When I first moved to the East Bay I was depressed and demoralized by the lack of good thrifty-vintagey shopping to be had. That sounds hyperbolic, but I assure it isn't, ask Matthew. I was downright UPSET. Everyone here knows how valuable the stuff I like is, unlike in Massachusetts where they sell it for $3.50 or even leave it on the side of the road for you. No, here they take what would be $3.50 back home and charge you $80 for it (not kidding, literally - it's maddening).
Then one day as I was driving to do an errand I saw a sign on the road for an estate sale just up the street. Being a person who likes to make erratic and sudden turns in traffic, I cut towards it, found street parking, held my brave, and went into my first estate sale.
I quickly caught on to the importance of estate sales in the Bay Area; they are where the shit I want enters into the for-sale-stream and where you can indeed purchase things for $3.50. So I made a rule for myself (for when I'm driving): I am not allowed to NOT go to an estate sale if I see a sign for one. It's a good rule, it's how I have furnished and decorated our apartment for the most part.
At these sales you are invited to sign up for list serves, so naturally I have signed up for all of them. That means every Friday I get several emails about estate sales all over the East Bay, and every Friday I agonize about whether or not to go to them. I am afflicted with what I am just now calling Potential Estate Sale Hyperventilation Syndrome (PESHS) in which as soon as I park I start to feel tingly and slightly panicked and I want to have a remote control that pauses everyone around me so that I can take things out of their arms and rifle through cabinets without competition. You laugh, but I assure you that it's actually quite an uncomfortable condition, one that I'm not always up for. Remember my basket ordeal?
So this Friday I got an email from my favorite estate sale company, Dan May Estates, who I hope to get to know personally someday as the two who run it are endlessly intriguing with their stylish glasses and unstoppable good attitudes, and it said:
Pretty hard to resist, right? And there were photos:
You see that there midcentury Danish wall unit? That is EXACTLY what I've been hunting for on Ebay and the like for my new friend and client Jessica's house. We need two of them to flank a couch and they need to be cheap (hah!). So I sent her the email and found myself in line with her 2 hours later.
Now, going to estate sales on the day they open is something I've never done. I've always figured, why bother? Dealers get there early, they have cash to spend, they know what's good, and the sellers aren't up for negotiating at all (not that I'd ever try - you know how not-brave I am). But it's been months since I've been to one and I like hanging out with Jessica and well, who knows, maybe I'll find some random odds and ends I didn't know I couldn't live without. I honestly had no hopes that the wall unit would still be available by the time we were let in. And we needed two anyway. The line was long and moving terrifically slow, so much that we eventually asked each other if we should just call it a day when all of a sudden they let in a bunch of people (or maybe a bunch of people forced the issue, probably that) and we were in!
We immediately set about looking for the unit to see if it had a sold sign on it (I was SURE it would). We found it in the back righthand room, still for sale, for $300. What's fun about Jessica is that she also suffers from PESHS and so we both kind of calmly freaked out and made impulsive decisions and looked slightly crazed. Yes she should buy it! Yes, she will buy it! She ran to tell the stylish lady in charge that she wanted it and discovered that there was another matching one, double the size, in the other room. She bought them both immediately as I rifled through the kitchen (with competition) and then we hugged and squealed and just couldn't believe it.
Whew. Having settled that, we went about looking at all the other wonderful stuff this poet had collected in his years. Here's what I walked away with: