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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Letters from a Storage Locker #7 -- All in the Family

We've posted letters before from Mike, to his wife Jennifer (click here if you haven't already read the last one)--  he's in jail for 9+ months for drugs and writes her 2 X a day.  You realize through his letters, a couple of things,  1)  he isn't that smart,  2) he isn't that great of a catch,  3)  he claims to be hopelessly in love with her but then says things completely contrary to that, and 4) he will have a drug problem for a long, long time.    It's no surprise that Mike and Jennifer divorced in 2007, a simple 2 years after their long-anticipated prison-planned wedding.     

What made Jennifer fall in love with such a class act, you ask?  Well, maybe it was because they were young lovers (they met in high school) and didn't know any better...  or maybe, it was because of the lack of other quality men she had in her life leading up to that point.

Jennifer regularly received letters in high school from two of these men-- her father who was incarcerated, and her cousin "Scrappy" --  here's a letter from Scrappy written from, you guessed it, prison. Is it just me or is he hitting on her?  

Here's the letter:  (Jennifer is a Senior in High School at this point... Scrappy is probably mid to late 20s)


Hey what's up?  Nothing much here.  Sorry I haven't written back sooner.  I don't know if you heard but I leave to Carlsbad on Aug. 1.  A little bit less than 3 weeks away.  I feel like I've been here forever.  So you got a 21 on your ACTs huh that's cool.  I need to take mine soon. But I don't think that I'll score too high because I haven't been to school in quite a while.

And when I get to the center you'll be able to come and see me when ever you want.  And my girlfriend writes me just about every day.  When I first got locked up she would write me 2 or 3 times a day. But now after 7 months there really isn't too much to talk about.  I'm sorry that I made you feel bad when I said that 17 is too young to settle down.  Thats just the way that I feel about myself.  I'm really not ready to commit to one person yet.  But you, you have found the person that is perfect for you.  Sometimes I wish that I was as lucky to have found the right person, already.  But to tell you the truth, I really have no idea what I want.  I'm so confused it's not even funny.  I can't even try to explain how I feel.  It's like one day I feel a certain way and the next I'll feel totally different. But more than likely I'll break up with Buffy to move to Memphis or New Orleans and this will all probably happen this coming summer.

And when I move we'll party all of the time together. And you'll have to hook me up with one of your really good looking friends.

I need to ask you this.  Do you feel some kind of special bond or something between us? I do.  I feel like I'm closer to you than my own sister.  I don't know why that is, but it is.

 But, oh yes!  We are going to party together.  We'll party like there is no tomorrow.

And this time when you write back I'll write you back right away.

I can't wait to see you!!!!!!!


P.S. - What did you think of my picture?  You're looking more and more beautiful every time I see you.

Brian's Purple Heart Endeavor!

Brian here....Rebecca's partner in crime...and the better looking of the two (4 out of 5 people in "the survey" agreed!)  Up until now...I have been content with sitting in the shadows...taking my time....watching the ebb and flow of the storage locker business form itself!  And I would still be in those shadows...if it weren't for the "incident" that took place today after the auctions....(that's right..after) at Rebecca's (from here on out referred to as the Black Widow of Death)!  It was too painful to remember...but some stories need to be that future generations can pass down the knowledge...and...hopefully....won't find themselves in such dire straits!

So...we get done for the day with auctions...(4 facilities, 20+ units)...of which we have become the proud owners of 2. must ALWAYS be careful when digging through units.  You never know WHAT you are going to find and must practice caution.  This can be hard to remember, especially when the adrenaline has begun to flow through your veins....the excitement of finding new items...almost like Christmas morning when you were 5!  I'm sure this is the moment when one MIGHT expect someone to hurt themselves...take damage...injury....(Papercut, Heat Rash, Detached Retina!)  But NO.....I take damage miles and miles away from the front lines.  In a place that one would never expect....ONE OF OUR HOME BASES!  As I am gingerly carrying a plastic sterilite bin full of our days booty up The Widow's driveway, I am approaching a choke point between her car and the cold, unmoving bricks that make up the veneer of The Widow's Lair!

In an attempt NOT to damage the Widow's Ride, I veer to the right....and that is when the Widow's Lair reached out, and took off my right hand!....(Well, maybe not the entire hand, but a chunk of the top of the middle knuckle!)  Being the warrior that I am (Take Mad Max, throw in the Terminator, and sprinkle on a little Jedi) I fight through the pain and deliver the booty to it's rightful place with the rest of our treasures!  Finally, as the loss of blood begins to take it's hold...I begin to slip into a sweet, blissful dream about ALL THE RICHES we are going to find.

When all of a sudden...I am awakened by the Widow herself...(or what I thought was a wolverine that had attacked my hand and left me scarred for life!)  I am informed that it is but a flesh wound...and that weak actions such as mine will NOT be tolerated in the Storage auctions business...(or in the Apocalypse, which sometimes this business seems like....)  But...that is another story...for another time....and the story of Brian's Purple Heart Endeavor.  Next time, I will enthrall y'all with Brian's Apocalypse Now!  Take care.... here's a picture of my battle wounds as a parting gift:

Your humbly wounded,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dollars and Sense (and quick facts) of Garage Sales

I'll make this post quick (relatively, for me, anyway)---because we're exhausted!  I've been up since 5am!

When you're in the Storage business, there are a few ways that you can sell your things.  You can open your own store (which is very rare-- only about 4-5 of our competitors have their own store),  you can work for someone else and buy for their store (over my dead body),  you can sell to consignment stores, antiques dealers (those people are the worst of the worst, in my experience so far),  you can use eBay (a pain in the butt),  Craigslist, Facebook,  or do the old stand-by:  Garage Sales

There are pros and cons to anything, of course, and Garage Sales are no exception.  Let's go over them quickly.


1) Very little overhead  (no store, employees, air conditioning, insurance, you get the point)
2)  Cash only (with the occasional check from a friend who stops by your sale)
3)  Easy -- set up and tear down in just a few hours
4) You can make (if you do it right) what you might do in a day or a few days in a couple of hours
5) You get rid of your merchandise quickly (instead of having to hold onto it forever)
6) You get small amounts ($1, $2) for things you might have otherwise thrown away or "eaten"
7)  You get to meet all sorts of interesting people

1)  No store, no air-conditioning
2)  Pockets full of $1s and change (although I usually refuse change, if I can.. story about that in a sec)
3)  Set up and tear down over and over and over again (in a store, you'd set it out once and walk away)
4)  You have to wake up at 5am and usually don't have much of a life on Friday nights before a sale
5)  You get rid of merchandise so quickly sometimes that you don't even know what you had
6)  You get small amounts $1 or $2 for things you could have eBayed and gotten $5 or $10 for w/ time
7)  You meet all sorts of interesting people

Today's sale was an exceptional success for a couple of reasons:

