Friday, October 10, 2014

Cowboy Down - A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers - Part Thirteen - "Tiffany"

Cowboy  Down

A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers

Part Thirteen


            “They (the reader) don’t want the truth.  I’ll say that.  Prove me wrong.  What they want is what we actually do;  make the big hit; buy it CHEAP and get it out of there.  When we do this we know what it (the object) is... in more ways than one.  Then we sell it.  We get the money (profit).  THEN we’re back there (at the thrift stores) doing it again.  In fact, on that, we already told them (Part Nine) we’re back SECONDS after finding that big hit looking for the next one.  That’s what they think this is; hit after hit.  WELL... you know what:  THAT IS what it is.  PUT THAT in your pipe and smoke it.  Ha, ha.  But... BEHIND THAT is the logistics of doing this.  We told you a lot of that (Part Twelve [A-D]).  But... I’m your competition and I’m in there (the thrift stores) going for gold.  Your not gonna beat me and what I know.”
            “So your the little old lady they don’t, like, notice.  Or know about.  So they leave you alone.”
            “Exactly.  Who’s ‘they’?”
            “The ones with the blindfolds on swinging at the piñata (Part Twelve [D]).”
            “Exactly.  Your ‘go figure’.  And they never do.  So what happens to you next?  And what happens with them.”
            “Well... they, ah... well... come around sort of.  You know:  It takes a while.  But they ‘go figure’; you know... the way THEY figure this... so figure... after a while...  I might be someone.  You know:  They find out I’m not there for Halloween:  ‘TRICK OR TREAT!’  Right?  It’s funny.”

            “And so all the while your just going along pulling the good stuff (best antique and art discoveries) right in front of them.”
            “Yeah.  That’s the starting point.  You know... I’m getting PAID to watch them do this (shop at thrift stores).  I mean... I figure my time and costs and one of those is WATCHING THEM.  Screw up.  I mean really.  That’s part of what I do.  I HAVE to do it really.  Just to stay on top of it (the thrift store marketplace).  You know:  Maybe Mr. Genius is gonna show up some morning.  I mean YOU did.  It was like ‘HOLY SHIT’.  After I saw you like... two times.  You know what I mean.”
            “Oh yeah.  But most of it’s like... not that.”
            “So what’s a normal one.”
            “Well, like Tiffany.”
            “Oh... ok so like... I’ll explain.  Even that (the ‘explain’) is ‘over the top’.  For them (the reader).  But ah...:  It is real (a real scenario).  Soooo... her ‘Tiffany’ is a name she made up for this guy; what is he?”
            “Like an electrician or something.”
            “So... he’s MALE and has a real job and, well... goes to the thrift stores and, well he BUYS what he collects and anything else his, ah... DEEP design background (read: what ‘art’ he sees on ebay and his cell phone), well... ‘speaks to him’.  But, you know, it’s MOSTLY old pottery; STONEWARE, redware.  MAINE (made antique) stoneware, redware.  He keeps that (‘collects’).  All of it.  FOR YEARS.  Like... we’re talking twenty-five years here.  He’s been around.”
            “In my face.”
            “In your face.”
            “Your face too.”

            “Yep.... Soooo... the routine is he finds something HE thinks is good and since that is POTTERY; antique New England ceramics, that’s a... like... what YOU (her and I) are looking for too... but, ah... NOT the full spread... just the HIS spread (the antique New England ceramics he (1) likes, (2) ‘knows about’ and (3) likes... again).  So, like, that means that back there with the Rouen pie plate and the Delft table salt (Parts Twelve [A&B])... he ain’t around.”
            “Never know it; wouldn’t have a clue.”
            “So his in your face is regular old New England pottery no brainers.”
            “Right.  Pretty much all ‘HOPE IT’S NOT A GOOD ONE’.”
            “What’s that mean; explain it to ‘em”.
            “It means that he finds stuff but... when he shows it to me... I... before seeing it... ‘HOPE IT’S NOT A GOOD ONE’; a true good or great specimen of old New England ceramics.”
            “And he wouldn’t know.... a good one.”
            “Well... he’d know a good one.  I guess.  He wouldn’t know a GREAT one.  That’s it really.  I just hope he hasn’t found a total knock out.  He never has.  That I’ve seen.  I think I’d have seen it too.  You know; he’s that confident about whacking on me.”
            “You love him.”
            “I love him.  That’s it.”

