Saturday, November 1, 2014

Clowning Around

Last week’s little wooden rabbit may have started something. Or maybe researching how much (other) people who shop in stores rather than driveways are willing to shell out for cute wooden ornaments.

Two of the sales we went to on Friday (both listed as estate sales) seemed to think they were retail outlets. I expect higher prices at estate sales, but my goodness. These folks (said Judy and I) had lost their heads.

However, the place where I bought three items hadn’t marked prices on everything, and there were signs here and there saying to ask one of the attendants if you needed a price.

I picked out a couple of possibilities and was still looking around when another lady approached the upstairs sale attendant to get some prices. She had a rug, and the attendant suggested $20. Oh my no, said the buyer. Fifteen? Ten? They settled on eight, and I knew which attendant to go to for prices. She was a tiny little woman with curly gray hair wearing a very oversized gray t-shirt. Of course she was being bombarded with questions on prices. She looked at my two items and said $5 for the pair, but then needed to go off and find more stickers to write prices on. By the time she got back I’d decided what I was holding wasn’t worth five bucks to me and put them back. Told her I’d talked myself out of them and we cheerfully agreed that sometimes not buying things is the best policy.

Judy and I kept looking. There were signs everywhere to keep folks out of drawers and closets. My favorite was this one. I had planned to climb into the microwave but now I couldn’t. Heck.

Get out of that microwave!

Of course just about everything we thought was interesting had no price. The big wooden Pinocchio did have a tag -$45 - but I already have one that cost $1 (purchased on 7/7/07 – great date, huh?).

Pinocchio sittingMy big Pinocchio

But then I spotted this small Pinocchio bottle topper. With no price. Back upstairs to my little old lady. $1 – I could live with that. He’s pretty darned cute and not something you see every day.

Pinocchio corkioPinocchio on the head of a cork

We finished looking around the house (trying not to wince too visibly at the prices – or break anything) and checked out the garage. Where Judy spotted this little guy     Wood shepherd Wooden shepherdand I found this big guy.

French clown skittles

I’m not much of a clown person but couldn’t resist his mustache. And he’s not a scary clown. A little research suggests he was part of a skittles set earlier in his life, and is French. So, back upstairs with these two. Five dollars, she said? I made a little face. Four? Okay.

Now, I’m not sure who the little old lady was. The sale was being run by a company, but from overheard conversation I gathered that the folks who owned the home and contents had not passed away but were moving to a much smaller place. I kind of wonder if little old lady was part of the family rather than the sale company. Or maybe she was the sale company owner’s mother, pressed into service. But she sure wasn’t pricing the way the others had. Which was clear when I went to pay. Put my three items down and pulled out the five dollars they totaled. The woman taking money looked at the handwritten price stickers and took my fiver, but her expression was priceless. Picture someone who’s just bitten into an unripe quince. Sour! Which made it all the easier to give her a very pleasant smile and carry my wooden score away.

And you thought I was nice before this, didn’t you? Hah!

We found one other regular old garage sale with regular old prices and regular friendly people. Somehow the subject of wildfires came up and I mentioned living in southern California. And as is fairly typical here, the lady having the sale was also from there, as was the other shopper in the garage, so we had stories to share. The other shopper, a middle aged guy, laid down quite a large stack of twenties and toted off at least four rifles. I spent sixty cents and went home with these vintage fireplace matches

Vintage Fireplace MatchesVintage fireplace matchheads

(don’t worry, won’t be starting any wildfires with them – probably impossible here anyway due to the days and days and DAYS of rain we’ve just had), plus a dandy pair of shoes for the hubs.

Cabella slides

Easy on, easy off, perfect by the door when you need to kick off your indoor slippers and go out on a wet deck.

Maybe I can borrow them to step out for a game of one-pin skittles with my French clown.

Skittles meets Zen


  1. Ha! I love your estate sale story. I've come across more than enough of those sour face money takers myself. Estate sales are my favorite, but the first day prices are ridiculous. Have to back on the 2nd day for half price and hope the coveted item is still there, lol. Love your sweet clown, and your friends little guy too.

    1. This sale didn't have marked-down prices until Sunday. Figured my guys would be gone. Besides, there was no way I was going back to be frowned at again. I'm sensitive!

  2. Love your stories! The unripe quince is the best one so far!

    1. Gosh, thanks! I have to admit my own mouth puckers at the mere thought of an unripe quince. And I don't think I've ever tasted a ripe one either!

  3. Funny especially the microwave photo.
    Honestly I have not been to a garage sale for so long their prices are ridiculous, think they forget they are selling used items.
    I now use Gumtree for the free items people are giving away.

    1. Fortunately we go out for the thrill of the hunt...and because we like to poke through other people's stuff! And even though the estate sales were overpriced, I cannot complain about the great pair of shoes from the actual garage sale for fifty cents!

  4. The little old lady seemed to be on your side. Perhaps it was she who put the sign on the microwave as a tongue-in-cheek protest about the other signs.
    Always enjoy your posts. I click on them immediately I see them. xx

    1. My little old lady definitely seemed to think the prices were silly. I was awfully tempted to take the price tag OFF of something and see how she would price it. After all, price tags fall off all the time, right? I like the image of her putting the sign on the microwave!

  5. The estate sales are not as eventful as yours. Cute clown!


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

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