Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Estate Sale!

Phew! All I can say is it was incredible! You definitely don't come across many estate sales like this one. It was the house of a woman who worked as a set/fashion designer for Warner Bros in the 30's. I also heard that she designed the house and a lot more. I was guilty of sleeping in a little, and arrived about an hour after it had started at 11. BAD idea! There were tons of dealers and junkers in a huge line in the driveway, and I ended up picking a number (in the hundreds) and taking my spot in line. Luckily I met another awesome junker- actually a dealer- Sue! She even has a blog (Vintage Rescue Squad) which you should definitely check out! After exchanging stories and vintage finds, what seemed like an hour went by and it was time. Walking in the house, I saw people everywhere snatching this and that... I immidiately spied my vintage fashion art upon the walls. There were original paintings/designs by the woman who lived there, when she worked for Warner Bros. in the 30's. They were incredible. I was determined to get them, till I saw the hefty price tag of $95! For a guy who considers a $30 midcentury sofa expensive, I had to pass them up. I ended up getting a few miscellaneous things, including a dress from the 60's, pink gloves and shoes from the 50's (I think), 3 metal 50's kitchen chairs (I actually needed a set), a couple hats from the 30's/40's, a vintage parasol, and a few other small things. I had my heart set on those fashion designs, but I told myself to come back Saturday when things were half off.

And I did come back! And things went well...ish. I found there were 3 of the 9 fashion paintings left. I snatched them up, but realized I only had $50 with me. Dilemma. I talked to the woman running the estate sale (Jane Heller), who seemed nice friday, but I soon experienced her other side. She said she would accept $125 for all 3 (everything was half off that day). I told her I had $50, but that I could leave the $50 and run back home to get the $75. Here was her reaction.

Let me preface this by saying I don't necessarily have a problem with the idea behind what she said- I was just very offended by the way she said it. Now, say this out loud in a bitter angry tone of voice:

Her: "NO. No, absolutely not. You need to put all those back right now, or make a decision over which one you'd like to get. There could be other people interested in those, and I don't have time for this."

Me: silent but distressed, but I get where she's coming from...

Her: (loud voice in a room full of people) "Listen, you need to make a decision NOW. I need to run a business. You may think I'm a BITCH, but everyone else here thinks I'm the person who makes it fair. Now CHOOSE."

I was mortified! Maybe it wasn't that big a deal, but I hate confrontations, let alone ones in front of people where I'm played to be the bad guy! It wasn't quite as brief as that makes it seem either. She played it out as though I had said something nasty to her, and a couple people had given me looks like I was the one yelling at her! I was so embarrassed. I feel like it was very unprofessional and unnecessary of her... If she had simply said "No, we can't do that" or something along those lines I would have gotten the message, and maybe been a little disappointed, but would have been fine otherwise! And to top it off, she remained bitter to me throughout the end of the sale. Later I had asked about a vintage shower curtain (had pom-poms that I loved). She said the ones in the bathroom at the top of the stairs weren't for sale. I said it was a different bathroom, off the back bedroom. Out of nowhere she yells "I don't have TIME for THIS! They're NOT for sale!" and storms out of the room, leaving me speechless (again, with people looking). I guess I might be overreacting...but I just hate snide remarks (let alone being yelled at) by people, let alone people I met 5 minutes ago! What do you think?

To top my luck off, after going home and getting the money, calling to confirm they were there (they were but she wouldn't hold them), and driving back (through DC traffic), I walk in the door as a woman is standing in the checkout line with both in her hands...gah!

Still, I LOVE the one I got.. Isn't this fantastic?! The camera lightened the color a little, but you get the idea. It's so cupcake-like! Little floof at the waist with a dollop of icing and sprinkles on top!


