Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cut Throat

For those of you who aren’t in the know because you haven’t taught in an urban public school, if someone is cut throat, they’re ruthless. For example, “Ya’ll be cut throat stealin’ my Flamin’ Hots!” Someone who is cut throat is sneaky, selfish, and can’t be trusted. Although it’s not my nature, when it comes to thrifting, I need to be cut throat.

Normally I don’t bother with rummage sales. They’re usually full of baby clothes and really crappy knick-knacks. It’s mostly stuff that people buy, and then put out at their garage sale 3 years later. This is not to say that I haven’t had some great finds at rummage sales, it’s just that they’re few and far between. I mean, you can find good stuff occasionally, just like you can find needles in haystacks.

I recently went to one garage sale because it was described as “the contents of an antique mall booth.” Ok, sign me up. No baby clothes here. Walking up the driveway, I spotted 2 fabulous red chairs. Awesome. Totally worth it. They looked like this:

I love chairs like this. They deserve to be nestled under a smooth, chrome-legged Formica table. Convenient--I happen to own just the table! At 3 dollars apiece, these chairs were a steal. I was going to buy these chairs.

I’d just do a quick scan of the stuff in the garage, grab the chairs, and be on my way. No need to worry about those three collegey-looking, Abercrombie-wearing girls over there—definitely not a threat. They don’t like cool stuff. But wait—one is walking toward my chairs. Just be cool…nothing to worry about...AH! She’s calling her friend over! “I dunno, should I buy these?” Should you buy those?! NO!

Ok. Breathe. Think. I casually approach the girls. “Were you gonna to buy these chairs?” I hear myself asking, like a complete idiot. “Yeah,” the girl is saying, “I think so.” I grit my teeth. I am so nonchalant. “Oh, okay.” I walk away and pretend to seriously consider a purse.

Stupid! Not only did I just convince her to buy the chairs, now there’s no way I can possibly have them. Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut, wait for them to inevitably walk away, and take the chairs I so clearly deserve to own more?!

Except that I didn’t deserve those chairs more. I failed because I was trying to be nice. I should’ve taken them before anyone else had the chance. Survival of the fittest. And if I’m going to be the fittest thrifter around, I need to be cut throat.


  1. It's a dog eat dog world in treasure hunting land!
    Love the story, thanks for sharing.

  2. Something similar happened to me receb=ntly. I saw three wicked awesome wooden box purses from across the room at a recent estate sale I was at. After the angels began to sing, I started to float over to them on a cloud and a lady snagged them. Gah! Later, I saw they were listed online for 20 times the price of the boxes. double GAH!!!!!

  3. Ha! When I heard my mom say to someone, "If you don't want that, I'll take it," I thought, "No!!!!!" There's no surer way to get someone to take something. I suppose some things you have to learn the hard way.