turn, drive a couple more blocks, and oh good – parking right in front. A couple was leaving the sale, and the wife smiled at me and said, “Great day for a convertible!”

“As long as it’s not raining, the top is down,” I assured her. Another car pulled up and parked, and the guy that emerged and I smiled at each other and went up the driveway. The young guy having the sale looked a little confused. “You do sales in separate cars?” he asked. “Oh wait, you’re not together.”

That’s all we needed to start us off. We started kidding about being best friends and how long we’ve known each other. There wasn’t much merchandise in the garage, but I noticed that my new best friend headed straight for the purses. “Was that you I saw at the last sale with the black jacket and the purse?” He said it was, and I complimented him on the ensemble. By now we’d both finished looking around and headed back towards our cars. He kind of laughed and said, “EBay. I’ve kind of been selling purses on eBay.” Of course this got my attention, since I’ve sold a purse or three myself that way. I recommended he keep an eye out for Coach bags, as I’ve found those resell pretty well. He told me he’d been at a yard sale a while back and overheard some women commenting on the wonderful Coach bags for sale. Inspired by their enthusiasm, he bought one and resold it at more than double the price, and was hooked. So we stood in the street talking eBay for several minutes. I told him some of the things I’ve resold over the years, and we commiserated on the big chunk that goes to eBay for fees. I told him it’s important to keep good records for tax purposes, because even if you don’t make a lot of income that way it’s still income and one thing in life you really do NOT want to do is get the IRS mad at you. Besides, when you do your Schedule C at tax time, you can legitimately claim all your related expenses, like mileage when you’re out looking for merchandise to resell, and shipping, and all those fees. Had a very nice time talking. Okay, you know I love talking to anyone who lets me give advice! After a while he mentioned his name is Allen. I told him mine and said I’d probably be able to remember his because I have a brother named Allen. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said, “but my sister is named Sharon.” He also told me he’s a corrections officer and retired military. I told him any purses that don’t sell can be loaded with Stuff (you know, what we women drag around in our purses) and used as a defensive weapon. Man, some women carry around bags that weigh more than a two year old child. Swing one of those babies and damage can be done.

I expect I’ll see him around at other sales. If you’re garaging in Salem, keep your eye out. Muscles, upper arm tattoo, friendly. He’ll be looking at the purses.

Amazingly, I knocked three more items of my “watch for” list this weekend. The first was a small paper shredder. We have a big one down in my husband’s office, but I read recently that shredding all those junk credit card offers that come in the mail helps protect your identity. I’ve been in the habit of ripping them up into several pieces, but shredding definitely sounds better. And there it was at my first stop.


I think it’s actually designed for junk mail, since the slot is narrower than a sheet of paper. But all you have to do is fold a piece of paper to run it through, and any big shredding jobs can still go downstairs. (And into the compost bin when the shredder is full.) I didn’t notice the bonuses until I got it home. This baby will also slice open envelopes


and sharpen pencils! Not bad for two bucks.


And at the same sale I shelled out another couple of bucks for a gigantic box of the brand of kitty litter we use.


Their kitty died just after they bought this, at the age of 18. So we talked kitties a while.

Another sale in the same tract was just starting up when I arrived. A woman about my age and her mother were still putting prices on things, and I heard the mother say the name Sharon. I told her I was a Sharon too and we laughed about having a trendy name for the times. I picked up an interesting roll of Christmas garland…and then picked up the other four rolls because the price was right – twenty-five cents for all five!

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Across the garage I noticed a nice looking weight bench, which has been on my list for ages. (Put there by my husband, not me!) I knew he was on a conference call for a board he’s on, but I called home anyway. No answer. Tried again when I got back to the car. Nope. I didn’t want to buy it without consulting, knowing less than nothing about what to look for. Fortunately he got free from his conference and called me right back, so I started describing the set to him. It was kind of like being a simultaneous translator. He would ask me a question, I’d try to answer, the other Sharon would chime in with what she knew (which was every detail about the thing) and I would relay that back. It ended with my buying, and Steven arriving with tools a couple of hours later to take his new weight set home. So now we have a mini-gym downstairs in what is called the Playroom on the house plans.

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We moved the eliptical I found last year down to keep it company. So he’s all set, and I’m trying to convince myself how much fun I too can have with these toys in our Playroom.

My other good find of the day probably won’t be used for a few months, but when it’s time I know I’ll be really appreciative.


If these boots don’t keep my feet warm and dry at the dog park next winter (where we alternate between rock hard frozen ground and wet, wet, wet) I will give up the quest. Sorel boots, with serious felt liners.


Last used in the snow when they lived in Alaska. I will approach next winter with a laugh upon my lips in anticipation of toasty tootsies.


  1. Great buys! I only go to my favorite thrif store due to lack of time. I found a Simtex table cloth. It was new and in the box.

    1. You always find the best stuff in thrift stores!

  2. I actually found a brand new - not a scratch on it Coach purse this weekend at a yard sale for $10. I will likely resell it though as a bit too big for me. Great finds!

    1. Finding a Coach bag at a yard sale for a good price is one of life's real thrills! I love mine, especially the little brown Bonnie Cashion bag from the 60s that I found when I was visiting my sister in Oklahoma. The strap is getting a bit tatty, but it's hanging in there!

  3. What do you consider a good price at a yard sale on some of those leather purses? need a new one, and just cannot get any satisfaction anywhere!!

    1. Don't think I've ever paid over five bucks for a purse, and I nearly always buy Coach, sometimes Dooney & Burke. You don't find them often at that price, but over the years I've bought several. Current bag I'm using is a Bonnie Cashion-designed Coach bag from the Sixties. A bit worn...but then so am I!

  4. At first, I was quite at a loss what you mean by the guy hauling his loots, and it happened to be a black leather jacket... and a purse. For a minute there I thought you meant he snatched it from someone. Haha!

    Two dollars for a paper shredder? Sweet. And it even comes with additional features, intended or no. Quite a steal! :)

    Ruby Badcoe
    Williams Data Management


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

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