Another weekend spent shamelessly rummaging through strangers’ trash!
We only went to a few yard sales this weekend, owing to a late start and temperatures that could melt steel. Even so, my luck held. This is the third time in a row that I found dusty gold on foreign front lawns.
Side story: A yard sale that looked great in the classifieds turned out to be a dud, especially because it required a twenty minute drive. But the guy manning it was this old dude in a wheelchair, and his boundary-crossing verbal asides reminded me so much of my late father, I couldn’t bare to leave without buying something. And that is how we came home with a six-inch ceramic elephant with a chipped tusk.
I always feel so rude and awkward when I don’t buy anything from a yard sale. There’s just no easy way to say, “Sorry, madam, but your trash is not my treasure.” Half of the time, I force myself to buy some cheap thing that I have absolutely no interest in, just so I don’t have to do the walk of shame. (Of course, that leads to an entirely different walk of shame — the one where I have to cross a bunch of seventeen-year-olds playing touch football while carrying an incomplete Holly Hobbie board game.)
Overall, I think I did well. Here are my five favorite finds from this weekend:
They’re from 1987, which in exaggerated math means that some family waited thirty freakin’ years to finally part with their ALF bedsheets. They’re in great shape, too. I’ve decided to believe that they’ve never been used, I guess because there are few things grosser than buying someone’s old sheets.
I got both a fitted and flat sheet, which provides just enough material to turn everything into an ALF jumpsuit. Since I have no idea how to sew, it’ll look even more heinous than it sounds.
The $2 asking price was a pleasant surprise, because everything else at that particular yard sale was waaay too much. Ten dollars for used board games? Nee, nie, ne.
Price: $5 for 6
I’m always excited to find these, even if they’re basically worthless. Every special McDonald’s glass seems to have been produced in numbers exceeding thirty billion. I’ve not met a dealer of “old crap” who doesn’t have at least ten of them. Still, five bucks for six glasses was a sweet deal. I can’t wait to drink soda from a glass with cop meat painted on it.
Of the six I got, these three were the most interesting. Many of the glasses are from the ‘70s; I know this because the woman running the yard sale told me ten times.
Since we already have an entire kitchen cabinet dedicated to promotional glasses, buying these was an easy decision. (We only drink from those when literally every regular glass is dirty, in part to keep them in good condition, but mostly because we cannot escape the notion that some stranger’s spit was once married to each glass.)
Also: Good Christ, the Hamburglar used to look downright frightening. Like a vagabonding flasher who forgot to strip.
Plastic Freddy Krueger Decoration!
At another yard sale, I spotted this cellophane Halloween decoration — a thin sheet with a nearly life-sized Freddy Krueger printed on it. It isn’t remarkably old; in fact, it’s probably still being made today.
I don’t consider any yard sale trip successful if it doesn’t have a subtle hint of Halloween, so I had to buy this. I had to buy this amazingly wrinkled, amazing noisy, amazing large piece of trash. I had to pick this atrocious thing up and carry it past five puzzled strangers, clumsily making my way to the woman who ran the sale. It was brutal. I should’ve just worn a shirt reading “That Guy” in a cursive green font.
The pitying seller gave it to me for free. She even threw in a bunch of plastic Halloween tablecloths. Not knowing a more neutral way of saying “yeah I don’t want those, even if they’re free,” I went home with a trunkful of used, crinkly party supplies.
Random Action Figures!
I’ve gotten used to ignoring the bins of various action figures that seem to be at every yard sale, because they’re almost always filled with the worst of the worst stuff. (Two year old Happy Meal toys, and nothing BUT two year old Happy Meal toys.)
I got lucky at one sale, though. Someone had a bin of “real” action figures from the ‘90s, and while many were duds, I plucked out a nice pile. Two-Face and two Jokers! Owen Hart! Some rat from Biker Mice From Mars! A warrior troll with eyes that no longer light up!
Pay special attention to that Sting figure on the far right. I know he’s a little hard to see, but it’s basically a giant Sting head with excessively tiny hands and legs. It makes no sense. It’s as if Sting’s father was Grand Inquisitor Kray-Tor. I couldn’t leave without him.
Huge Collection of Videocassettes!
Price: 25 cents each
Annnd now we’re up to the big one. At the very last sale we went to, a family had a huuuuge bin stuffed with old videocassettes. Immediately spotting The Lost Boys, I knew I’d find more treasures in there.
I was barely a fifth of my way through when I realized that I wanted a LOT of those tapes. To be safe, I asked about the price. (I love finding old videos at yard sales, but they need to be cheap. You’ll sometimes meet people who want $2 per video, which in everyday terms is like paying fifteen bucks for a Snapple.)
“Oh, gah, those, gah, I just want them gone. Gah, gimme a quarter each.”
Shown above are around half of the videos I went home with. Highlights include:
1) Stephen King’s It! Two tapes for a quarter! As a nice bonus, the case has stickers from one of the video stores I grew up with. (To hell with value; I always prefer old my old tapes to be defaced with video store stickers.)
2) House! No, not the TV series — I’m talking about the fantastic 1986 horror movie starring George Wendt and the reanimated corpse of a marlin.
3) Two different WWF videos from the mid ‘90s! (Probably the most valuable tapes in the lot, but definitely the only tapes that star Ahmed Johnson.)
The videos that aren’t shown above were even more intriguing. I bought a bunch of tapes that were possibly taped off television. If I’m lucky, I just stumbled upon an absolute goldmine of ancient TV commercials.
Total Spent This Week: $17
Overall, I guess I didn’t find anything that warrants skywriting, but I certainly made out well enough to see if my luck continues next Saturday.