1) We jumped on the ball with advertising early and got our Craigslist/Newspaper posts up 5 days early
2) We had a very good day weather-wise with no threat of rain, it was actually fairly breezy, too
3)  We had some friends let us have it at their house and it was a higher traffic neighborhood than usual
4)  I made very pretty signs (see pictures below)... not that my signs aren't always pretty...
5)  We had about 3 van loads of stuff out (maybe 7 1/2 or 8 units all together, about 22 families worth)

Now (and you can thank me later for this),  are my tips for having the Best Garage Sale Ever:
1)  Make sure you get a permit depending on the laws where you live
2)  Make sure you follow rules on said permit (no more than 2 sales at an address in a year, etc.)
3)  Make really colorful signs... hang them at every entrance to the route to your sale
4)  Get balloons from Party City / Dollar Tree / wherever to hang.  Today we spent $22 on balloons and it probably brought us an additional $200.  Great investment.  It also helps people find you/where to go.
5) Take all of your crappy 5 and 10 cent stuff and lump it together.  Make ziploc bags with 10 of them and sell it for a dollar.   Make kids "grab bags"  or mystery grab bags for $1.   It's better than taking dimes all day.
6)  Advertise Early Birds welcome-- you'll get 1/4-1/7 of your money before 8am.  The reason people advertise early birds is because it is illegal where we live (and most places) to sell before 8am.  So, if you write that it starts at 8, but that early birds are welcome, it's a legal way of saying you'll be out an hour or so early.   Some people think this means 7, some people think this means 5:45.  But it's worth it, because it will make about a $50-$200 difference if you allow early birds or not.
7) Be prepared.  Bring change, a bag for change, sunscreen, aloe, hats, sunglasses, knives or scissors, tape/stapler (for affixing signs, fixing broken things, and hanging up signs),  and whatever else you might need.  Also plenty of water.  I keep an apron (that I can put the money bag and my phone in) and carry the following:  sunscreen, bug spray, mini hand sanitizer, mini scissors, swiss army knife, small pocket for valuables I find (real gold, etc) or just cool little things I want to keep, a little bit of string, tape,  and a pen and paper.  Without fail there is someone who wants to leave you their phone number in case you find their glasses or come across a lawnmower or ____ you want to sell to them, so it's helpful just to keep a pen and pad on you.  

The cast of characters

There are certain types of people that come to garage sales and they are very easily classified.  Today was VERY strange because we had at least one of each type of these people.   I'll post a quick example of each and then tell you about what we went through today.

Birth Control Betty -  This is the woman who shows up with 5 or 6 kids and doesn't supervise them at all.  She usually tells them to go "bother the nice lady" (me)  while she shops in peace.  She's usually shopping for maternity items because she's typically pregnant with another heathen...  angel.    Today I had a few of these, nothing major.  I usually make them feel bad by giving their kids free toys.  It's a win win because I know the kid gets a toy (poor kid deserves a toy), and I usually say something to the mom like "Here's a free toy for little ___ because clearly you need something to keep them out of trouble"

No English Earl (Eduardo?) - This guy, usually a Spanish speaker, is almost always accompanied by at least 5 people.  Surprisingly, not one of them ever speaks any English.  Don't get me wrong, they are our best customers most of the time-- it just would be nice if I could use my good salesman skills on them rather than saying things like basic numbers / dollar amounts.   We had about 50 of these today, the best part is that they usually (despite the language barrier)  find some way to ask me out!

Debbie Downer - This man or lady (about 50/50) just badmouths everything in order to try to get a good price.  I HATE these people. There are two types of Debbie Downers--- experts and laypeople.  They are equally bad.  Example:  We have a beautiful antique table from the 1930s.  For a few weeks we've been trying to sell it and no one has wanted to pay $15.  A week or two ago this antique dealer mentioned to me that I might try painting or varnishing it because it has surface scratches.  So I did.  The same dude shows up today and says "How much for the table?  $15 is too much.  You shouldn't have painted it. That table is from 1934.  You can tell by it's cut. You ruined it.  Will you take $5?"  That's an example of the expert.    The laypeople example revolves around the same table.  This total bitch walks up to Brian and says "what is the price of the table?"  He says $20, he always starts high.  She asks for the bottom line, he says $15.  She then sneaks around to me (see "Play the Parents Paul")  and expects a different answer.  I say $15, and she tells me "oh.  well what's the LOWEST you'll go"   I say $15.   She says  "Oh.  You wouldn't consider any lower?"   I almost asked her if I stuttered, but was still trying to be polite at this point.   I told her $15 again, and she says, in the most ignorant and rude way possible "well, it's RICKETY. It's just a rickety old table."   She then must see the wrath in my eyes because she follows it up with "I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just saying."   Me:  "of course its' old, it's antique"  (now getting louder)  "and it's rickety because it's sitting on a tree root"     Her:  "no, that's not why.  It's poorly made."  "But I'm not trying to put your little sale down."  At this point, Brian RUNS over because he knows I'm about to bitch-slap her, but he doesn't get there before I say this:  "If it's so rickety, then why do you want it?   Why have you been arguing with me over the price for 5 minutes if it's such a piece of crap?"  --  Brian apologizes to her (I still don't know why, she was a total waste of breath)  and escorts me away.   I sit under a fan and suck on my bottle of water so I don't scream at her any more.  ARGH.   We get these people ALL the time.  I don't understand why people argue with you over something and then try to put it down to get it for cheap.  Duh--  if you didn't want it, you wouldn't be having the conversation with us.  We're not stupid.    By the way, if you're wondering what I would have done had Brian not escorted me away it would have either been me saying Brian's classic line of "I'll set that ___ on fire right now before I sell it to you for $____"   OR  me bringing it into the street and jumping on top of it with my 138 lb body to SHOW her how sturdy it is!    I guess we'll never know which one it would have been.

Play the Parents Paul -  Person who goes back and forth between Brian and I trying to get a better price, just like a little kid who asks Daddy when Mommy says no.  It's ridiculous too because we're ALWAYS paying attention to what the other is doing.   And if someone asks one of us, and then asks the other, the price goes up.  If they go back to the original person, they make it go up again!   If they ask why, we tell them they should have trusted the original price :)

Loudmouth Larry -  This guy wants to fight everybody.  We actually had a guy today chase another guy in a car down the street trying to hit him and his car.  He was screaming something about the way he was treating his wife, or the way he looked at his wife.  What's ironic is that his wife calmed him down by saying "when you come to garage sales hun, you have to deal with the lower class people- it's part of the territory" --  which would have been good advice, except for that, did she really just think someone was lower class than her husband who chased a man down the street screaming expletives in front of a bunch of customers and unsupervised children?   Ha.

Disgusting Dan -  I can't say too much about this guy without feeling dirty myself-- but it's some old guy who hits on me.  It can be innocent enough "I haven't seen a girl as pretty as you in 50 years"  -- or it could be something totally creepy, like my least favorite customer, who once told me "I like your little sundresses because I can stare at your ____"    I won't write the word here, but if you are interested in it, comment and I will be happy to give you more details.  On the bright side, Brian threatened to kill him if he ever said anything like that again, and that was pretty amazing.

