Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Last Tuesday, I had the day off because of doctor’s appointment mid-day, and I was really pleased because there was a crazy looking sale that started that day. Sales typically do not begin that early in the week, but there are a few boneheaded companies that do such a thing. The pictures of this sale reflected that it was: 1) very dirty and 2) full of old things—especially from the ’80s. I am cool with both of those conditions, so I was excited to have the chance to go check out this sale. I was right on both fronts. Here is evidence in both regards:
1) Mega dirty:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dirtier Sesame Street toy.
2) Lots of ’80s stuff:
What you see here are boxes of cereal from the 1980s that are in plastic bags. They were each marked $10, I believe. Quite a steal.
First things first—this sale was being run by our old friend, THAT GUY. That guy is a total scammer, and has no idea what he’s talking about. So half the stuff at this sale was overpriced and the other half was underpriced. In the end, it all worked out. And even though this sale was totally, disgustingly filthy, I found some cool stuff. Both to laugh about and to purchase.
On my way upstairs, I spotted this box of naked Ken dolls. I don’t know why, but it really made me crack up.
Once upstairs, I made my way into a room filled with possibly the most stuffed animals and dolls I have ever seen in such a small space.
This doesn’t really do it justice. When I was in this room, a woman came in and asked me, “Do you think this is all one person’s?” How sad that this was probably her first estate sale experience. I told her yes, that this was one person’s stuff. She looked horrified.
Most of the dolls and stuffed animals in these boxes were in sorta gross shape, but I still was excited about the quantity, because really… there are so many possibilities for treasures. It turns out that I DID find a treasure in one of these boxes.
Tee hee, just kidding. I found an adorable Rushton mouse, who was in really great shape!
Like I mentioned—half of the stuff at this sale was overpriced, and the other half was underpriced. That mouse was priced the same as Chucky up above!
Here’s some other stuff I laughed about:
Look at that dummy!
If anyone ever wanted to start a collection of California Raisins… here was a perfect opportunity.
Huggabunch…what up?! Just in case you were wondering, his name was Hugsy.
In the end, I found some cute things, including another Joan Walsh Anglund doll. She has heart patches on her knees!
I also found two GIANT boxes of photographs.They were marked $75 (for both), and the guy would NOT budge, so I decided to take a risk. As it turns out, there were over 1,000 pictures in the boxes and some of them were bulge photos, so I think I’ll have an update about the outcome of that find, sometime in the future!
Because I was off of work last week for winter break, Erin and I were able to go treasure hunting for two days in a row. We ventured out on Thursday, ready to hit up a really packed looking sale in Garden City. Don’t let the name fool you—Garden City is not a gorgeous haven. We arrived at the house and it felt like a repeat from a few weeks ago—you had to enter through the back yard and it was a treacherous, icy swamp land.
When we finally made it inside, we were pretty pleased with the offerings right off the bat:
Scary models, lots and lots of junk, 3-dimensional animal artwork, sexy babies… what more can you ask for?
Right away, we saw some cute stuff but it was a little overpriced. For example, these guys were cute but one was stained and the other was marked $25.
There were some other interesting items, but again, a little too pricey and it was the first day, so there was no negotiating.
I would have bought that Pee Wee if it wasn’t so crazy expensive. Adam and I both have a soft spot for Mr. Herman.
There was also a lot of not so great stuff at this sale:
The real interesting collections were down in the basement. I don’t know what it is lately but we sure have run into a lot of beanie babies. This sale was no exception to that recent trend.
These bins alone seem to be holding lots of beanies but they don’t even begin to capture the number that this person had. She also had a lot of other stuffed toys and dolls.
Sexy dress, sexy specs.
Mountains of Barbies. Note that many of them are multiples of the same item.
Lots of Mikhail Gorbachev dolls.
A lot of the dolls (Barbies, etc.) were totally overpriced, but one thing that was not overpriced was a set of Snuggle bears with their original tags, marked $5 for the whole set. This was a steal! And Erin was kind enough to give me them. Here they are, waiting for buyers on eBay:
You’ll notice I also found some talking Taco Bell dogs in their original bags at this sale as well. I’ll take any respectable offers, so please buy them.
Erin and I both bought this snowman “Beanie Buddy” for $1 because it was so friggin’ adorable! Next Christmas he’s gonna be chillin’ (no pun intended) in my living room.
Finally, the best thing I found by far was this music box, featuring breakdancing bears. They dance to the Flashdance theme song.
Update from Erin: That Jesus wall mount looks like a hunting trophy. When I saw it, I could not stop laughing. A little deer head Jesus…so weird.
Let me also say here, that if a crazy person buys that large Snuggle bear from Sarah for $70, then she better treat me to lunch. I don’t know on what planet people buy Snuggle bears for $70, but should it happen, I am a FOOL for finding those bears and giving them away to her.
