Yard sales and thrift stores. These are my favorite places to shop.
I am not a treasure hunter the way the re-sellers are that comb people's shops and garages for anything they can turn into profit. I am in general looking for useful, fun, sturdy things to use and repurpose. I do end up paying more than I want sometimes but the majority are deals I am comfortable with.
Just last week I was looking for treasure and came across a stack of three old card tables. I am always on the lookout for tables I can use at the farmers' markets and craft shows. For one, the old ones are far sturdier than anything new. For two, they are a rare find because no one gets rid of their sturdy stuff. I was immediately elated upon sight of these tables and even more so at the marked price of $5 each. I was testing the first one's legs when a man walked up with an armload of other stuff and said, "Those are mine." A re-seller. I was crushed. I really wanted at least one of those tables. He would not give however so I just said bummer and went about looking at old cross stitch magazines.
I don't fault re-sellers. It is first come-first served, and I would have snatched them up first if I could have. I do feel some pain yet for not getting there a few minutes earlier than he. I actually have moped about it for days. To be so close to something I would have loved forever, well I'm just sad about it. How funny to be so attached to something that was never mine for even a second.
I don't believe in luck, fortune or karma but some of you might think one or more power was at work for me yesterday. We were up visiting the boy in Grand Junction yesterday when along the way I saw a yard sale sign that read Sunday Only. That alone was unusual, I thought. Sunday Only. I said, OK, we'll go pick up the boy and then stop at this yard sale first thing. They were only a few blocks apart after all, right?
No, I didn't find any card tables. I am certain that was a once in a lifetime thing. I did find some other treasure that made me feel much better about my bad timing last week: a handmade pine bench, a brand new green (squee!) and white birdhouse I am certain has never been outside, and a vintage school desk. Since I am one to brag I will tell you I paid a total of $13 for the three of them, and I did well bargaining. Well, not with the school desk. I asked if it was for sale and the father said yes. The son said, "It's mine." so I asked the son how much he wanted for it. The father let him answer and handled the much less than expected price with grace and almost imperceptibly keen self control. He then said it was an antique (it's not) and looked at his son. I looked back at the son but he was firm on his price ($5). I politely didn't try to talk him down because I thought his dad wouldn't be able to handle it, poor man. I'm going to use it in my potting shed, hee!
Here they are. See how the birdhouse is the identical color green as the house-house? Treasure!