The Craigslist Killer - this person is a pretentious douche who has too much time on his hands.  It's almost always a man.  He shows up about an hour after the sale is over, complains that there's nothing good for sale, and then goes home and writes about 25 craigslist ads about us and how much we suck, probably while he sits with his 20 cats or cardboard cutouts or whatever he does with his sad little life when he's not craigslisting.

Sam's Club is not Stupid - Sam -  This person asks how much something is (like golf clubs, for example, or records), and you say, $2 a piece or all of them for $20, there's 40 there.    You remind them that buying in bulk is a good idea.  They say "no, I don't need that many, how dare you ask me such a ridiculous question"  and then proceed to buy 9 for $18.  Happens EVERY time.

Crazy Carl -  This person shows up every week and follows you around asking you ridiculous questions about things that don't make any sense.   He picks up about 20 things and asks you to quote him a price and after you give him a great deal they try to weasel out of 18 of the things leaving you a huge mess and a pile of exasperation to boot.  They waste so much of your time making you think it's a big sale and then you miss out on helping real customers because they are attention starved idiots.  Today, for example, this dude brings me a free pillow and a free pair of shoes (for me to sell) and then expects me to give him a "discount" -- dude, I didn't ask for yo old grungy pillow.   I STILL don't want it.   You didn't do me a favor.   Then, he picks up a $290 Heater Core and asks me what it is,  I explain it, he asks me how it works, I explain it (thank goodness for my years in automotive, right?), and then he asks for a price.  To get him to go away I quote him $20 (which by the way is less than it's value in aluminum scrap metal) - and he calls his buddy to make sure it's "worth it."  Then he interrupts 2 or 3 real sales to ask me "what is it again?"   Dude, you either buy it or you don't.  You don't know what it does anyway, nor do you need to know what it does to sell it or buy it.    To add insult to injury, he picks up 4 things, I quote him $24 for everything, he asks for a discount, I tell him $22.  He then puts the heater core down (only) and tries to give me $2.  I don't think so.  That's not how it works.  Still unsure whether he's a con artist or just a big dummy.

Nickle-and-Dime Nancy -  This person (men and women equally), will insult just like Debbie Downer to try to get a good price, but the entire time he/she is walking around with their nose in the air like they grew up with Paris Hilton, and then when it's time to pay they conveniently only have some random amount of change in their purse.  "I know I have $24 dollars worth of stuff, but lookie here, I only have $8.52 in my purse!  In dimes. Will you take that?"    And then they try to make you feel guilty for not taking the amount of money they have.  They try to give you some sob story about how they went through Katrina or they're down on their luck and have no money.  "Here's a little newsflash:  Katrina happened to all of us within hundreds of miles of here and it happened 6 years ago.  On top of that, if you don't have money, you shouldn't be SHOPPING at a garage sale.  And it's not like you're buying food or kitchen knives or bowls, you're buying a coin purse and a stuffed teddy bear.  Clearly necessities."   ARGH.

Last but not least....  may I present.. our triumph over nickel-and-dime Nancy:

So today, there's this woman who is buying all this baby clothing...  it's not like our baby clothing is expensive, it's like .50 a piece.  And we discount for bulk.  She has 20 pieces, drops it down to 10, drops it down to 6.   Should have been $3.   I charge her $3.  She whines and whines about how one piece is "faded"  -- I tell her she doesn't have to buy it.  She tells me her little granddaughter needs it, I tell her to give me the $3... she says it's faded.  We go back and forth and I felt like saying "the kid is 1, is she really going to notice?"  but I don't... and I'm feeling charitable and it's still pretty early in the day (and I'm surrounded by a bunch of my friends and usually I'm not) so I do the nice thing and let her give me $2.50.  I usually do not let people do 50 cent increments because I don't do change, and let them know that.   I even claim not to have quarters for change, but they usually say "oh, I've got the change right here!"  and then I'm stuck. This particular nightmare pays me in dimes.  Of course.  When she opened her wallet, she had a $5 and a bunch of $1s, but no, she pays me in dimes.  Whatever.   When she drops the final dime in my hand, thanks to Brian's classes on how to tell silver and gold from non-silver and gold, I IMMEDIATELY realize it's some percentage of silver.  I grab it out of the pile and clench it in my hand, and drop the rest of it in my apron.  Not sure if she noticed or not, but I'm hoping she did.  Moral of the story is,  she was so eager to save fifty cents, that she ended up giving me a 1948 silver dime that's probably worth about $4.  Dummy.  I hope she misses her $3.50.

That's it for now... have fun with your garage sale adventures, if you choose to have them!

Here are some pictures from today:

My beautiful garage sale signs.  (Yes, I'm available to paint for your garage sale, for a fee! ;) )

Close-up of garage sale signs:  Brian says these colors are the best colors for garage sale signs.

Preparing for Garage Sale High-Fives!

A set of balloons hanging out outside:  (one of Birth Control Betty's heathen kids eventually tortured them into submission and death)

An overview of the layout of the sale,  this was about 2/3 of the people we had at our busiest point:

The rest of the people/tables that were cut out of the picture above:

I found a bin (out of about 38 bins, pretty good odds) that was still un-processed (not yet gone through), and processed it really quickly on site.  I found this amazing shirt.   If someone would like to tell me what they've learned from this blog about garage sales or share a fun garage sale story with me the best one will receive this shirt!  And if you don't want the shirt, that's okay too ;)

Until next time!


PS - You'll be happy to know that I tried on roller blades we were selling and tried them out in the street.  I wasn't going anywhere and was having trouble, and then all of a sudden I hear Brian laughing at me.  The wheels were DISINTEGRATING as I was rolling along.  One of them came completely off and broke in like 4 pieces.  If you're sorry you missed it, you should definitely come to our garage sales more often!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worst. Auction. Ever.

The other day we went to the worst auction we have ever been to (for a number of reasons)...  and I super hate to make you endure even a percentage of what we went through that day, but it's an epic story that must be told.

Usually auctions are bad because of one of the following reasons:  1) it's really hot and miserable outside (but hey, that comes with the territory and we will never complain about that... out loud)  2)  it's super crowded with either people we hate who always bid against us or 3) it's super crowded with newbies ,  4) the auctioneer or facility owner/management are complete morons,  5) nothing is listed correctly, or 6) the stuff up for auction is all complete garbage.    They say 6 is the number of evil and I totally agree- because on this day we were 6 out of 6 on these reasons!

