Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not all estate sales yield gold.

Playing right now: Gerry Mulligan - Complete Pacific Jazz Quartet stuff

Quintessential beatnik music if you ask me. Man, a few hours ago I couldn't stay awake trying to listen to a record and now here I am online. Well the morning's treks to estate sales yielded a few interesting tales....and little else.

I think I'm now part of the early bird contingent. I'm not in with the early birds, but at each of the 3 estate sales I visited, I got there early and waited in line until they started. Now, okay, I may be one of those people, but I'm not one of those people. For instance, I wouldn't light up a cigarette (if I smoked) while waiting in line in your front yard. Maybe a decade or so ago, that was no big deal, but the guy behind me was doing that today and it just seemed a little inconsiderate. Where did he put the butt when he was done?! Probably on the ground. Nice fella. Hey pal, mind if I ditch this empty coffee cup in YOUR yard? Dude, it's biodegradeable. Chill, man.

Also, if I'm waiting in line and you come around the back to put your garbage cans out at the curb, I won't badger you about where to enter the house and get snotty when I don't like your answer.

OK, time to switch voices and tell you what happened. See, we're waiting in line, a few of us having come from another uneventful estate sale a few blocks away. This one where we're waiting was on a fancy part of Beechwood Blvd. This guy comes around the back with the cans like I said. And a guy in line asks if we're at the right door. In his defense (which I'll retract in a minute), one of the signs on the streets said the sale started at 8, and it was about 8:15 by this time so we could've been in the wrong place. But the paper listed 8:30, the correct time.

Owner says the auctioneer who's running the sale will be there soon. Guy in line: "So this is a pro sale?" Owner doesn't understand what he means. Guy gets impatient -- you know a professional sale. Owner kind of stumbles over his words but explains, yeah it's an auctioneer but it's not an auction.

Well I guess the guy in line didn't like the answers and mumbled something about the owner "not speaking English" so he left. It was ridiculous. You get here early, wait in line and when the guy doesn't speak clearly and doesn't get your lingo, it's suddenly not worth it. That just leaves more stuff for us.

Not that he missed anything. The auctioneer guy was a smarmy so-and-so who tried to hoodwink me with the records I picked up. I found a David Thomas (Pere Ubu) album, a single by Young Lust (old Pgh band) and a bunch of flexidiscs from Trouser Press magazine. I asked if he'd take $3.

He wanted $15.

AND he tried to convince me that since the Young Lust record had "special edition" written on it, that it was real valuable. "There's about $70 worth of stuff here." If that wasn't enough of an insult, he tried to convince me that Jerry's Records would sell that single alone for $15. "I know Jerry. He give me low prices and then mark it up at the store."

Yeah, you know Jerry. I can tell by your lack of knowledge here. But as a good auctioneer, he talked all over me and twisted his words around to try to reinforce his point. There was no use trying to get my point across. I left the records there.

Ironically the owner of the house played in local punk band years ago and was a nice guy. We talked a little when he saw me carting the records around. I hope he saw them laying on the table after I left, realized the auctioneer was alienating people and got annoyed at the him.

Today was the first day I came home empty handed from estate sales.

But it didn't matter because when I looked on the porch this morning before I left, the Andrew Hill album I won (Andrew!!) was sitting there. I listened to it over breakfast and was almost late for work.

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