DTT Top Ten Best Moments of the Year
Happy (almost) New Year everyone! It has been a really fun and hilarious first year of this little ol’ blog. Thank YOU for reading, and for the emails/facebooking/comments/etc. that tell us you enjoy our sass. We hope that 2013 brings even bigger and better estate sales and many more treasures.
To cap off the year, here are the top ten BEST moments of our estate sale insanity:
10. That time Erin bought a bear wearing a REAL GOLD necklace: Sometimes you find perfectly fine treasures that you are happy buying as they are—say, a Muffy Vanderbear doll. And sometimes, as an added bonus, that perfectly fine bear happens to be wearing a 14kt gold necklace. In our “Cash for Gold, Part Two” entry, Erin found out just how valuable gold is at the moment, when she cashed in a chain for $44. Who puts real gold chains around teddy bears? And who then sells that teddy bear for $12 at an estate sale? Whoever that person is, we hope they do it more often—wrap all our purchases in gold please!
9. That time DTT had a huge ass garage sale: The DTT garage sale put quite a twist on our normal routine. This time we were the sellers, trying to convince people to buy our garage sale wares. This was also a chance for us to unload all of the estate sale finds we had trouble selling on ebay, or that we fell out of love with. Let’s just say, we had a lot of stuff to sell:
Check out the entry “Cold Ones Left” to see how the garage sale went, and to hear about Sarah taking a serious spill on the sidewalk.
8. All those times we found ourselves in “interesting” houses: Hoarders? Check. Survivalists? Check. Straight-up Grey Gardens style situations? Check. We’ve seen it all, and somehow lived to tell about it. Take a peek at the entries: “Grey Gardens”, “Survival of the Fittest”, and “Hoarders. No Like Real Ones” for all the nitty gritty.
7. That time Erin interviewed Ryan Matthew Cohen of the Science Channel’s Oddities: Somehow Erin scored an interview with fan-fave Ryan Matthew, and the resulting post here on DTT (Ryan Matthew Kind of Hates Christmas, and Other Revelations) turned out to be one of our most reblogged/linked out/googled entries. In a later turn of events, Erin met Ryan in New York, where he nervously informed her that he confuses our blog with the phrase “Take that Bottle.” (That’s a phrase?)
6. All the times we made mad cash on eBay: And we are proud to say there were many! Check out our “Money Maker” entries to see just how well we did reselling our treasure finds. Our biggest jackpots can be found in the entries: “Original Goonies Movie Posters”, “Old Duck Decoy”, “Valley of the Dolls II”, and “Crazy Horse”.
5. That time a guy asked Erin for her home address: You meet all kinds of people while out treasure hunting. Erin happened to meet a guy who wanted to know where she lived…EXACTLY where she lived. Read all about it in the entry “Where I Live”.
4. That time we got in a CRAZY HUGE FIGHT with Cari Cucksey from HGTV’s Cash & Cari: We get asked about this all the time, so of course we had to include it in the countdown: our infamous quarrel with Cari, from Cash & Cari. If you remember, we started out in quite the love affair with the show, and with RePurpose estate sales. But then we mentioned ONE sale they had that was overpriced and crowded, and next thing you know, we’re public enemy number one. Find out just how loud ladies can yell in our entry “The End of an Era”.
3. That time we fell in love with auctions: Perhaps one of the biggest developments this year was our love affair with auctions. Maybe in 2013 we will change the name of this blog to YO! We Love Auctions or something like that. It all started with Erin’s fave honeyhole in Plymouth, featured in the entries: “Stand Down”, “Standing Room Only”, and “Trumpeting”. Sarah caught the auction bug in the entry “Open for Bidding”, only to have it explode into auction frenzy in the entries “Auction Crashers” and “Blacktop Surprise”.
2. That time we hunted down the person whose stuff we were buying at an estate sale and became cross-country friends with him: Despite our humor, estate sales are a really emotional thing, and we recognize that. Most sales happen because of a death in the family or because of other sad events (financial trouble, divorce, hoarding, and so on). At the time when we wrote our entries “House of Horrors Part One” and “Part Two” we had no idea that a charming California man had just lost his mother in Michigan, and it was her home we were shopping at. Our blog entry focused on the amazingly bizarre and intriguing items we found in the home, items unlike anything we had ever seen. And before long, Erin tracked down the aforementioned Cali man (entry “REAL LIFE”) and Sarah wrote a heartfelt entry all about him and his mother (entry “Be My Little Bumblebee”). You couldn’t have scripted it any better. In fact, we are all now friends, and for Sarah, even in real life!