Let's start from the beginning.  When a unit goes up for auction, according to Louisiana law, there must be an ad posted in the paper.  You already know this if you read our blog (congratulations for being so smart and awesome),  but if you don't-- the advertisement has to tell you the time of the auction, the name of the tenant, the location of the auction, and the number of the storage unit as well as what's inside.   Some facilities cheat by just putting "miscellaneous household items"  under every single unit, but they really aren't supposed to. Not saying they're supposed to put a line by line commentary "one red sock and one dirty brown sock,"  but they are supposed to briefly look at the contents and list the big ticket items.   Here's a sample of one of these ads:

Notice of Sale On Thursday August 4 , 2011 at 9:15am and after, in accordance with LA RS: 4759, Storage Post, 10259 Airline Dr, St Rose, La 70087 will sell at Public Auction for unpaid rent to the Highest Bidder for CASH ONLY, the following storage units A066 Gilda Gaulden Bxs, chr, drsr, mtrs, lmp, clths, bgs, hhgs. A113 Timothy Smith tls, pt, chpsw, arcomp, tls, const. unit. B238 Randy Lambert bdg, chr, lmp, drsr, bxs, micr. A070 Melissa Burnam tts, bk, bgs, bdg, bxs, mir, hhgs. B189 Melissa Burnam constr. Itms, chr, wshr. A126 Bryan Williams whls, atvs, bedfrm. A013 Bryan Williams filcab, comp, bxs, ofcfrn. B217 Steven Pitts elesctr, mtrs, bgs, wshr, bxs, hhgs. And if they be not bids, may itself purchase the items for the amount sufficient to satisfy claim or donate to charity. SOME MINIMUM BIDS.

You should notice a few things about the above ad.  1) Time and place,  2) LA RS:4759, which is the statute of Louisiana law which allows them to sell the items to recoup some of the storage facilities owed-rent, 3) the unit numbers and descriptions, even though shorthanded here,  and 4) the part about SOME MINIMUM BIDS.  This is pretty important and is supposed to be in an ad where a unit has minimum bids.   Now, let's look at the one from the AUCTION FROM HELL:

Public Auction: Pursuant to La. R.S. 9:47569 & 4760 American Mini Storage, LLC, 480 Wall Blvd. Gretna, La. 70056 (504)392-1300 Auction on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 10:00 A.M. Unit #334 Gabriella Hart, #277 Rev. John Brooks Sr. #274 Richard F. Tierney Jr., #126 Michelle A. Landry, #199 Robert Seal, #222 John Allisson, #124 Kendra R. Lane, #105 Sandra H. Bartholomew, #97 Amin A. Jouden, #76 Debra F. Maxon, #21 Sawsan McCloskey. Units consist of household items, furniture, tools & Misc. items.

You'll notice a couple of things about this one.  1)  The statute RS:4759 is typoed, that should have told me to stay away right there-- they also added in 4760 which is rare  2)  The units don't have any descriptions, they are only lumped together at the bottom (which I've never, ever seen before).  

We already knew that this wasn't a storage auction that would be facilitated by an auctioneer (because we know all the auctioneers at this point and we're on their mailing lists)... so we figured it was a small "Mom and Pop" owned facility (which is usually better for us, in many ways)...   We also realized it was a place that we had for some reason never been to before (they must only auction once every few months)...  so, going in, it was all signs of a great auction day-- but we were not expecting anything like what we ran into! 

We arrived to find a big crowd waiting outside.  They weren't letting people going into the office but were passing a clipboard around outside.  This is a BIG red flag whenever you go to auction and they will not let you enter the office.  It usually means (in our experience) that they are either stalling waiting for a tenant to show up and pay (or a bidder who is a friend of theirs to show up and bid) or they are doing things that they don't want you to see them doing (like looking at pictures that they've taken inside the unit or discussing items they found or moved).  Whenever we have been locked outside of a management office we have noticed something fishy happening that same day.  We make it a point to look for fishy things when we are locked out and to be super alert and careful.

Here's a video I shot of the crowd.  My apologies-- all of the videos are super upside down and crazy-like, but I was trying to subtle-ly pretend I was checking mail on my phone and not to alert anyone I was videotaping (you really aren't supposed to most of the time):

The auction starts at 10am and we move to the first of 10 units.  The owner (who is acting as auctioneer, which is fine)  announces the opening bid to be $200.  At this point, I thought he had gotten a bid from one of the newbies who had been watching too much Auction Hunters and wanted to "jump the bid" (throwing out a high bid out of sequence to scare others off).   I had no idea that he had basically started out at $200 (a minimum bid), which was a no-no because he did not list minimum bids and he did not let us know before he opened the unit that there would be a minimum bid.    And for the record, before he announced the bid of $200, Brian and I decided that the most we'd be willing to pay for this particular unit was $200.   So we were shocked at the $200 bid, and even more shocked when the newbies started going back and forth between $200-$425.  

Displays of testosterone are totally common in this business, especially for new guys who are trying to prove themselves, and the more new guys there are, the worse for everyone else.   In retrospect, I think one or both of them may have been a plant by the auctioneer, but I don't know that for sure so in fairness I can't allege that.   But what happened next, was RIDICULOUS.

The auctioneer gets a bid for $450, and at this point, all of the experienced bidders are huddling in a corner discussing what it is that we've missed.   We all come to the conclusion that we didn't miss anything, and we're trying to figure out what the crap is going on.   I think I might have loudly announced that the bid was $280 more than it was worth, but that's neither here nor there ;)     The auctioneer should have kissed the bidder's hands and praised the heavens for his luck, but instead he turns around and says "I'm not giving this unit up for less than $500."    I am not kidding you when I say that there was a GASP throughout the entire crowd.    Someone shouts "you can't do that" (totally true), and he (he had a ridiculous used car salesman shirt on and a ridiculous straw hat with a feather in it so from now on we will call the auctioneer/owner  StoragePimp)...   StoragePimp says "the tenant owed $750 on this unit and I have a responsibility to get at least most of my money back and I won't let it go for less than $500."     One of the experienced bidders shouts "that's not OUR problem that you let them go several months without paying"   and rather than agreeing with her or just saying it was his prerogative, he starts rattling off the Storage laws in our state.    I wanted SO badly to tell StoragePimp that if he was REALLY familiar with the laws in our state he would know that he is not allowed to up a minimum bid in the MIDDLE OF AN AUCTION, but I kept my mouth shut.  There were still 9 units and I wanted to see what was left.   Brian asks him why if the minimum was $500, did he start the bidding at $200 (excellent point!  I was so proud of him.  I think you can hear that on the video).  StoragePimp says there is some really good things in there that make it worth it (which he's not supposed to do), so I asked what was inside that made him set the minimum so high (usually they will tell you that it's a TV or a printer or whatever made them make that decision) and he tells me he's "not allowed to say".    I'm getting really annoyed now at his misrepresentation of the law ONLY when it's convenient for him.  Grr.   I'm talking/typing a lot now, so just watch the video of the crowd's reaction to this whole situation:    (There are two videos... watch them in succession, top to bottom):

If you look closely you can probably see AuctionPimp himself!  If you listen closely, Auction Pimp keeps referring to this "piece of paper" he gave us that has the rules and regulations of the day on it.  It's not uncommon for storage units to hand out this piece of paper, but it was obvious when we got there they had more bidders than expected because they ran out of stick-on numbers.   They also ran out of sheets, because neither I, nor Brian, nor anyone else we know got one.   AuctionPimp asked me if I got a piece of paper, I said no.  He made no attempts to give me one.

