Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Musings - Rude?

I got my feelings hurt on Friday by a stereotypical little old lady.

The scene of the assault on my psyche was Granny’s Attic, a rummage sale billed as the biggest in the area.  It may be, but, unfortunately, the building housing the sale isn’t so big, and quickly becomes standing room only, with little room to move between the aisles once it fills up with shoppers.

Ella and I had gotten to the sale early, about an hour in advance, just to get toward the front of the line. Once the doors opened, it was a slow motion dash as shoppers filed in, stopping to look at stuff, which prevented the shoppers behind them from entering the building.  Dragging my rolling tote behind me, I methodically made my way to the Book Room in the back of the building, while Ella veered off toward the toys.  Luckily, I had the room to myself for a while, and found a few good books.  Upon leaving the room, I realized that it was going to be a lesson in patience to make my way back up the aisle to the CDs and DVDs, where Ella already was.

After running over a few ankles, and hitting only the occasional shin, my tote and I made it, and I spent some quality time looking over the media, again finding a few good items.  With the crowd the way it was, it would have been silly of me to try and work my way up or down an aisle, and I told Ella that I was going to stay there while she looked around some more.  After a bit, she was finally ready to go.

The checkout line was stretched in front of where I was standing, and the only way to get to the back of the line was to fight my way through the crowd.  Fortunately, at that time, the line wasn’t too long, and I told the last person that I was going to squeeze behind them once the line got to where I was, instead of trying to drag my tote, and two of Ella’s bags through the mass of humanity.

A little old lady (no more than 5’ 2” or so, and hunched over), directly in front of me, however, somehow took offense at my ploy to hold a spot in line without actually standing in the line, even though I wasn’t going to get in front of her.  In fact, I would be several people behind her.

With her grandson playing around her feet, she looked at me and said, “I know where you were” (pointing to where I had been looking at the media), and that I was being “very rude,” with her voice rising above the din on the word “rude.”

“How am I being rude?” I smiled as I asked her.  “I’m going to the end of the line; I’m just waiting right here until it gets to me.”

This little old hunched-over lady then raised her hand to the “talk to the hand” position, and yells, “leave me alone.”

Needless to say, everyone around was watching us by now, with most looking at her in bemusement. I half expected the rummage sale police to sweep in, take my stuff, and escort me out for harassing this sweet, innocent little lady.

Fortunately, the scene ended as quickly as it began, with the lady shuffling forward, and me keeping my mouth closed, even though I really, really wanted to say something.

At a church sale on Saturday, I picked up three items that had a “Make an Offer” sticker on them.  They were two vintage car amplifiers, and a vintage 8-track player for a car.  I researched them the best I could on my phone, but really couldn’t find any information.  So, I decided to make a low offer on these nearly 40 year old electronic pieces.  I asked the cashier what she wanted for them, and she said I had to make an offer.  I said $5 each, and she said that was too low.  OK, what did she think was fair offer, I asked.  She said $20 each, which was way too high.  I countered with $25 for all three, but she stuck with $60 and wouldn’t budge.  I passed on the items.

What irritated me, though, was that my brother-in-law, who attended the sale with us, bought what turned out to be a new in-box 20-inch Disney Princess TV/DVD player combo for a whopping $20.  Not that I wanted the TV, but I thought it was ridiculous for them to sell the new TV so cheap, and 40-year old untested electronics so high.

C’est la vie.

I skipped the book sale this weekend, including the preview sale on Thursday.  I had dropped by the site of the sale during my lunch hour on Thursday just to get a feel for what the AAUW had to offer.  The volunteers were still setting up, but I could tell right then that the nonfiction selection was going to be small.  Since the preview sale usually attracts many dealers, I figured the competition for the few quality books would be crazy, and I just didn’t feel like joining the feeding frenzy.

Overall, the weekend was productive, despite the hurt feelings, missed electronics, and avoided book sale.  I did get to spend Sunday listing items, thanks to Ella, who had spent some time last week taking pictures for me.  It was her first time taking ebay shots, and she did a great job, and really saved me a lot of time.  Of course, now that I know she can do it …

With Halloween upon us, I’m starting to get a little antsy about not being ready for the silly season.  I still have tons of things to list, so I had better get to it.