Like Sarah mentioned, I bought one of those stuffed Christmas snowmen. It is seriously the softest stuffed animal I have ever felt. I love him.
I also bought this Mexican folk art piece for Zach’s mom. It was her birthday last week, and I knew this would be a perfect gift. Sandy is Mexican herself, and collects all things south of the border.
A little carousel! The figures had really worried expressions on their faces, which made this even more cute.
The sales last Friday didn’t look all that spectacular, but we still decided to venture out. The first sale that we went to was actually the sale in Redford that Erin hit with her sister and dad the day before. It was packed with stuff and they were discounting, so I wanted to check it out.
Right away I saw all those dolls, but even though they were discounting, they were still pretty overpriced. I found this mug but then decided that I really didn’t need it (you’re welcome, Adam) since it was grungy and I don’t smoke:
Still, I love the idea of a person in the ’70s taking a coffee/cig break and then going back to work upon seeing that message at the bottom of the mug.
The basement of this sale was a Christmas wonderland:
But nothing was all that fabulous.
In the end, I came out of the sale with a few cool things, including a really old bakelite View-Master (probably a 1950s version) and a stack of reels. If you’re interested in things like that, I’m selling them online. I already sold the Las Vegas and Mexico reels. I also found a bunch of Dakin Dream Pets that were reissued. Each of these cost me 75 cents and Organ bought one already! I’m selling the others together in a lot. Aren’t they cute?
I found some other cool stuff at this sale, including a C3PO charm from 1977 that I thought was rare but actually isn’t that rare, and then this pin, which is amazing:
Apparently people are willing to spend up to $30 on these wizard pins.
Here is one thing I did not purchase at this sale:
And here is one thing Erin wanted to purchase for a White Elephant gift, but I talked her out of it (it was priced too high!):
(Worth noting: In my folder of images right now, this image is named “Mythic Creature.”)
Erin had an extreme tragedy happen at this sale, but I’ll let her tell that story.
We only went to one other sale, and it was a major disappointment. Let me show you why:
1. People getting pervy with Barbies.
2. Weird babies with nylon heads.
3. Bed covered in cheap stuffed animals and blankets.
4. Garden sculpture of 1950s Bart Simpson.
I found a stack of black and white pictures at this sale, including some weird ones of a paraplegic.
Erin and I went back and forth about possibly going to an auction that was in Stockbridge that night. We decided against it and I was going to meet my mom and her friend there instead. My mom called me when she got there to warn me that it was in the middle of nowhere and you had to drive on lots of dark, dirt roads to get there. Doesn’t sound like my idea of fun on a Friday night, so I passed. In retrospect, I should have gone because my mom found a lot of cool stuff and nobody was willing to bid over $7 for any of it! She got me a box of very cool old cards and I’ll post about those in the future.
Update from Erin: I was so excited to be back at the Redford sale, because there were a few things I saw the previous day and hoped would be discounted. I immediately grabbed this huge stack of handmade pottery dinnerware and serving pieces. The set was originally marked $40, but this day it was 50% off, AND the woman running the sale said she would give me another $5 off because I didn’t want the mugs in the set. If you can’t do math, that’s a total of $15 for a whole bunch of awesome ceramic plates. I was walking around the rest of the sale fantasizing about what I could make and serve on them at the holidays.
The rest of the house was insanely picked over and I only ended up finding this ceramic Cornucopia in the garage.
I bought those adorable glass pumpkins on ebay specifically for the purpose you see here. So fun.
Ok, so the checkout for this sale was set-up in the driveway outside. Sarah and I head out there, and just as we do, there is a giant gust of wind followed by a HUGE crash. Like people always say in traumatic events, everything happened so fast. I was looking around confused at what exactly HAD happened. Clearly a bunch of breakable stuff had just broke.
As I am thinking about how bad this sucks for the people running the sale, I hear Sarah say, “OH ERINNNNN!” in a really distressed and pitiful way. It took me a second, but I realized that she was saying this because IT WAS MY HANDMADE POTTERY DISHES THAT HAD JUST CRASHED TO THE GROUND. The woman running the sale had taken them from me while I was shopping, and set them out on a stepstool/ladder thing near the checkout. When the wind blew, the ladder fell over, and so did my beautiful plates.
This is just a small portion of the damage. Sarah contends that I proceeded to stand over the crash site wide-eyed with sadness for the next few minutes. At some point, she told me to back off because clearly I looked like a crazy person. I was obviously suffering from some serious PTSD.
I will never forget those plates. Never.
The next sale, like Sarah said, was gross and sad and weird. And even though Sarah and I love buying us some dolls lately, we passed on all of these:
These dolls were the kind that they sell on QVC in the middle of the day. The kind of dolls that have elaborate personal histories and personalities. The kind of dolls that kill people for fun but no one ever catches because, “Hey I’m just a doll! I can’t kill nobody!”