If you looked in the unit, you probably saw a couple of Sterilite bins, a couch that was in okay condition, a few mirrors, 2 chairs (but no table), and some type of hutch desk,  the thing on the right hand side was a basketball goal in box, or rather the BOX for a basketball goal (if the box has been opened and you can't see inside you always have to assume a possibility that the thing is not inside).    Realistically, we would have sold the desk for about $80-$100 at a garage sale, the mirror for $40,  the basketball goal if it was there for $50 or so, the chairs would have gone for $20 a piece, and the miscellaneous items would have probably amounted to another $100.  That means about $300-$400, which means we're only willing to spend between $150-$200.   There's no point in doing all the work if you can't at least double your profit. 

At this point, we have been on this first unit for over 15 minutes.  Usually it only takes 2-3 minutes tops per unit and that includes walking time to and from the unit.   We realize that we're going to miss our next auction, that's at 11:30.  We don't know if we should stay or go.  Sadly, we decide to stay.

It was more of the same foolishness.  For each unit, bidding started abnormally high.  Bidding limits are announced in the middle of bidding, and only if there is more than one person bidding.  Each time we go to a unit it's full of crap and completely covered in dust, BUT there is one "amazing item"  that's displayed in front, beautifully and perfect, and in mint condition.  One unit had a collection of 3-4 Barbies, in the boxes, sitting on the top of a dresser, facing out, standing upright, as if they had been put out in a storefront.  Who packs a storage unit in cardboard boxes taped up but puts their Barbies on top, facing the door?  It was so blatant and ridiculous.   

I will say that one unit was SO full of crap that I remarked "if there was a rat inside the rat would be the cleanest thing in there"   to which the crowd laughed but StoragePimp gave me a dirty look.   I said "what, at least the rat would have gotten to go in and out of the unit!"  -- He wasn't amused, but I didn't care.  I was even blatantly filming at this point because I did not mind being kicked out one bit.

Also, the auctioning for each unit was taking FOREVER.  We spent at one point (I had my stopwatch turned on)  17 minutes at one unit and still had not concluded bidding.    We were so bored.  We were talking to our competitors (which we usually try to avoid as much as possible),  and at one point I went and exasperatedly just sat down in the shade and tried to take a nap.  I was sitting there for about 15 minutes, and Brian snapped a picture:

We also encountered a young family with their child (what is with people bringing infants and toddlers to auction???   That reminds me of another story I need to tell you, where I accidentally cursed out a baby, but that's for another day!)  At least the kid had a good point:

The auction continues as miserably as possible and there is only one unit that's worth bidding on, at the end, because it has an antique wardrobe, an antique desk, and that's really it.  The clothes have been soiled, and the boxes contained MREs (anyone living in post-Katrina New Orleans knows this term, but for those who don't it's a military Meal Ready to Eat) and food so that rats had totally ripped it to SHREDS.  It has clearly been there a super super long time.  But, I want the hutch and the desk, and know that the rat bodies and feces will discourage other bidders, so Brian agrees to bid on the unit for us.

This is how bidding goes:
Brian:  $5
newbie: $50
Brian:  $60
Newbie: $75
StoragePimp:  Can I get $100?
Brian:   No way.
Me:  It's worth it.  Plus, it's a Mom and Pop so we'll probably get a little longer to clean out.
Brian (to StoragePimp):  How long do we get to clean this unit out?
StoragePimp:  Did you get your paper?
Brian:  No.  How long do we get and can we use your dumpsters?
StoragePimp:  There's a city dump next door.  Do you have an ID?  Do you live in Jefferson Parish? Brian:  Yes.  How long do we have?
StoragePimp: You really need to get a paper and read over it.

(it's TOTALLY obvious to me how each unit has taken over 20 minutes at this point... we kind of stopped paying attention on each one after the bidding got too high to be believable)

StoragePimp:  We always hand out the papers and it's important for you to know the rules and read it.
Brian:  You couldn't have just told me "48 hours", sir?
Me:  What a douche (referring to StoragePimp, not Brian)
Both of us in unison:  Let's go.   At least we cost him $25.

We leave, and tell the lady in the office (through the snowball stand / drive-through type window she had opened for us)  that she can remove us from the mailing list.  She says "we don't have a mailing list."  Figures.

We learned a great lesson, and as much as we don't like certain auctioneers or facilities for whatever the reason, we try not to burn any bridges because you never know what types of treasures you'll find there. It's not worth losing money over pride.  In this case,  I don't think there will be any money to be lost, and we'll never be returning.  StoragePimp is lucky I didn't report him to the state.     If you guys are truly interested in these laws (and you should be if you want to get into this business), I'll post them in a later post.

Oh, and the best part??   That antique wardrobe that I wanted?  We got for free a day later when Brian found it in a trash dump.   It's valued at $1000.  Read this post if you want more information on that whole tale.

Here are pictures of the wardrobe.  At least we got something out of this nightmare!  And for free!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Letters from Storage Lockers #6 "Bust it Baby!"

We find letters in almost every unit we buy.  Sometimes it's notes from kids or teenagers to each other in school, sometimes it's greeting cards, sometimes it's e-mails printed out-- most of the time it's prison letters (those are my favorites, by the way).  We post the best ones here, and we are working on a book entitled Letters from Storage Lockers.   We'll keep you updated on the status of that. 

It's been awhile since we've done a letter, so I used my Sunday evening to read through a stack (I have over 240 of them in a shoebox and in a binder that I need to read) -- you're welcome.  I aim to please.  I'm a giver.   Here's the letter!   We hope you enjoy it!

Remember the "I like dimes, not skeezas"  guy?  This is the same guy! He's writing to his wife from prison.  He's in there for battery.  She's working her butt off at McDonalds and Walmart (manager at both) trying to support their 4 kids.

January 1, 2010

Well Happy New Year!  To all of you.  And that this letter finds you all in good health.  I wish I could have had some of that Christmas dinner you cooked maybe!  just maybe!  you may find it in your heart to fix me a friendly meal; as you would call it, once I'm out of this place.  Times are hard but time is winding down.  I'm just trying to keep my self dry in this place.  The walls and floor is wet due to the cold weather.  And being closed in most of the time.  Yes!  I have learned my lesson.  I'm gettin to old for Drama!  Grey hairs popping all out of my face.  But I have to stay clean shaved.  Also gained a little weight about like I was when I first met you.  All I want is the best for you and the kids.  And by all means I will see to it that you all will be taken care of ones I touch down that's a promise.  No matter who I'm with or who you are with.  Only if you all accept what I have to offer I have a lot that's about to prosper in my life.  God, take a bad situation and turn it out for the better. Old things all old things past away and new things become new.  No matter what we have been through we shared a lot together and learned a lot through it all trials and tribulations only builds us up to be better and stronger.  A a change man God, has delivered me out of a lot of things that was'nt good for me.  I got my life back.  I'm a 100% percent leget and clean as a whistle.  Full of proteins.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  To that Mrs. Cheasi!  You already know!  Holla!

