You know how you sometimes have that feeling that you’re in an episode of Candid Camera – like when your skirt flies up in the air and everyone sees your undies or something like that. Well, today I wasn’t thankfully in an episode of “Candid Camera” but I truly felt like I was in an episode of “American Pickers”. I’m not sure if you know the show, but in a nutshell it’s about a couple of antique dealers who go on the road with their van in search of treasures hidden under the trash of people’s garages, barns, houses, cars, whatever. They buy stuff for very little money and end up selling it for a lot.
For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that I am in the midst of packing my mum up and bringing her to Croatia with me. One of the jobs of packing her up is getting rid of anything that she doesn’t need. And there’s A LOT of stuff she doesn’t need. I have been slowly sifting through it and plan to have a garage sale this weekend. But there’s some stuff that doesn’t belong in a garage sale, old china and glassware, for example. So I called up a gentleman called “Irish John”, an antique dealer, to come see some stuff. We agreed over the phone that he would come between 11h and 12h but he actually came at 9h (while I was in the midst of brushing my teeth!). So I gargled the toothpaste, spat it out and showed him to the table where I had spread out all the china and glassware. He looks at every single piece, turning it over, turning it around. We talk the whole time, about the trip back, about music, about life in general. He then turns to me and says “do you have anything else?”. “I’ve got a whole garage full of stuff”, I answer, “but I’m not sure if you’d be interested in it”. “Let’s go have a look”, he says. So we make our way to the garage and he starts sifting through the masses of stuff I have accumulated in there from the house, from boxes of buttons to tools to pictures to god knows what else. “You selling all this?” “Yep, make me an offer I can’t refuse”. So he starts with the wooden ladder (wanted to take it with me but it doesn’t fold up) – $50. Step ladder – $10. Collection of buttons – $30. Metal shelves – $20. And so he goes on. And on!
We then return into the house and he says “I saw a pair of chairs that I was interested in. Can we have a look at them?” I can’t begin to imagine which chairs he’s interested in. The only chairs my mum has are the kitchen chairs and the dining room chairs which are not at all interesting to an antiques dealer. “They’re in that room over there”. So we go over there. Ah, those, I think to myself. OK, what do you offer me. Well, a pair of chairs that I had planned to sell for $10 each fetched a whopping $200!
He pays me the money and loads the stuff up. And the whole time I’m thinking, where’s the hidden camera? As well as, how much money have I lost? So if there happens to be an Australian version of “American Pickers”, please don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know that a pair of chairs I sold for a “whopping” $200 and thought were junk fetch $2000 at an auction…