I did buy one thing at this sale, which is this amazing Mexican lawn ornament. I saw things similar to this when I was in San Antonio last month, but I couldn’t fit them on the plane home. This guy was also featured in my Halloween post the other day, but I’m going to be keeping him out all year long.
Beauty Salon and Cash & Cari Letdown
So, the first house we went to on Friday was in Dearborn, and even though we didn’t find extreme treasures, we found something amazing: A crazy 1960s beauty salon in the basement that was stuck in time! Here’s Erin gettin’ her hair did:
On the right, you’ll notice the reception desk, and then the hair washing station.
Here is Carmen’s 1955 Diploma from the Virginia Farrell Beauty School… (diplomas are one of the saddest things we see at sales… diaries being the worst.)
Here are a few more shots of the entire salon:
I was the first one into the basement, and I could hear Erin at the top of the stairs gabbing away with a stranger, so I was like, “Erin! Get down here!” She told me she immediately thought that I found an extreme treasure that she was missing out on. When she realized what it was, she decided that an old beauty salon was an even better treasure.
We both found a couple of things and started checking out. Erin bought an antique baby scale (?!), a meat grinder, a Christmas coffee mug, and a box of Bakelite sockets. The woman running the sale was skeptical of Erin’s purchases, and said something like, “you have an interesting selection of items here.” When she found the Bakelite sockets, I think she started catching on to Erin trying to make some mad cash. So Erin said, “No… we just like to find weird things at sales. We have a blog!”
Anyway, this conversation went on and on, and Erin started holding up a line of people, which made her start sweating. The woman wrote down the name of our blog (WHAT WAS ERIN THINKING?!) and Erin told her that we could sponsor her sales with a banner. WHAT. THE. HELL. When we got outside, I told her that she should always be thinking of a good reason to want something valuable to tell sellers when they ask. A reason besides reselling it. Like making an art project out of it.
I bought an ugly table cloth and a creepy old doll. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t bought either of these things. The one thing I will say is that Erin chatting these people up made them give us deals and start opening up to us, so I’ll give her that.
The house after this was the Grey Gardens house, and then we had to make a decision. There were two sales left on our list—one was closer, but ended sooner, and we were starving. The other was all the way in Utica, but it was open until 5. We decided on the Utica sale so that we could eat before.
The Utica sale was another Cash & Cari sale. It looked sort of interesting, but nowadays their sales are always incredibly overpriced, so I was skeptical. We arrived and there were a crapload of people in the house, which immediately made me want to die. Also, the stuff in the house was abundant, but all gross and tacky. This person had a weird assortment of collections. It was like he/she decided to collect EVERY thing that they had a single item of. Shot glass collection? Check. Barbie Collection?
Beer tap collection?
Lava lamp collection?
Check. You can’t get much worse than a lava lamp collection.
Also, the prices on all of this garbage were insane. I don’t understand what’s happened—less than a year ago, her sales had stuff that was totally reasonably priced. I can’t believe anyone was buying anything. For example, there was a “Canadian Barbie” that I picked up because I have a friend who is Canadian, and I was like, “That might be cute…” But no… It was marked $75!!! That thing sells on eBay for between 25 and 50 bucks. WTF?! Cari is gettin’ a little too big for her britches. Also, one of her employees was in the Barbie room showing another employee a video of the largest blackhead ever being popped. I realize this is something I would do, but still—real professional, ladies.
At this point, I wanted nothing more than to warp home. Instead, we had to drive for an hour in rush hour traffic.
If you know me, you know that chili fries are my favorite food. Erin was back on the east side of town on Saturday, so I made her pick up five more bags of them. Adam and I keep eating them, exclaiming, “they taste JUST LIKE chili fries!”
Update from Erin: Ok, I did buy an old baby scale. But how is this not adorable? I am going to try and sell it, and if that doesn’t work, it is a cute thing to have in a nursery.
Sarah kept pointing out that this scale is all dirty, which is true. Obviously, though, she has never heard of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Let me also say that I do indeed have a hard time being put on the spot by people, be it at estate sale or the gas station. Sarah knows that I always get roped into long conversations with strangers, which is probably why the Jehovah’s Witnesses know my name and visit every other day. Bottom line: I am too polite. So yeah, I did say we would be willing to sponsor an estate sale with some sort of banner. But why not? I have never had a giant banner for anything before.
And I need to point out that this cavorting did lead to some good discounts for us. I got these old welding glasses for free at the sale. And they already have 2 bids on ebay. (Steampunks will buy anything labeled “steampunk”.)
I also got this adorable thing for Zach because he actually wears tie pins and cuff links.
I don’t know why you would want to mix ashes will all of your valuables, but maybe it is an old-timey thing.
The last thing I will say about this sale is that I was OBSESSED with this old metal tray table. It was part of the beauty salon stuff. The industrial look of it was just really neat. In the end, I had no place to put it in our house, so it got left behind.