Friday, June 20, 2014

The Hidden Language of Yard Sales

I found myself pulled bright and early from bed this morning to go on a yard sale adventure with my mom.  Fortunately for me, she had the forethought to bring coffee, as 8AM is pretty damn early for a vampire like myself.  But once I'd properly caffeinated, thus began the quest of searching for signs, getting lost in subdivisions, slow-rolling past sales and picking through boxes of other people's belongings. 

This was really a targeted quest: I'm on the hunt for a proper desk for my office.

But not just any desk.  Because I have looked at roughly a million desks so far, at yard sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, office supply stores and furniture stores.  None of them have been exactly what I was looking for.  What am I looking for, you might ask?  I have no idea.  But I'll know it when I see it!

So anyway, while questing for the Mystical Unicorn Desk, we came across a whole number of yard sales.  I wanted to use my phone to take some surreptitious pics to turn this post into a photo essay, but I didn't really have the opportunity. 

The thing that's fascinating to me about yard sales is how they really give you a window into the lives of the people having them.  It's interesting to see what you can learn about someone from what they're selling, how much they're charging, and how they react to you and each other when you ask questions.  The whole experience was very much an anthropological study, if nothing else. 

Among other things, today we stopped off at:
  • A house clearly belonging to parents of a no-longer-toddler -- the yard was full of baby supplies, including a potty training toilet and lots of baby clothes.  
  • The home of a shoe addict.  There's no other way to explain the two HUGE TUBS of nice shoes out on the driveway.  
  • The home of a lady who clearly has a lot of great ideas that never come to fruition...exercise equipment, foreign travel plug adaptors, various electronic gadgets still in the box.  I almost considered buying the never-opened "set your own combination" locking thumb drive, but thought better of it.  
  • A very cool garage full of strange antique furnishings.  A lot of awesome stuff that I sadly could not justify buying, including a real solid wood high-chair with metal tray.  
  • A church parking lot filled with booths -- my favorite of which being the guys who were selling (among other things) an ornamental katana, two slow cookers, an automatic cat feeder, a PS2 and a hamster.  I hung out and chatted with them for a while.  They seemed like cool folks, the kind I'd be likely to hang out with.  (I very nearly came home with that old PS2, but for $50 I couldn't justify the purchase).  
  • An extremely, obviously Christian household selling stacks and stacks of books -- my favorite of which had a title like "Seducing Our Children: Saving Your Children From Witchcraft and the Occult!" I was this close to buying it out of sheer curiosity, but I resisted the urge. 
There were more, but those were the ones that stuck out in my mind.  Lots of good times to be had.

I did not, however, leave my quest empty-handed.  Though no Mythical Unicorn Desk appeared, I did walk home with a coffee grinder, large crock pot and well-worn copy of The Joy of Cooking, all for $11.25.  Not half shabby if you ask me.

Anyway, that was my adventure in garage sale land.  Did anybody else have any fun anthropological experiences to report? Find any good deals?  Let me know all about it in the comments! 

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