            “So... what we are actually talking about is that he IS out there and IS finding stuff that... he shows you to, well, ‘pick you brain’.
            “Yeah.  First he tells me about it.  Like how he bought this whatever for like four bucks.  Then he tries to say what it is but can’t describe it.  So, like, I start to hallucinate that he’s found a great thing and, well, then he shows it to me and then I’m ‘it sucks thank you Jesus’.
            “And that’s been going on for a quarter of a century.”
            “He’s never sold you anything.  Never offered to sell you anything.”
            “And he’s never pulled a brass ring on you (showed her a fabulous specimen that he found).”
            “No pee in the pants.”
            “No.  He’s come close.  But.  It always falls back (doesn’t make it to being ‘GREAT’ ‘ART’).
            “That’s a relief.”
            “That’s a relief.”
            “But he’s there; always around.”
            “So.... and I know where you want me to go with this but before that... in another way... you just trashed him.”
            “He trashed himself.”
            “Well... you cooked him.”
            “So... what happened is one day he showed up and actually hunted you down and what?”

            “He reaches to his pocket and pulls out, like, eighty photographs of all of his stuff (his collection of early New England pottery).  He tells me he wants to sell this stuff and hands the photographs to me.  And they’re (the photographs) pictures of, like, everything he’s found and shown me for the twenty-five years.  And I’m like WHAT.  But I don’t move.  And I, like, just flip through the photos REAL quick.  And hand ‘em back.  Real quick.  And then HE’S like ‘WHAT’.  And then he says ‘Do you want to buy any of that (the pottery in the photographs).  And I go ‘No.”.  And that was it.  Like... for twenty-five years and I just put his cigarette out.  He smokes you know.”
            “Must have blown his mind.”
            “It took a long time.  But I got him.”
            “What do think he’s gonna do (with his pottery collection)?”
            “Try to sell it.”
            “Do you know how?”
            “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
            “With that (selling).  I mean.  He just thinks that we BUY IT.  Ha, ha.  Huh?”
            “That’ll be the end of him?”
            “Oh I think he’ll still poke around but, ah... well... he’s confused now.”

            “So... you call him Tiffany.  That’s, like, a dig.  But ah... not like people would think you mean.  I’ll explain it.  To YOU (the reader).  To us... Tiffany (the jewelry firm and name) is NOT top shelf.  But to many price buyers... and that’s what we’re talking about here; a price buyer is someone who only buys antiques and art if it’s, to them, CHEAP and... THEY think it’s “GOOD”... so, like, ‘Tiffany’ is ‘GOOD’.   But WE know... Tiffany is actually low rent; ‘mall gold’ (mass marketed consumer marketed name branded trashy jewelry).  If they (‘customer’) buy gold.  Usually it’s (they buy) BUY SILVER.  Anyway; it (this expression usage of the word ‘Tiffany’) becomes a whole I-know-what’s-good thing;  a plateau of understanding art for, like... guys (and women too) like this:  Buy it cheap and tell yourself it’s GOOD.  That’s not what it’s about.  It’s not what were talking about here.  It’s not what ‘Tiffany’ is about IN BOTH MEANINGS here.  What does that mean?  It means that’s why we SELL all the stuff we find in thrift stores.  Right away.  The stuff isn’t that good.”
            “Is that a surprise ending?”
            “I don’t think we’re done yet.”
            “Yeah but you just told them that even the good stuff is crap.”
            “I did, didn’t I.”
            “Is it?”

            “IS IT?  Of course it is.  IT’S COMES FROM A THRIFT SHOP.  We’re not on Madison Avenue (NYC ‘upper Madison’ antiques and art galleries).”
            “Right; we don’t find great art and antiques in thrift stores.  GREAT art and antiques are actually RARE... in addition to being great art or antiques.  So, logically, we don’t find them, in thrift stores.  One COULD find something sometime that is maybe an almost there towards a that of be a ‘great’ but, ah... don’t bet on it.  And what we just said is that our competition IS believers that, especially what THEY find, is ‘great’.  Even though it’s a ‘price buy’...only.  And WE sell that stuff; get the profit in hand.”
            “Does that touch some nerves?”
            “Most of the time no one knows what we are talking about.  They are just like ‘Tiffany’ in... again... BOTH meanings.”
            “We are all get in (buy) and get out (sell).  That’s what (antiques and art) ‘pickers’ DO.  The thrift store is just... ‘A’ ... setting.  Now... you’ve got to go back to the (Rouen) pie plate.  And show them.  Just because you bought that and ‘prove’ that it’s ‘good’ doesn’t mean we KEEP IT.  And, in fact, there’s MORE to that plate that makes it SURE that we won’t keep it.  And what is that?  WE JUST TOLD YOU:  The plate is not that good.  AND there are better plates and worse plates... for Tiffany to KEEP.  Forever.  Because he bought it cheap.”
            “It’s stupid”.
            “But it’s very real.  This is what we see the most of from our competition; ‘KEEPERS’ that they think are ‘GREAT’.
            “Then twenty-five years later they suddenly want to sell it (a ‘KEEPER’).
            “They’re very shrewd and understand the (antiques and art) market very well.”

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