Well as for the kids, ain't no such thing about meeting in a desinated spot for as meeting to get with them. They are not infants.  And another thing, nobody drew no bridges.  I'm the Daddy, they are the children. Them children have'nt even wrote me the only 1 wrote me was Ashley. She was the only one wrote me. Not even Mac.  So what's really go on.  But it's all good.  I tried my best to get them where ever they needed to be.  But it's all good.  Remember I'm the Father regardless to what you and I have been through.  Count it all as Joy!  I appreciate you for handling your business with our kids without my help. You are a strong black woman.  That's what's up.  And congradulations with your job opportunities.  I know you are going to take me for a ride in your charger?

But you know you!  You talk all that, you the one can't keep your hands off.  Throwing it at me.  Yeah! Trying to be slick.  Like when I use to be over.  You bending over in the nude in the closet.  Bust it Baby!  Great, clean, bald and fresh is that right?  That's how I use to like it you already know. Far as me getting a job that's already in the making.  Big dollars.  Did you see our grand daughter yet.  And another thing.  I don't put other people before the kids.  There was times when I was late doing other things to take care of there well beings.  So I ain't trying to hear that.  And you need to stop feeling there head wit that cause when ever you called I came.  Keep it real. I don't have no grudges nor hardship against you.  Yes, I do admit you always did look out for me.  I give you that.  You will make some one a great companion.  I'm so sorry! ! !  It hurts at times that hurted when you said not now or ever.  I never knew I was that bad.  Everything I do now make sense.  I would do anything for you and the kids.  Why am I not envited in your house hold I'm not and can't get in any more trouble.  I'm not getting younger.  Thank you for all the good times we shared.  You (and the kids!)  me and my mother.  I see you keep her in your heart.  I miss my mother and father dearly.  So just bear with me.  Only if you knew my pain!  You could never imagine loosing all the ones you love including you. I'm a loner.  Always as been.  I never ment to hurt you in any way.  But you ran away from me.  What was I suppose to do.  I'll always have you in my heart.  It hurts so bad, I'm settingi well standing here listening to love sounds Anthony Hamiton, Just went off.  Now Jagged Edge, is on.  What Madea, said don't listen to the radio.  If you find it in your heart just feel me.  Our heart's don't lie.  It's not what goes in.  It's what's comes out that defiles us.  Words of a Godly man.  I've been preaching the word.  I can't go back.  God, as been tremendous blessings to me.  Digest all that I have written.  Tell the kids that I love them and miss them.  And send me some pictures please!  Did everyone get what they needed for Christmas.  By the way what did they all get.  Tell them I owe them big time I got them this time

So how is your Love life.  He must of was trying to play you like I told you it was all a game.  Or he could'nt handle the Lootie.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  laugh at that like you say [my full name] if theres another he has to be a phony.  So you be strong and of good courage you and the kids.  Keep in touch.  We are not strangers I don't want any trouble.  What goes on with you and I that's between the two of us.  We do have a history regardless to what Life is to short for us to live it sad.  We learn from the bad.  We live by grace and mercy.  Let God heal all family tides.  Sometimes we have to decide to lose our pride.  Let's use our Bad for testimonies.  We all shall pray together for one another at all times. God, is good.  God is great.  I send healings and blessings to you all in the name of Jesus!  So accept all that I have sad you and the kids have my Love and blessings.  Honest to God, you may not believe it but I'm a changed man.  It's time for me to be the man that God, called me to be that's what's up with me.  Not just because I'm in Jail.  I don't live like this I'm not cut out for it.  OH!  You know I'm about to be an uncle again Netta, is due in this month sometime and Shawan, is pregnant also.  So thats all blessings.  This is the end of this letter but never the end of my Love for you all. I  send my Love with lot's of Hugs and kisses.  Be blessed and Stay sweet.

Love always,

Mr. [Full name]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Injury Report

There are a lot of bumps and bruises in this business, that's for sure.  I often think of the days where I used to have long pretty legs and arms that were un-scathed.  I miss those days. I present to you Exhibit A:

                  Yes, that's the New Orleans Saints locker room, if you're wondering.  WHO DAT!

But now, after being in units and being bitten by mosquitos, gnats, ants, and wasps-- after getting tan-lines in various unappealing places (now I know how Darrell Sheets always has the sunglass ring around his eyes)  and after having bruises and scrapes from moving furniture up and down stairs and in and out of tight spaces, I now look like a poster child for some type of domestic violence advertisement.  (Seriously, kids, don't ever hit anyone).   In the beginning, my friends were so shocked by my appearance that they'd gasp and say "what happened to you?"  and I would usually just reply "Brian beats me" - totally joking (again, domestic violence is not a joke, kids),  and they usually believe me (the really sad part)... and we move on.

I present to you, Exhibit B:

My case here though isn't that my storage business partner beats me-- he's the best guy ever.  But he's totally clumsy and always in a rush and does a really horrible job of moving furniture into me whenever possible.   I keep trying to make the case for him to SLOW DOWN.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in a unit that we got for $180 that was FULL of antique furniture.  It had so much antique furniture, we had to make about 8 trips in the van to get it all.  We also had only 8 hours (not the usual 48) to do so. At some point a large piece of furniture was dropped on my foot -- I really do think *I* did it  (I can't blame Brian ALL the time), and we were in an awful rush for good reason (because we were under a time crunch) but I split my toenail open and it was quite gross.   But, Brian didn't feel sorry for me at all!   The poor guy at U-Haul brought me bandaids and water and towels and Brian was just giggling at me.   Even when I posted the picture on facebook, he said it didn't look that bad.  Exhibit C:

Brian TwoDat Monk You downloaded that from a google big cry-baby!!!...;)
June 27 at 7:13pm ·

So, I'm getting more and more fed up with the injuries and even though I try to be more and more careful (not wearing heels or open toed shoes as MUCH, for example...  a girl has to be a girl sometimes!)  -- injuries still come.  If you read my last post about our $1000 cedar wardrobe you know what a good piece it is, but you may not know at what price it came--  Brian (he did it this time)  stepped on my foot with such force that he BROKE MY TOE.   Yes, you heard me correctly, broken.  It snapped like a toothpick under a giant or a skyscraper at the hands of King Kong.   And instead of apologizing, or trying to help, he just told me I was crazy and it wasn't broken at all.   I finally convinced him that it was broken because of its odd shape and color and non-movement,   Exhibit D:

and he finally consented it was broken.  But that I was being a baby.  Now, you must know, that Brian himself broke his toe several months ago... not in the line of duty (like me) but on a freaking SLIP AND SLIDE,  and whined about it for weeks.  He even refused to play beach volleyball saying that the "pain was too much to bear."  Unreal.   But, I get the same injury, inflicted not by a fun time in the deliciously appealing pool, but while on the job-- and I'm a baby.  

