If you like to “dig” and you live in a city, chances are your thrift stores are picked over. I feel that way in LA. There’s simply too many shoppers, too many eyes, too many hands, too many hipsters, trendoids, collectors & fashionistas working their way through the racks at Out of the Closets and Goodwills (although the one in Arcadia is pretty damn good). In reaction to the dwindling pickings, BF and I have become estate sale people, or more simply put, weirdos who willingly go through the items of the extremely recently deceased seeking an insane bargain. The world of the estate sale was recently profiled in Los Angeles Magazine, specifically, the estate sales of one rather persnickety lady named Cynthia Abernathy. We try to be on our best behavior at her sales, so as not to get banned or thrown out. We hit one of her sales recently in Altadena and I got some decent stuff I think. For just $9!
What’s in this little basket?
- a potato ricer, with which to make awesome mashed potatoes ($2)
- garlic press
- 2 boxes of Dutch pancake mix (PANNEN KOEKEN!)
- 3 German beer glasses
- a glass doo-dad to put on top of a wine bottle so you can use the bottle as a candle holder! (BF was skeptical about the general usefulness of this item)
- 2 decorative tiles. The back of the floral one says it is from Greece. The little blue & white one is from Holland.
- Fannie Farmer cookbook, 1965 edition
- 2-CD set of Chopin nocturnes
A new potato ricer costs about $15 so I’m pretty happy about this little haul. Was it stuff I needed? Not terribly. But it’s not about the stuff. It’s a little bit about the voyeurism of the estate sale. When I first started playing video games on my PC (games like Kings Quest), I used to hate how limited the game world felt — I suppose it was anticipatory longing for the open sandbox world of the GTA franchise. I wanted to play a game where you could walk around inside of houses and just open the drawers and poke around, making assumptions about what kind of lives the occupants lived. Guess what?! That’s exactly what you feel when you hit these sales. You might start to feel a little ghoulish peering into bathrooms and opening desk drawers…but I swear. It reminds me of what I wanted in a video game all those years ago.
And there you have it, the nerdiest justification you will ever hear for going to an estate sale.