Monday, July 7, 2014

On getting keyed up at an estate sale

Last weekend netted one of my dream scenario estate sales. All of my lax, random criteria were met or exceeded: family run, out in the country, piles to pick through, displayed nicely but not too nicely, very reasonably priced and there were OUTBUILDINGS (2 of them!).

So many campground signs.

Bonus! (and possible new criteria): The sale was being run by four handsome brothers.

There was just one little flaw at this otherwise perfect sale and I’ll simply refer to that as The Barnacle.*

While passing by the giant FREE pile on my way to the good stuff in Building #1, The Barnacle, who had stacked her purchases next to the free pile, greeted me by saying, “Don’t touch those! They’re mine!” even though the only touching was WITH MY EYES as I walked by.

So many enamel numbers.

 I filled a box with my purchases and left it with brother #3 in building #1 while I headed to building #2 which was manned by brother #4. 

Years of experience with sleeping in arriving at estate sales hours after they’ve opened has forced me to fine-tune my ability to detect things that were missed or skipped over by earlier buyers.

So many interesting old keys.

I reached for a massive ring of keys that had been overlooked because it was hanging between studs on a garage wall and *like magic* there at my elbow was The Barnacle. She hovered behind me to see if I was buying the keys while her husband yelled out from across the garage, “Hon! I can’t believe you missed those keys your first time through here.”

Sorry, Hon.

I now had an estate sale shadow following me and I didn't know why since The Barnacle appeared to have been finished with her shopping when I arrived. Maybe it caused her anxiety to see me swooping in and making piles of the things she rejected. Maybe she thought I knew something about the junk that she didn’t. Maybe missing out on that ring of keys caused her to question all of her life choices. 

We'll never know. 

So many Wheaties cereal prizes - Frank Buck explorer's sun watches. 

I do know at this point there were only two shoppers in this 3-car garage, myself and The Barnacle, and as I dug through a very small box, she suddenly appeared again, standingrightnexttome, and stuck her hands in the same small box where my hands were already busy rummaging.

What exactly was happening here?!

Much to my surprise, my outside voice, which would usually try for a more diplomatic approach at first, just blurted out “Are you stalking me?”  #personalspace

And I was completely ignored. 

At this point I had to make some decisions.

Should I get into a Barnacle-Stalker girl fight in a (handsome) stranger’s garage at an estate sale?

No. Because that is a completely ridiculous idea.

So many old Pacific Northwest license plates.

But if I did, would it affect my ability to buy the stuff I had left behind with (handsome) Brother #3 in garage #1?

Probably. And that would be NOT GOOD.

Could The Barnacle take me down pretty easily?

ABSOLUTELY. Small rambunctious pets have knocked me over. I was no match for her.

So I stepped away from the box and The Barnacle. 

Why? Because there is so much junk in the world, more than enough for everyone, that it’s just not worth being another Barnacle at an estate sale. And I’m more than okay with that.

I did buy the keys. All 446 of them. Sorry, Hon.


*To describe a tenacious person or thing. 


  1. Nasty lady, don't like to run into those kind of people at a sale.

  2. This made me CACKLE OUT LOUD! I love it so much.

  3. OMG unbelievable! Appropriately named "Barnacle". Well, you are so right about enough junk in the world. Good going on the keys!

  4. I loved your post. Sadly there are barnacles everywhere you go. I know that the keys felt like a small victory for you and I am happy that YOU got them. Love those enamel numbers.


  5. Wow what great finds! I love all those keys!....I can't believe you got 446!!! :) Good thing she missed them!! Have a lovely week!! xo Holly

  6. cool camp signs. your dream almost turned into a nightmare, sounds like the husband and wife were made for each other. i think you hit it on the head when you said "Maybe missing out on that ring of keys caused her to question all of her life choices" too funny.

  7. Oh my goodness, what a load! Those enamel numbers are fabulous, it's all fabulous. I laughed all the way through this one. I can see it now, you and the Barnacle fighting it out. Every town has their own Barnacle...we named ours the "B" word, lol. She's bad, she's really bad.

