Today, we bring you a SPECIAL REPORT, from what is being hailed as “Connecticut’s Largest Yardsale”! When I saw the sign, I just had to go. I had no idea we even had one of those!
…Yeah, it turns out we don’t—if anything it was more like “Connecticut’s Most Moderately-Sized Flea Market.” (Which, granted, probably wouldn’t have fit on the sign.) And if I’m not funny today, you can blame that, because if you’re expecting a ginormous yardsale and all you get is a bunch of people selling pieces of garbage they glued together, you’re basically gonna be Grumpy Cat for the rest of the day.
…I’m sorry; I just wanted to start this post the same way I started my day: with a big steaming pile of nose goblins. And they weren’t even my own. When I stepped out of my car at the first sale of the day, I was greeted by this guy just…blowing it all over his driveway. Like he was putting salt down to melt ice. I was afraid small children might slip in the alarmingly large puddle forming near his shoes, but he didn’t seem to think it was weird. Maybe I should be thankful it was just snot.
After that explosive start (at least for him), I might’ve just taken it as an omen and headed right back home, perhaps muttering some clever jokes about how “well, that’s southern Connecticut for you!” (and secretly counting the days until we move to Ohio, which I’m told is a fantasy land of everlasting sunshine ), but not this day. Thank goodness, not this day.
It’s been a rocky start to the 2014 yardsale season. My mother’s crocuses have started popping up, which I’m told is a sign that spring has officially sprung, although I’ve always had one question about that, and that is—”hey, what are crocuses?” (She thinks I’m kidding. Sorry Mom.)
Thanks to the weather basically being always winter (and never Christmas), most of your normal yardsale tycoons haven’t started piling junk into their front lawns yet, so the few sales I’ve been finding have tended to fall into one of two categories:
1) Creeper Sales
You know the type—there’s a sign outside that says “yardsale today!”, but there’s nothing on the lawn. No person is standing outside. The shades are drawn and the door is closed; the lights are dim. The door might even be locked. You think that if you go inside, there’s a 50% chance that it’ll reek of cat pee, and a 100% chance that you’ll find Anthony Perkins sitting there in a wig. They look sort of like this:
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that my wife and I saw the New England Spiritual Team racing by earlier today in their mystery machine.
I found two of these creeper sales this week, and three last week. I always feel somewhat robbed when I find them—which is ironic, because that’s exactly what would happen if I ever went inside. They’re basically the “want some candy, little boy?” of yardsales. No one’s ever reported coming back from one alive.
On the other hand, you’ve got…sort of the opposite of that (although with the same probability of dying):
Like a grizzly bear emerging from her cave after a long winter’s hibernation, yardsale season is now upon us—and like a grizzly bear, you’d better not get too close, one because you will probably die, and two, because you don’t know where that’s been.*
Today’s trip exemplified that like no other, as my little quadrangle of Connecticut played host to estate sale after estate sale after crusty old “hey, is this floor up to code?” estate sale. …Which is kind of an ominous sign, given, you know, why people hold estate sales. Continue reading →
Since Halloween is coming up, I thought it’d be a nice time to talk about yardsaling’s scary cousin: antique shopping.
You can see the family resemblance between antique shopping and yard sales. Both hobbies include sorting through piles of useless old junk that nobody wants anymore. But while yard sales are run by mostly normal people, antique malls are run by complete lunatics. In fact, if you’re ever at a yard sale where the sellers seem crazy, odds are that they’re just trying to impress the antique mall scouts.
You see, antique stores are just like the government. Everyone in charge is over fifty years old, and they have no idea how much things cost. For example, $50 for a Titanic VHS tape is a reasonable price at an antique store. On the other hand, something like an Xbox 360 game will go for two dollars, because the antiquers have no idea what to do with any products made in this century.
I recently visited an antique mall in Normal, Illinois. Conveniently located in a dead shopping center, this store contains proof that their town is poorly named.
This suit would either be a great Halloween costume, or the worst birthday present ever.
About $20 for the creepy salt and pepper shakers. I think the design for them was reused in Gnomeo and Juliet. Continue reading →
Sometimes it’s best not to try to figure out the story behind how a particular item ended up at a yardsale. For example, you might not want to know why, exactly, someone’s selling their collection of used bedpans. (Best case scenario: The homeowner likes peeing in buckets. Worst-case scenario? Grandpa’s gone to a better place.) You also might not want to know how so many “World’s Best Dad” mugs ended up on the 25-cent table. (Best case: He actually just is the World’s Best Dad and has an abundance of them; worst case: there is a sinister reason why he doesn’t deserve them anymore, and would you mind calling child services?)
I really really didn’t want to know why this young couple was selling a wedding dress (and matching shoes) for only $10:
So when they caught me looking at it with what appeared to be interest (but in reality was me trying to surreptitiously take a photo without becoming known around town as “the guy who takes pictures of used women’s clothing”), I quickly bolted to the next closest thing and started stroking my chin thoughtfully—as though admiring a great work of art and contemplating Deep Thoughts, like “ah, the master brushstrokes are clearly indicative of the artist’s blah blah blah,” or “man, I really wish those people would stop looking at me.”
…which is unfortunate, considering what I was standing in front of at the time:
At that point I pretty much had to resign myself to moving.
(By the way…between this and the painting I saw a couple of weeks ago…is there some kind of tiny-headed epidemic that I should be worried about? Are the melon heads of Connecticut real? Is this why the election has mostly been about birth certificates and tax returns, rather than anything even remotely important—because people’s brains are literally shrinking?)
The rest of today’s finds were less embarrassing. …For me, anyway; I don’t think I’d ever want to admit to owning, for example…
A bit of a digression for this week’s post, if you’ll indulge me. I haven’t been to any quality yardsales in weeks. I think this must be what it felt like to be in East Berlin before the wall came down. Oh, sure, I’ve visited a few; but the most exciting thing I found was a stuffed monkey with the hilarious t-shirt “Ape 3:21″ (a play on the popular 1990s wrestling slogan “Austin 3:16,” cleverly parodied via the use of three random numbers that have no meaning whatsoever). That said, I think it’s safe to assume that the type of person who enjoys silly jokes and pictures about yardsales would also enjoy silly jokes and pictures of community farm fairs; if I’m wrong, well…
A number of weeks ago, I teased that I visited this one estate sale that deserved its own post—not only because it encompassed two separate buildings and had as many goods for sale as a typical Wal-Mart (and, let’s be honest, about the same quality)—but because including it as an aside in a post about golden toothbrushes and laxative-themed thermometers just wouldn’t do it justice.
Don’t remember what I’m talking about?
Now you do.
This estate sale was a thing of wonder. Epic poems could be written about the journey one had to take to get from one end of it to the other—winding through alleyways of cardboard boxes, up and down creaking, crusty staircases with little pieces crumbling off with each step—I swear I even got lost at one point and had to ask for directions. It was by far the biggest sale I’ve ever been to in Connecticut, encompassing both a two-story home and a three-story barn.
I, naturally, gravitated toward the barn first, because, well..