Saturday, May 16, 2009


Here’s what I'm pondering: when I head off on Saturday mornings in my usual direction, I consistently find sales with interesting merchandise, great prices, pets to pet, and conversations. But when I go instead to a certain community in the opposite direction, the feeling is entirely different. While I do find some deals, I never seem to be handed people’s life stories at the drop of a hat. So I'm wondering—is it them, or is it me? Are my expectations creating the experience? I suspect this to be true. Perhaps the first time I tried that area it was a dry day, and after that I've never put in the same energy that I normally use.

Some weekend I'll try that side of the county again with the conscious intention to find the best stories and catch the best overheard remarks ever. Of course, this is just yard sales. Makes you wonder what other parts of your life could be much more fun—if you could just get your expectations elevated to the proper level. Perhaps yard sales are a good place to start though. I can practice expectation-management in private, with little in the way of negative consequences if it doesn’t work. And if it's like today I'll still come home with some deals!

This was actually quite a special garaging day. My friend Marcia had serious heart surgery two weeks ago, and this was her first outing. After only two weeks! What a constitution she has. She mostly hung out in the back seat so as not to get worn out too soon, and her SIL Carol and I checked out the sales. Marcia commented on the way home that she got out of the car three times and found deals at each. Perhaps her expectation management is more sophisticated than mine! Marsh, hope you’re not too exhausted!

She certainly got one of the best deals of the day. Marcia is a major music lover, and found a stash of CDs at one sale for a buck each. She picked out ten, and without prompting the guy said she could have them for $8. So she got entire CDs for what one song would cost to download on some sites. Even better, the Frank Sinatra one had a note on the case that if you turn down the right hand channel, it takes out the vocals so you can do your own singing. Instant karaoke! I wish more CDs offered that. I admit to singing along with anything, including classical music. Marcia gave me this Randy Travis out of her stash, and I had an awfully good time singing backup to Randy’s greatest hits on the way home.

Carol’s favorite find was a vintage wooden rolling pin with green handles for fifty cents. Isn’t it wonderful how happy something like that can make you?

Today's was an extremely low-pet outing. This little guy was the only dog I met all morning:
Didn’t get his name, but his owner said he is amazingly smart. He goes off into another room and hides something, then comes and gets one of the family to play hide and seek! My dog Lizzie and I play that too…
…but I'm the one who hides the toy or treat. Then I bring her in and tell her to find it, saying “You’re getting warmer…no, you’re getting cooler…” until she finds the treasure. She participates with a slight air of indulging someone loved but not terribly bright; she is a very good sport.

I only spent two dollars—which may actually be a good reason to keep going to that other side of town! I found two sweaters to felt, one of alpaca, the other Icelandic wool...

...from a group raising money to send their youth group on a trip this summer. One of the dads commented, “So far we’ve made enough to get them to Carson.” (About 30 miles away.) After our transactions, they could just about buy a single coke to share!

I also found a pair of slacks in that slinky travel knit fabric. Should be fun with a black top—though with all these colors in it no doubt there are others things in my closet that will work.

My last find is strictly utilitarian—a can of orange peel splatter. Our house has this kind of texturing on the walls, so next time we need to repair something we’ll be all set. This stuff costs ten bucks or more at Home Depot, so at fifty cents I'm a happy camper.
Perhaps more fun were the items I didn’t buy. These included a pair of life size octogenarians:
The lady told us she paid over $600 each for them and is hoping to get $200. My reaction is, not at a yard sale—and not with that grumpy expression on Gramps!
This little salt or pepper shaker was missing its mate.
Personally, I find its mode of delivery less than appetizing!
Sometimes it's the packaging I find amusing. Hope I didn’t pass up some fabulous vintage ornaments here.

I fear I may regret not at least asking the price of this last item:
The Pocket Bass. You squeeze the sides—it's a little flashlight. What amazes me is not that something like this is at a yard sale (that’s a no brainer)—but that it was actually designed on purpose and someone convinced to manufacture it. It's a strange and wonderful world we live in—at least that expectation of mine always gets met!


  1. there are definitely different vibes from different neighborhoods. Perhaps it's culture, perhaps it's what they expect out of the yard sale. There is one house on a cul-de-sac, not far from the Octo-estate, where they do a huge yard sale every week. Very business-like, talkative, and well loved by the neighbors, I am sure.
    We will be off on an unanticipated vacation camping in San Simeon this week, and I am going to get my husband to help me find some second hand stores up there, and see if they are very different from SoCal.

  2. You always fulfill my expectations...even it there was only one cute dog in your story! You were right to pass on the ornaments...they're never made it big! xo Joan

  3. We got a few $1 CD's too! I forgot that until you mentioned it - I also found a bunch of hospital gowns at a quarter each - but I couldn't mention those since the kids might use them for Halloween costumes and they hate when I give their costumes away on the ol' blog. LOL

    Thanks for the comment! Fun to find a new blog to read! Love a fellow treasure hunter!

  4. I certainly find that my mood (and how recently I've been able to find a bathroom) affect how good these events seem! I wonder if you will be able to raise your expectations and then see if things improve...

    Thanks for another loveley post - I'm really enjoying being a follower!

  5. Sounds like you had a good day.I have noticed the difference in areas also. Cute dog.

  6. Such a great idea to take pictures of funny stuff. I ran across quite a few "shockers" this weekend too !
    Hugs ~ Kammy

  7. lol - wow! $200 at a yard sale?! I heard the "rule of thumb" is to expect to get 10-20% of what you paid for an item when you resell at a yard sale... but even $60 (90% off) that is insanely expensive for a yard sale! :)
    I am curious if she sold them!!

  8. Great finds! My son & I were out this weekend and both commented on the attitudes at the different neighborhoods we went to. We found that the sales in the country were more fun! Nice people, sweet animals, great deals. :)

  9. Your stories just crack me up! You're a lot more conversational in your garage saling than I am. I'm an 'in and out' shopper & don't do a lot of talking. I found some clothes too this weekend & some creamy satin spray paint for 50 cents a can. Can always use that!

  10. Funny post. The "old people" dolls were a hoot. Can't believe someone paid $600 for them & expected to get $200 at a yard sale.

  11. Thanks so much for taking us along. I am so glad that you passed on those life-size people. Afraid I'll meet them in a nightmare soon.


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

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