Friday, October 17, 2014

Cowboy Down - A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers - Part Fifteen - "No Delusion No Confusion"

(This photograph shows a sign in front of a thrift store
The sign means “bag sale today”
A bag sale is a thrift shop sale practice of allowing the filling of a
Whole bag for a flat dollar price
Of, like,
Two bucks
Many thrift shop shoppers cannot read English
Hence the ‘brown bag’ sign as the sale symbol.)

Cowboy Down

A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers

Part Fifteen

"No Delusion No Confusion"

            “Or is it eye?”
            “Oh shut-up.”
            “We’ve given them enough.  It’s time to go.”
            “Given them what?  A confusion?  A delusion?”
            “Yes; those.  Almost a ‘follow us to your death’.  They can’t do this (buy antiques and art at thrift stores... for a living).  Tell them that and leave.”
            “Not on me today, Sonny”.
            “Yes... but... it IS your feeding hour.  Are you getting testy from hunger?”
            “Look:  We’ve been more than generous here and by the time they get done the cognation of a design of an object and crisscrossing that with the design of other related objects... then have tossed in the true amount of their cash expended to, shall I say, ‘get there’ AND then turn toward the unexplained black hole of the antiquarian universe of SELLING their... well... thrift store found THING... it’s not happening.”
            “We knew that before we started.”
            “So we’ve reached the end.  Push them out of the plane and tell ‘em to send us a postcard if their parachute opens... in their BANK ACCOUNT.”
            “You want to go to lunch?”
            “That’s fair.  I suppose.”

            “Ok.  So.... they’re (the reader is) not going to be doing this.  We proved the why and we remind that WE will be doing this so... we are competition.”
            “At the least.  I think we’re actually stomping on their fingers whenever they hold on to something (an object found and thoughts of it being good are turned upon it by the finder).  Also... I don’t feel they easily understand how fast the process is for us.  Its very fast and its perpetual.  There is no hesitation.  We know and take the risks.   This is done very fast over a very broad field of design heritage.  We are not confused or have any delusion.  No confusion.  No delusion.

            “Now just to try to harness that for us to ride to the exit door, let’s just look at you and your lean and mean standards.”
            “What do you mean by that?”
            “You know; no ‘bag sales’.”
            “Oh.  Ok... more ‘shopper tips”.  But... you know... a lot of good they’ll do you if you don’t know what your looking at.”
            “So what.  They want to know.”
            “Ok... so.... no ‘bag sales’.”
            “Right.  That means we do NOT participate in ALL of the ALL SORTS OF... stupid... thrift store gimmick stuff that they do to, well... increase sales of the... well... thrift store crud.  We don’t stuff bag sale bags full of rack rot clothes and then stuff those bags into the rear of our hatchback.”
            “At the least.  That stuff includes tent sales, color of the day sales, stupid sales, closing for the season sales (spring, summer, fall, winter ‘stock’ changes), men’s sales, woman’s sneaker sales, back up your car we’re gonna stuff it full sales.  Hey:  Just say no.”
            “And we’re buying, like, ONE thing way over there that no one noticed.”
            “Yeah like an old Dutch Delft charger they thought was a WHO CARES WHAT THEY THOUGHT IT WAS; they screwed up on that one ha, ha.”
            “Right.  As we just said (part fourteen); it’s a dainty touch.  NOT FORCED.”
            “And that’s devastating.  Remember:  We LEAVE (do not buy) ‘real antiques’ all the time... because they are not good enough.  And they are GONE when we come back.  Someone else bought them.  Ha, ha and I mean that.”
            “Yeah sometimes I see ‘em later in some shop or at a show.  But sometime they’re ‘keepers’ (Part Thirteen).  Do we say ‘YIKES’?”
            “Sorry that sucked your money up.”
            “Yeah, so... ah... your little thrift store book.  Tell us about that.”

