The End of an Era
We want to be totally upfront. Erin and I have spent the last couple of days mulling over whether or not to write about this. We know that this could be perceived as adding fuel to an already out of control forest fire. But in the end, we decided we needed to document this experience, because it is just too crazy not to.
If you’ve read the blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that because we live in southeast Michigan, we’ve gone to sales put on by RePurpose, which is the company featured on Cash & Cari. We don’t go to these because we’re weird groupies or superfans. We go to them because they’re just one among many companies in the area that run sales. The last time we went to one of their sales, we wrote it up as a letdown for a number of reasons.
Despite that last experience, we started the day by going to one of their sales. (We go to plenty of disappointing sales and then back to another by that same company the next week.) Less than two minutes after being inside, we were approached by Cari and another woman who works for her. Cari let us know that she saw our blog, and that she was disappointed, and that our entry was mean. Erin quickly asked them if they had read any of the other entries, as we tend to be pretty sarcastic. Cari said no, and let us know that HGTV had found the entry and notified them about it. (Sidenote: Turns out we ARE world famous bloggers after all!!!)
They went on to inform us that the owner of all of the stuff at the “letdown” sale had been mentally retarded, which began their process of insinuating that a) this matters and b) we were making fun of the items for sale because of the man’s mental retardation. Neither of these things is true—we couldn’t have known anything about the seller (and we’ve written about this in the past), and we aren’t evil. They also seemed to be offended by our commentary on the way items were priced, but the fact that prices at their sales have gone up is true, and we aren’t the only ones who are saying so. Erin smiled and reiterated that the sale was overpriced.
We were both really shocked by what was happening, and sort of stunned into silence for a while. Erin went into another room, and I kept looking at the cute things on the table in front of me—there was a lot of cool, reasonably priced stuff at the sale! But I could tell Erin was really upset—she does not like confrontation. I found her in a bedroom around the corner, and she expressed that she wanted to leave. I reminded her that a) we said nothing untrue and b) they were just upset that someone was criticizing them and c) HGTV was probably upset that someone called them unprofessional.
A few minutes into looking around in the bedroom, the woman who was with Cari approached us again and asked why we were there. Now, once again, I think it goes without pointing out, particularly if they’ve found our blog, that we were there because we go to estate sales every weekend. If they had taken a moment to actually look at any of the other 70+ entries, they’d have realized that only TWO relate to a sale run by them. But after listening to this woman rant for a while, it became clear that they were under the impression that the sole purpose of us going to their sales was to sabotage their reputation. This is actually hilarious—they must think we have a lot of free time on our hands. Good God.
The woman was so agitated that it was nearly impossible to respond to her questions or say anything at all really. She went on and on about the fairness of the Barbie prices (as if I wanted to buy them all), that they had been priced at “fair market value” and they ended up selling them for much less (shocking!) She also repeatedly tried to bring up the fact that the owner of the items at that sale was mentally retarded, as if it had some sort of impact on what is or is not amusing to us. I interrupted her and explained that it was ridiculous to even suggest that.
Despite anything either of us tried to say, she went on and on with her defense, explaining how stressful that sale was for the company, and that they had been busy ALL DAY and was it really so bad that they took a couple of minutes to laugh at a funny video on the Internet? (The best part is that if they had read that entry closely, they would have seen that I specifically said watching a video of popping a giant blackhead is SOMETHING I WOULD DO MYSELF.) I was getting so tired of hearing her loud, angry defense that I finally just looked at her and asked, “What is it that you want us to do? Do you want us to take down the entry?” She told me no, but then didn’t seem to have an answer about what action we could take to make them happy. She just wanted to yell at us.
The icing on the cake is that while Erin and I were being scolded, an older woman had come into the room and was observing what was going on with a concerned look on her face. I was facing her and getting more and more uncomfortable because I could tell she was really uncomfortable. Finally, she asked what was going on, and expressed that she did not want to be in the middle of a fight on television (no, they weren’t recording us.) Finally, the woman who was confronting us left the room.
We went through the rest of the house, each bought some cool stuff, and high-tailed it outta there. Erin and I spent the rest of the afternoon going to other sales and reflecting on how insane our morning had been. As this is part of her personality, Erin was searching for ways that maybe we had messed up. We could come up with nothing, besides the fact that it wasn’t necessary to mention the zit video. Even that was a stretch—it was obviously a joke. Also, just in case anyone’s keeping tabs, I think we can all agree that it is unprofessional to watch an exploding zit video while customers are shopping at your estate sale.
The more I think about this whole experience, the more flabbergasted I am. We write a blog about estate sales, and we wrote about our experience. We also made some jokes. This is what we do in every entry. Combined, Erin and I have spent literally hundreds of dollars at Cari’s sales. How anyone at a company featured on a national television show thought that this was a reasonable way to address online criticism is beyond me. But I’ve gotta say, it is pretty damn beautifully ironic that Cari and her assistant found it appropriate to publicly chastise two people for writing on a blog about the company’s lack of professionalism at a previous sale.
We will have to post another update about the rest of the sales we went to on Saturday (not to mention Friday). In conclusion, the best part of this whole experience was that Erin found an original Bob Dylan poster in the basement of Cari’s sale. She bought it for $5 and it has sold in the past for as much as $200.
Update from Erin: Sarah is right, I did immediately try to find reasons why this was all our fault and we needed to apologize. The more we talked though, the more I realized that this whole situation was ridiculous and overblown.
Are we sarcastic? Yes. Did we need to say all the stuff we did about that particular Cari sale? No. But we don’t really need to say much of anything we post on here. We could simply post photos every week of our finds and leave out the commentary, but instead we choose to include all of the things that run through our heads while out at these sales. It is more interesting to us, and I assume to our (20 or so) readers.
So in that respect, we take responsibility for what we post. We write what we write for some laughs and to shed light on a hobby. And in doing so, I think we just assume that everyone will take this all in stride. Maybe this is a mistake on our part. But Becky and Lance from the “House of Horrors” posts are perfect examples. I was super hesitant to have Sarah contact them because the things we wrote could come off as offensive. We were light and jokey about that sale, but not everyone is light and jokey. Becky and Lance thankfully turned out to have a great sense of humor (and also be awesome.)
It’s not fair for us to ask that anyone and everyone just “take a joke.” But it is also not fair to go all grizzly bear on two women in public. The amount of yelling that was happening on Saturday was absurd and embarrassing. I got so freaked out that I was physically shaking, which is SO CRAZY. This is a blog with a pretty limited readership, as far as we know. This isn’t some sort of New York Times-whistleblower-inside source-Wikileaks type shit.
Whew. I could go on and on. This whole situation was a giant bummer for Sarah and I. I don’t think we will be sale-ing at RePurpose sales anymore. There will be one more post in the future about my dad being on the show, but I’ll try to keep it glowingly positive. Which, for the record, I felt like our first Cash & Cari post was.