Have a great week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musings - End of Season

In early spring, I usually create a work breakdown structure (WBS) of the upcoming thrifting season.  It’s a “map,” so to speak, of known thrifting events, from book sales to church bazaars, and everything in between.  I add to it, and subtract from it, as the year progresses, and it keeps me on track to maximize my weekend thrifting time.

Unfortunately, this weekend marks the end of my WBS for the year, with Granny’s Attic at the local Catholic Church signifying the end of a long thrifting season that started with a single church sale back in early Spring. Oh, sure, there will be some sales on weekends, but with the approaching cold weather, Thanksgiving, and, of course, the silly season in December, major thrifting opportunities will be few and far between until next year.

In hindsight, this year has been one of the best ever as far as inventory is concerned. I’ve blogged about many of my bigger purchases, but never mentioned other smaller, but still lucrative, finds.   Local thrift stores have been disappointing overall, but even Goodwill has yielded some amazing finds, despite their best efforts to keep all the good stuff for their online sales.   

The aforementioned Granny’s Attic is part of a large fall festival, and always draws a crowd on Friday morning.  I usually have to skip a couple of hours of work just to wait in line, and fight the other shoppers for the good stuff.  The church crams a year’s worth of donations into a smallish building, and if you aren’t one of the first in, good luck making your way through the crowd.

The night before, though, is the AAUW book sale preview night at the old mall.  For $5, you get to have an hour of fighting all the other dealers before the casual readers get a shot at the books.  This used to be a good sale, but in the last few years, the quantity and quality of books has been seriously declining. With some luck, I will be able to get my money’s worth without pushing the other dealers out of my way.  Just kidding, of course, but as quality inventory dries up, dealers ARE getting ruder and more desperate.

With the addition of inventory from Granny’s Attic and the book sale, I hope to have accumulated enough merchandise to have a good Christmas season, and to tide me over until the first sales of Spring.  Our great room is overflowing with stuff, from books to toys to odds and ends for Ebay. I’ll also keep checking on Craigslist for sellable items; visiting the various thrift stores in the area; and waking up early on Saturdays, freezing my assets off, to visit whatever brave soul decides to have a yard sale.

I’ll also be listing like crazy, not only because I need the sales, but also because Ella is getting sick of her great room being full of boxes and totes, with only a small path clear from one room to the other.

How do you handle the slow season?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Did cowboys have yard sales?

Way back in January, I wrote about our trip to the Memphis Film Festival, and how interesting it was that elderly TV cowboys still had groupies, young and old, who treat these aging “stars” like royalty.  One of Ella’s favorites, James Drury, also known as The Virginian, is a regular at this annual festival, and Ella was thrilled with the opportunity to meet, share a few words, and have a picture taken with her western hero.

Flash forward to now, and The Virginian is headlining Georgia’s Official Day of the Cowboy on Saturday at The Rock Ranch, an “agritainment” cattle ranch about 45 miles away.  From the website:

This year's special guest will be none other than James Drury from the 1960's T.V. western series, "The Virginian".

Guests will enjoy shows by cowboy stunt performers who will rob the train and engage in gun fights. There will be mounted drill teams, quick draw demonstrations, a trick horse, a large model train display and live country music. Guests will enjoy vendors selling western wear, watch an action packed wild west show with shooting and knife throwing and a Hop-A-Long Cassidy look alike.

Of course, Ella, to use a horse metaphor, is chomping at the bit to attend the all-day event.  Unfortunately, the ranch will not release a schedule of events in advance, which means, theoretically, we’d have to show up at 10 a.m. to see every thrilling moment of this western extravaganza.

Normally, I’d just bite the bullet and show up early and stay late.  But, and you’d knew there had to be a “but,” tomorrow is turning out to be the biggest thrifting day of the Fall season, which multitudes of church and school sales, as well as a host of estate and garage sales dotting the middle Georgia map.  Since I missed an annual book sale two weeks ago while at Disney, I feel compelled to take advantage of every remaining thrifting opportunity before it gets too cold; after all, the Christmas shopping season is literally right around the corner, and you can never have too much inventory.

I think Ella realizes this, since she already has started printing out yard sale listings from Craigslist for Saturday morning, and, realistically, we will have several solid thrifting hours before we have to head toward the ranch.  However, there won’t be enough left of me to snore if I make Ella miss anything exciting.

Have a productive weekend everyone.