  1. HOLY CRAP.... that lady got the "Bitch" part right. I hate it when dealers or People in a sale do that. I have a Vendetta agingts this guy in Kansas who runs "Big G's Antiques". 2 years ago I found an original Eames Lamp for $3 but it was missing the square fiberglass shade. So I hunt all over and I go into this guys antique shop. and he had a Floor lamp with a fiberglass shade. So I walk ove rnad look the lamp over and I take the lamp off and Put it on my lamp to see how its gonna look and this "guy" (if you want to call him that) 'Big G' as it were storms up to me and Says "that shade isnt for sale!" I say "Oh?" He says "YEAH, IT IS PART OF THE FLOOR LAMP AND THEY SELL TOGETHER FOR $50" He was so rude to me I dropped my manners and Said "Well I was prepared to but the whole lamp, that type writer and lawn chair over there...." Before He coulD speak I grabbed my lamp opened the Door and said "BUT IM SURE THE PEOPLE AT THE ANTIQUE MALL CAN HELP ME..." and stepped out on the side walk so Mad I could hardly see stright! Well Out comes 'Big G' and says "now wait a minuet maybe we could..' I say "Go back in and talk this over... NOT ON YOUR LIFE! Oh and since you are so worried about what kind of people are buying your merchandise, I'll tell all my friends at the Heritage society TO STEER CLEAR and just go to the antique mall." he walked behind me for 3 blocks... and I have never been back in his store. I WILL NEVER go back into his store.. and to top it all off, Walked into the Antique Mall, and found my square lamp shade for $20... I feel the Victor in this story :)

  2. Hi! I just popped over from Vintage Rescue Squad. :o) What a story - my only thought is that if she was family, maybe she was dealing with a lot of emotions and that would explain why she was short-tempered?

    Anyway, the print you got looks great! And I'm excited to check back often on your blog as I love finding other vintage lovers! ;o) cheers.

  3. Except she wasn't family- she was the owner of the estate sale co.! But in her defense it was a very packed weekend and I'm sure she was tired... It's not a print though- it's the original painting! And thanks- it's always fun to find new vintage lovers!

  4. I'm not normally a confrontational person but let me tell you, had someone yelled at me like that I most definitely would have yelled right back at her. Yes, I'm sure she was tired and had probably had some "moments" with other shoppers but for her to be that nasty is completely out of line. Usually it's the other shoppers who are rude, not the people who run the sale. At least you got away with some nice stuff--I went to an estate sale this weekend and was lucky enough to have a great experience with the company people which might have had something to do with the amount of money I spent. I was there on the second day, 20% off, and things were still pretty pricey. Experiences like you had just toughen you up for the next time!

  5. Hi Nick! I just came over from Sue's blog. You're right--that woman was inexcusibly bitchy! I don't care if it was a long day and she was tired, she's the business owner and needs to pull it together! I mean really, can you imagine walking into a retail store and getting treated like that by the owner or an employee? Sheesh.

    Anyway, you still found great stuff. The painting is gorgeous, and I love the pink shoes you found too!

  6. I think I might have told that lady to go jump in the lake. Well, more like the "f-ing" lake. How incredibly RUDE!!!!!!!

    *I love it that you are YOUNG and a MAN and that you love VINTAGE!

  7. Thanks for the kind words everyone! It's definitely nice to hear it from someone else that that lady was out of line!

    I love those shoes too!! I've been mostly furniture up to now, but really want to branch into vintage clothes a little more... Time to start learnin'!

    And Shara, thanks! Besides Mick, I can't imagine many other guys around our age interested in this stuff haha!

  8. Hi Nick - I'm over from Sue's blog at Vintage Rescue Squad. From reading your posts, you seem like a really nice guy and why someone would treat you that badly is inexcusable. Good grief - doesn't she read Miss Emily! I wish I'd been there, I would have given her WHAT FOR.

    P.S. I LOVE all that great stuff you got from the Craigslist guy for $50. Talk about a score!


  9. Woah...that's a nasty reaction. Thankfully, I've never ever had that happen to me, and I'm an old guy who likes vintage and thrift. I have had some people be quick and terse at some of the fancy flea markets like Brimfield and at The Garage in New York, but never a reaction like that. I'm certain these are few and far between! Stan

  10. Yea, I don't think I'll have another confrontation like that any time soon... Part of me wonders if its my age- a lot of people don't really know "how much" I get and love this stuff...which I guess is understandable since most people my age don't... Oh, and Stan I actually went to Brimfield for the first time last year! Definitely a lot of great stuff, but my GOD the prices!

  11. Hi Nick! This would have been my DREAM SALE!!!! I am about to graduate with my bachelor's degree in film history and classical Hollywood is my favorite era. I actually wrote my undergrad thesis on fashion design in the 1940s. I so wish I could have been at this sale and bought some pieces of Hollywood history! Great finds and the print is amazing!!!!!!!