  8. I still can't get over your crazy good finds at this sale...and with four brother eye candy as well! I think those barnacles unfortunately exist in many estate sales...and the perfect word to describe such a person!

  9. Love this post. I must share this with my husband who is an even better estate sale shopper than I am. His height often helps him spot things left behind, He would totally love your massive stash of keys and the reference to barnacle.

  10. I think that most of us have a Barnacle in our lives. Mine likes to take things out of my hands and say "Oh, thank you for picking that up for me". It wasn't funny the first time or the 50th. Once I even caught her asking Maddie what she had found. Lucky for me, my girl is way too smart to fall for that. But one of these days, those teenage hormones are gonna hit and the lady may not like what Maddie has to say:-)

    Are you going to the Expo this weekend?


  11. Those keys are amazing! Hey, barnacle is a great description of that 'person'. I've seen them at sales also. Creepy!

  12. BTW, did you buy those enamel numbers? Are they in your shop? Am I being gauche now???

  13. Um. You have possibly penned my favorite post EVER about an estate sale. Thanks so much for the hee haw. And I'm sorry about the Barnacle experience. Estate sales frequently bring out the WORST in people. I get it, I feel that urge myself, that urge to elbow and jostle and push to the front to be the first in line for the best stuff, but I TAMP IT DOWN as should all of us who call ourselves civilized, BARNACLE. And look at you, you're living proof that a calm, polite demeanor STILL nets you some of the most awesome stuff EVER. You have the same skill that Shara does -- it doesn't matter what time she shows up at a sale, she is ALWAYS going to find the coolest stuff. It's a gift, and I'm glad to see you valuing it as much as you do. As a sacrifice to the Estate Sale Gods, in order to stay in their favor, you might want to send me those keys. Just sayin'.

  14. Such a funny post! At least you scored all those keys AND those great enamel numbers!

  15. Ugh sounds like a pain but at least there were handsome brothers around!

  16. LOLOLOLOL!!! I do believe that she has an evil barnacle twin her in Central California. How dare she reach into the box! I've had this very experience..hence the evil twin thought. I had to pull up my big girl panties and say, "Do you mind!!? I will happily give you the box when I am done with it!" It made her back off, but then she started going through my "pile" to buy. The nerve......

    Great finds! I love sales like this. They are few and far between. Good for you!!!!!!!

  17. "The Barnacle" that cracks me up. We call them "sidelers." I once told one I was going to tie a cow bell around her neck so I could hear her coming.

  18. I grrr when I go into the mouse poo outbuildings, dig in the BACK of poo filled cabinets, bring out into the light of day, items, that the estate sale organizers don't even know that they have, in other their job for them...and then they price it like it's the Mona Lisa. When I have to walk away, I just realize that there will be another day. I got shouted at this weekend, too. Diggers Unite!:) Laura

  19. A person like that is so funny and at the same time - a little scary! I like the term "Barnacle". It fits her perfect. I was at an estate sale once and there was a box of vintage baby clothes. The same thing happened to me. She just butted in and started going thru the box. Come on people, have some manners!

    I am new to your blog and your newest follower.


  20. The Barnacle! LOL! I love it! A perfect name. We've all had a barnacle in our yardsaling lives! I once was looking through a free box when a male barnacle swooped in and snatched up the whole box. He nearly took my hands with it!

    I'm new to your blog and enjoying it immensely.

    Also a Judy

  21. LMAO... I've had Barnacles stalk me thru a Junquing Adventure... Creepy! I think you handled it quite diplomatically... I usually blurt out quite loudly, "You're totally creeping me out okay?!?" But I agree... there's more than enough Junque in the World for everyone to 'score' their fair share... I just don't like Shadows and Barnacles casting a dark cloud over an otherwise Glorious Adventure I'm on! *winks* Glad you swooped up all the keys... bet Barnacle is STILL fuming about it! *LOL* Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


I love this part! Thanks for your comment.