I convinced him finally (the silent treatment)  to tape up my toe... and,  I can't even describe to you what an atrocity that was.  You just have to see it for yourself:   Exhibit E:

Toe Woes Video

Oh, and one more thing.  When I pulled off the tape-- it took skin with it!   Exhibit F:

So, the moral of the story, guys...  be careful if you're in the storage business.  It's dangerous.    Always carry a first aid kit, and make sure you have a partner that knows how to tape you up-- or you're going to look like a victim whether you want to or not!

Thank goodness I have that locker filled with designer clothes to make me feel better!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Best... Day... Ever! Fred Sanford, $1000, designer clothing, and Dan Dotson!

Okay... so yesterday was the best day ever and let me tell you why.

On a personal note, first, I found out that my Wheel of Fortune prizes are starting to come this week!  So I should get my first one soon... and it was a surprise, but they've now revealed that it's a package from Omaha Steaks! Yum!  Hopefully Brian doesn't eat it all.

Secondly, I get woken up yesterday morning by Brian, who I'm thinking is about to tell me that we need to go get the rest of the unit we bought day before yesterday  (we'll call it Fashion Unit for future reference)...
but instead, he excitedly informs me that he's found a cedar wardrobe on the side of the road.  Because Brian thinks he's Fred Sanford  (if you're not sure who Fred Sanford is, see below...) he does this 2-3 times a week, but this time he says something that makes my ears perk up.  He tells me that this piece is from a unit that we wanted to buy 3 days ago at the craziest/worst auction ever.   It must have been abandoned at this dumpster (behind Hooters) by the people who won that auction.    I go with him out of curiosity to see this piece, and find that it is indeed a really nice Red Cedar Wardrobe, produced in New Orleans around the 1950s.  The only reason that I can see for it being thrown out is that one side of the wardrobe has a locked door.  I call the company who made it, conveniently located on Royal Street, find out they can make a key for $5, and that the piece is rare and sought-after because they lost the equipment to make it in Hurricane Katrina.  Oh, and one in decent shape is worth over $1000.  Score!   It pays to have a partner who loves the trash!   Fred Sanford's catchphrase, I should point out, is "You Big Dummy!" - which is even more ironic because Brian says that ALL the time.  Even before he realized it was from Sanford and Sons!  Here's Fred Sanford:

Thirdly...  we go dig out Fashion Unit... which is a unit that none of the men wanted to buy because it is all clothing (gasp!)  --- but I saw some fabric rolls that told me maybe it was a designer, and sure enough, it was, and all of her clothing was designer as well!  We're already into at least $2500 of designer clothing... Christian Dior purses, Michael Kors shoes,  DKNY, Lillie Rubin, Betsey Johnson, Trina Turk, they just keep coming and coming!  Link here if you'd like to see what we found and/or bid on it!  Designer Clothing for Sale

Finally (and here's the best part), there's a company called StorageTreasurers that is affiliated with many of the people you see on Storage Wars, they too are based out of California.  They provide a lot of resources for auction buyers like me and Bri and we've been signed up on their site for quite awhile.  You can visit their facebook page here.    Well, a month or so ago they ran a contest inquiring who wanted to have a one-on-one phone conversation with Dan Dotson, of Storage Wars, auctioneer extraordinaire (if you don't know who Dan Dotson is, see below):      I entered... and won!   I got the call last night and it was just announced on their website today!  So, if you get a chance, go to StorageTreasures' facebook page today and watch the video explaining how I was selected as a winner.  I'm super excited!

Now... since I will have a 30 minute conversation with Dan Dotson, I am compiling a list of questions that I already want to ask him.  I'll post them here as soon as I come up with them.  If any of you have any questions you'd like to ask him, feel free to post them here and I'll try to include the best ones!  The phone conversation should take place in the next few days so make sure to get those questions in fast!

That's all for now... Happy Hunting!   I see many more good days like this in our future!

A Tale of Two Units... part 2

If you didn't read part 1 yet of this story yet, you might want to.  You can find a link to it here:  A Tale of Two Units... part 1 If you didn't, it isn't really necessary for this blog (but you should read it, it's good stuff!)

After our 3 hour long encounter with the 10X10 unit in the 103 degree New Orleans heat, we were thrilled to get to dig unit #2, a climate controlled 5X5?  No, I think it was more like a 2X3.  It wasn't completely full, either.   But first, back to auction day. When the unit had first opened up the day before, the first things we saw were a box marked "Baseball cards",  a bunch of sterilite bin towers with the drawers in them (I LOVE those things!) and clothing and miscellaneous items haphazardly thrown in.  There was also a box of caps (like baseball style caps).  Everyone remarked that it looked like he (the tenant) had already taken out what he wanted and left the rest- but to me, someone who is into sports is not going to leave his baseball cards and hats behind.  If he had collected them in the first place, they meant something to him, and if that was left, who knew what else was?   I think only one person was bidding against us, and as we neared $100 I could see Brian looking at me like "are you nuts?  This is only a 3/4 full 2X3"... but I just told him I had "that feeling" and he finished bidding on it like a pro.

Minus the baseball cards (which we removed before I took the picture), here's what the unit looked like:

We won the unit and immediately went in to quickly assess what was there and take the items of value.  Unsurprisingly, there were a bunch of sports collectibles, including the box of baseball cards (pictured below) and a whole slew of sports team hats and jerseys.  To our absolute delight (we are both HUGE New Orleans Saints fans) there were a couple original print editions of the famous copy of The Times Picayune (our local paper) from the day after the Saints won Superbowl XLIV, which every Saints fan has framed somewhere in their home.  Here's the one in my house:

That copy of the paper without any signatures or anything, is worth about $10-$20... because everyone wants one!   So we had about 4-5 of those, a Superbowl XLIV program, and a few other Superbowl Saints Championship collectibles.    All in all about $140 worth of stuff, paying for our unit.  Later that day, we actually went to Saints training camp, and Drew Brees himself signed all of our items.  Now they're each worth about $120-$150 a piece.   The trick to being great in this business is not just finding things, but getting the maximum value out of them.  I respect and admire Allen Haff from Auction Hunters a lot, because not only does he find great antiques, but he often restores them and pours a lot of love into them to make them worth five times more than they were when he dug them out.  Mad props to him, and so far, it's a technique that's working for us, too!
But back to our amazing Saints items-- we have now quadrupled the cost of our unit.   Here's a photo of Drew signing our stuff:

Here's a photo of the box of baseball cards:
Sure, there may not be a $10,000 baseball card here... although, I guess there COULD be, but even if we grab bag them 20 to a bag at a garage sale for $1 a bag (people love buying "mysterious" things -- we'll make $50 at least!   And we'll have fun going through them!

Back to our unit.  We've bought the unit and ransacked it for obvious valuables, and now it's Day 2 and we've brought the van back and we're doing our dig.