            “What’s to tell.  It’s my little black book of thrift stores.”
            “It lists thrift stores you go to.”
            “Right.  A lot of them have folded (gone out of business).
            “But... that’s, like... what... over thirty years.”
            “Oh yeah.”
            “And, like, at least seven states.”
            “I don’t look on it as states.  It’s ROUTES.  You know; Albany (NY) area.  Central Connecticut, the Bronx.  You know; hardball.”
            “The Bronx is hardball?”
            “No.  I never see anyone (she sees no dealers from New England) in the Bronx.  The ROUTE LISTS are hardball”.
            “Yeah.  Ok.  They ARE really cool.  Ah... they’re little slips of paper that have, well, a day of the week at the top and the list of the thrift stores on that route that are open that day.  So like... you can spot a whole days route where ever you are, in seconds.  And the shops are listed in order; driving order.  Right?”
“Right.  They’re my magic cards.”

“So we better say right here that the DRIVING is pretty skillful.  I mean... your not on the highway doing exit seven.  I mean... when your out in the North Bronx or lower Mount Vernon (Westchester County, NY)... I mean... your not using geo-locater crap.”
            “No, no.  It’s the big picture.  I know where I am, where I’m going, the neighborhoods, the parking, the no zones.  The real stuff.  Your not gonna do this driving on the highway.  The thrift stores are usually in odd, neglected and cheap locations.  They come and go too.  Except for church basements and the box store thrifts.  I don’t like those anyway (box store thrifts).  The churches I love.  It’s, like, always a MAZE of old goofy cement wall rooms they call a basement.  They usually have bathrooms to.  You know; clean ones.”
            “They get extra points for that.”
            “Especially on the clean.  Like:  They care.”
            “So you pick a card everyday depending on where you are.”
            “What’s the biggest thing about any card?”
            “No one’s there.  There is no one else doing this.  They’re not there.  I mean maybe some NYC woman selling handbags on ebay or something.  But.  You know:  No Dutch Delft charger stuff.  Forget it”.

            “So most of the time your already over the bridge and AT grandmother’s house.”
            “Right.  Some places its all Spanish.  Black.  Whatever.  No Whites.  Like... Lawrence (Mass.) is all Porto Rican.  It’s really interesting.  Then an hour later it’s only the neatest, tidiest, most carefully folded church basement thrift I’ve ever been in.”
            “And no one bothers you.”
            Never:  No one ever.  They think I’m some old white lady.  I mean; I don’t speak Spanish.  I don’t need to.  And I’m gone in fifteen minutes.  So, like, you know; below radar.  Whatever.”
            “And lunch”
            “And a real hotel at night.”
            “And the girls with you?”
            “Most of the time.  And they say stuff like ‘we should video this’.  I’m like ‘shut-up and don’t take your damn camera out I’ll smash it’.”
            “Welcome to the other world America.”
            “New England.  This is mostly the Northeast.  They (these thrift stores) get old stuff”.
            “What’s better:  The art or the thrift stores where you find the art.”

            “Oh please.  The thrift stores are way better.  They just soaking and dripping humanity.   It’s American humanity too.  I mean:  You want to see the melting pot for real.  GO THERE.  And I mean the REAL... THERE thrift stores.  The whole damn AREA doesn’t speak English and your parked down the street.  It beautiful really.  But don’t take a picture of it and be an asshole.  REMEMBER IT; what happens, what you see, what you hear; the BIG picture.  This is where I’m a ‘not-ever’ except for me going to these thrift stores.  And then ok; I buy something great for a buck too.  They don’t care.  No one has any interest in me or what I buy.  To them, this is a world and I’m not there.  But me, myself; I’m REALLY there.  I don’t miss anything.  I want to see it all; feel it all.  That’s what this is about for me.  The most.  No one else is gonna be there. You know; competition.  You have to know too much.  This one (the thrift stores)... they can’t spoil it.  They can’t even find it.”
            “Who's they?”
            “You know who ‘they’ is.”

The End

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