OK, drum roll please!!! The BEST moment of the year, as you’ve probably guessed, is…
1. That time we went to the BEST SALE EVER: “Best Sale Ever”, as it is known, was, well, the best sale ever! We both still dream about this sale (literally…at night, in our dreams). Featured in the entries: “Best Sale Ever: Round One” and “Round Two”, this estate sale will forever live on as the perfect storm of all things wonderful about treasure hunting. The owner of this estate loved shopping, and the packed house showed it. Everything though was high quality, clean, and most importantly, CUTE! There was a great mix of antiques and newer items, and somehow we got the most incredible bargain bin prices on everything. Erin bought a brand new Pendleton blanket with the tags on it for basically pennies, and Sarah took home half a Hallmark store worth of books, ornaments, and Christmas decor. We visited this sale twice over two days and hauled our items out in a wagon each time.
So cheers to estate sales, and “junk”, and antiques, and to all of the people and places we encountered this year. To 2013, bring it on, we are ready for your treasures!
Happy New Year!
-Erin & Sarah
Cash & Cari (sans fox) starring Timmy C.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post like a CRAZY LONG TIME AGO. Long before our tragic break-up with RePurpose sales. I’m posting this because it is interesting, funny, and involves my dad, who is the best person of all time.
After my taxidermy fox purchase on the show, I got a call from one of the producers. He asked what I did with the fox (made mad cash), if I was going to come to future sales (yes), and what types of items I look for at sales (Zuni jewelry, total garbage knick-knacks, and re-sellable odds and ends).
At this point I decided to pitch my dad for a future episode of the show. He’s the total package—a super savvy collector who drives a hard bargain but also wears ankle socks with slip-on loafers. He’s funny, he looks like Santa, he takes iphone lessons at the Apple store, and HE WAS IN THE MOVIE WHIP IT. I could go on and on.
Anyway, my dad DID end up on Cash & Cari. And it turned out to be truly awesome.
I had mentioned to the producer on the phone that my dad collects vintage baseball memorabilia, specifically anything Detroit Tigers. They ended up inviting him to a sale that had a set of seats from the now-defunct Tiger Stadium.
The ensuing interactions between Cash & Cari and my dad were hilariously scripted and kind of awkward. They told him when and where to arrive at the sale and how to “scope out” the Tiger Stadium seats. He made several passes by the seats (on camera) and then was told to wait while a meeting with Cari was orchestrated.
The seats were marked six hundred dollars, which is pretty insane.
So Cari comes over and my adorable dad is all like, “Yeah, these are cool, but I would have to offer you a lower price on them.” He then goes on to explain that Tiger Stadium had a capacity of over 50,000 people and that all of the seats were auctioned off when it closed. That’s a lot of seats. These ain’t no royal thrones. You get the idea…
In addition, my dad already has Tiger Stadium seats. He got them for $275 at the original auction. He’s totally into having some more for his little baseball cave at home, but $600 would break the bank. He offers Cari $200.
From this point on, my dad is forever branded as a “lowballer.” The narrator even says this on the resulting episode.
Timmy-I-tried-to-rip-off-Cari-on-national-television. That’s my dad.
Cari says no to the offer and my dad goes to leave. The producers intervene and tell my dad to come back to the sale the following day. The storyline will be that my dad cannot resist him some stadium seats. He must have them. He will arrive back at the sale and try to lowball Cari again. This time, though, he will be victorious.
So my dad comes back the next day and haggles on-camera again. Cari shows him an iPad with an ebay listing that is selling similar seats for $499. My dad tells her that the seats in THAT listing are special VIP seats that were available in smaller quantities, hence the higher price. (This whole exchange ends up edited out of the episode).
Then, Cari sells my dad the seats for $225. In the episode that aired, the seats were listed as having an original selling price of $400, NOT $600. I think the producers realized that the original price was way-off and tried to correct how that might look. This is good because my dad looked like a little bit less of a lowballer…still a lowballer though. Even the narrator called him a lowballer.
Here is my dad in his purchased seats, throwing an American flag baseball in the air. I wish he was wearing a hat made out of apple pie.
Update from Sarah: If you watch this episode, you can see the $600 price tag at one point.
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.
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.