Ever wondered how people get their storage units repossessed?  I gave you the technical rundown on this a couple of weeks ago...  but that's not what I mean.   I mean, what GETS them to that point?  Well, in my experience, they're usually either starting some type of new company and get in over their heads, have had some type of major life change (move, marriage, divorce, baby),  or... they are idiots.  This guy... it seemed like all three things applied!   The books told us the story of his start-up businesses.  He had "Building a PC for dummies"  "Starting a Business for Dummies," "Learning to Screen-Print for Dummies,"  and more.  But there were others, too. He had books on theories of political conspiracies, including one gem about how 9-11 was orchestrated, that had a title having something to do with Alice in Wonderland.   He had books on how to please his woman.  He had all sorts of books that can ALL explain his current situation!   We kept them to sell at garage sales.  If you want one, please let me know and I'll be happy to get it to you :)

I mentioned earlier that we found the contents of a screen-printing t-shirt business?  That was actually an exciting part of this locker.  Getting those t-shirts printed is expensive.  Making the screens is even more expensive.  We found bags and bags of pre-screened t-shirts (already done), bags and bags of tie-dyed t-shirts, bags and bags of prepared (rubber banded) tie-dyed t-shirts (which I loved because it brought back many memories of being a girl scout),  the actual screen templates he used for the screen printed shirts, and all of his ink and dye.  Pretty cool.  We just need to see if we can find a buyer.  Here are some of the boxes of shirts and dye, along with a pretty nice computer monitor.

Here's a close up of the tie-dye shirts.  Anyone want one?  I'm running a special... $2 a piece!  You can't beat $2 to make you feel young again.  It's like being in the 80s.  Seriously.

Fortunately, unlike our last unit, this guy's personal effects easily fit into one designer shoebox.  I also put his kids backpack in the box to be given back to him because a) the little kid is cute and b) the little kid's name is Chayse-Davide and it's monogrammed on everything.  The odds of me finding another kid with THAT name is as likely as me actually wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt.   I will say though, the kid is really cute-- so cute, in fact, that a Times Picayune (again with the newspaper) photographer took a picture of him enjoying Jazz Fest 2009.   That was a cute little clipping his uncle had sent him that he had left in his storage unit.  I put it in the shoebox.  Hopefully, he gets it back!

Here's the box of caps:  Some really nice ones, including 2 New Orleans Saints caps (YES!), a New Orleans Hornets cap (awesome!), and a bunch of other sports teams.  Most in pretty good condition, some still have tags:

And... drumroll please... oh my goodness, can we say designer shoes??  The guy's size is a little unorthodox for the guys I know (he's a 9, which seems pretty tiny for the boys I hang out with), but boy, did he have good taste in shoes!   Aside from the 3-4 pairs of super designer shoes (dustbags and everything), there are at least 20 pairs of Nikes.  Pictured below is only maybe 1/10th of them.

On top of the sterilites (with drawers!) that make me  happy, there was also something Brian loves, as it keeps his beer cold, and that is the mini-fridge.  At this point, we have mini-fridges EVERYWHERE.  But, here's one more!

And what bachelor pad would be complete without a man poster of some sort?  Here's a ROCKY movie poster!

There are some really snazzy jackets-- some look like the Fresh Prince would wear them, others are quite the Dillards catalog.  Brian kept a James Dean looking black leather one.  Watch out, Ladies!

Oh, and more Saints beads!   The bead below, affectionately dubbed "Saintopolis" by Brian (I have no idea, either), is now hanging on the rearview mirror of my car!

Some cds (okay, a lot of cds) and a ton of designer clothing (EVERYTHING he had was Ralph Lauren, all the way down to the socks and underwear)...  and we are now getting into the Rastafarian portion of our journey.   I was so relieved to be able to stop going through clothing (I had done about 5 laundry baskets full),  and it was time to pause for a picture with my new blanket and drum:
 I swear I don't normally look like that!  It was hot and I was sweaty and had been up since 6am.  I don't put on makeup before 8.  Ever.  The one exception to that was when I went on Wheel of Fortune.

Back to the dig, and more clothes.  Grr.   At least we have more sports themed t-shirts.  We found Packers, Broncos, Saints (yay),  and a few other teams.  No rivals though, except for the Eagles.  And I really don't like the Eagles.  So, even though this shirt was fine and there was nothing wrong with it, I threw it away.  I've done the same thing before with Cowboys blankets and Falcons caps.  My whole deal is that if I throw them away, that's one less thing that can end up going where something Saints themed should go.  And I've done my part for society.  Here's a picture of the Eagles shirt in the trash:

A free tie-dyed shirt to the first person who can tell me what the HELL this is.   I thought it was a gag of some sort, and then I thought maybe it was ladies stockings for a bow-legged lady.  Now I think maybe it's a doo-rag.   Whatever it is, it scares me.

Speaking of things that a) I don't know what they are and b) scare me... you HAVE to see this video Brian and I took at this point during our journey in this locker.    Here you go!

Speaking of strange things... in another hamper of clothing,  I was pleasantly surprised for a change of pace by finding this.  At first I thought it was a Bible... but it turns out it was a hollowed out book!  I really wanted to find jewelry or money, but instead...   what I found was... (any guesses)??

That's right, it had been used as a holding box for some lovely marijuana.  Sigh.    Just once I wish these people would realize that I am a good person and therefore drugs mean nothing to me.   Can't they just leave me cash instead?

I still really wanted the box/book because I thought it was super neat and really pretty, but Brian convinced me that I didn't want all this residue:
 and also, that knowing my luck, I'd get into an auto accident with a K-9 cop and go to jail for drug trafficking.    So.... the hollowed out book is sadly in the garbage at the storage facility.  Knock yourselves out if you'd like to go try to find it.

I DID eventually find a Bible...  I always go through them because people keep very important things in Bibles.  Except for pot which goes in secret hollow books.   But, most other important things are kept in Bibles.  I always go through all books, but I take special care with Bibles going through page by page.  A lot of times people will leave money, safe combinations, whatever you can think of on pages with verses that mean something to them.  I did find a lot of things this time, but nothing valuable-- mainly bookmarks, letters, and things of that nature.

And if you're wondering about our book, "Letters from Storage Lockers" - I did find TWO journals filled with a couple of letters that are coming home with me.  You'll get some great letters pretty soon!

My battle scars of the day:

Look at all of the trash bags!  3-4 bags of things thrown out!  That made Brian aka "Captain Trashbag" super happy!

All in all, it was a pretty good dig.  Here's what we found:
sports cards
sports jerseys
sports t-shirts and caps
Nike shoes (25 pairs)
designer shoes (5-10 pairs)
a really nice Sony sound system for an MP3 player (also takes cds) and matching speakers
kid/baby stuff.. backpacks, gym bags, baby lotions and washcloths, bibs, and clothing
Computer screen
Saints newspapers & programs (now signed!)
Designer clothing including a few suits
The disgusting brown thing we have no idea what it is (see video)
An entire screen-printing business
Enough tie-dye shirts to last another 20 years

That's it for now... stay tuned, there is some super exciting news to come this week!  Also, be prepared for a tale of the WORST AUCTION EVER!


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