If you’ve never been to an estate sale, you haven’t fully lived. Why? Because an estate sale means you are walking around the home of someone who likely just died. All of their possessions are priced and laid out on tables, and a bunch of strangers are milling around touching everything. That’s weird. And I’m one of those strangers. A part of me feels like I should be somber and dressed in black when I go to these things, but honestly, I just want bargains on cool stuff. I justify it because I truly love the things I buy. Better those vintage Anchor Hocking glasses go home with me than to Goodwill. Who knows what unappreciative lout they’ll end up with there?
Sometimes it’s the family who runs the sale, and sometimes it’s a company. They’re called “estate liquidation companies.” Clinical and cold-sounding, I know. That’s why they have names like “Caring Transitions” and “As Time Goes By.” They are professionals at organizing, pricing, and executing the sale of stuff left behind when you are gone.
I think of these sales as antique stores without antique store prices. This equation usually holds up: Estate Sale=Old People=Cool Old Stuff
AND the last day is usually half-price. Heaven.
There is one estate sale company in Milwaukee that seems to have the corner on the market. They have a suspiciously large number of sales. They’re called “Prestige” and they’re hardly prestigious. I hate them. Here’s why:
1. They have an “estate sale with antique store prices” policy
2. They refuse to barter. Ever. I’ve tried.
3. They are always having a sale. Ratty orange signs advertising 60% off are an insult.
I avoid sales by this company now, but before I knew better, I would become so irate my blood would boil. Five dollars for this old cookbook?! Are you insane?? Oh, it’s 60% off? Well, in that case…Ugh!
For some unhealthy reason, and for which I am supremely embarrassed, I felt it my duty to steal from these people.
Everything about these sales seemed like a major injustice. I would show them. I would steal this Santa Claus-riding-a-bike-plastic-canvas-magnet and teach them a lesson!
And even now, I wonder if stealing this makes me a horrible person. I mean, can a horrible person even own a bike-riding-Santa-magnet? Is that possible? My brain tells me it’s wrong to steal, but that part of me that feels entitled to a bargain is powerful and it tells me that I’m right. And maybe, just maybe, the dead person who spent an hour of their life creating this Santa magnet would want me to have it.