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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle Little Locker

Greetings!   So, a couple of days ago we went to our most favorite auction ever on a Saturday (we keep alluding to this auction but not giving you any details about it, and sorry-- it's going to remain that way.  No one else goes to it, hardly, and that's part of the reason it's our favorite auction.  We'd like to keep it that way!)

Anyways, we arrive super early, there's not even anyone inside.  So we hang around outside scoping out the competition.  There wasn't much of that (see above), and even the people there were self-proclaimed looky-loos (someone who just watches for fun and doesn't bid) so we weren't that nervous.
I walked around the grounds instead.  I found this interesting wrapper on the ground:
 it says - New Origins GREEN ORGANIC REVOLUTION, FDA certified, just like the real thing!    Interesting.  I took a picture.

Directly across the street from this wrapper, no less than 20 feet away, is this DRUG FREE ZONE sign.  I thought that was pretty amusing as well.

There were 5 or 6 bidders total,  4 of which were self proclaimed looky-loos, and 3 units up for grabs.   The three units contained, in no particular order:

1)  Chainsaw unit -- a chainsaw that appeared to be pretty new and a bunch of mystery boxes and bags.  Took up maybe 1/4 of a 5X5.
2)  Wheels unit -  4 rims (22 inch from what I could see) with totally shot tires, and a bunch of other JUNK--- rusted, disgusting, JUNK
3)  Whole house unit --  Lots of furniture, an entire house almost of furniture.

Guess which one we picked?  Normally we'd be all about the chainsaw unit with the mystery boxes and bags, but one guy decided to bid against us even though he was new (didn't even have locks, again) and he took that unit all the way to $115.  You have to bid on what you see, and there's no way a chainsaw, no matter how nice, would make us $230 (we like a 50% profit at least or it's not worth the time or trip).    So--  we made the right decision and backed away.   I was pretty aggravated about this (we usually buy 80% of the units when we go to this particular auction), but I knew we made the right decision.

We were there when the guy who was the winning bidder cleaned out the locker-- he took the chainsaw and a few stuffed animals and kids toys first, and then came back later (left the unit open the whole time too, shockingly) with a truck and some friends to help.  I don't think they found anything, but I can't be sure.

The wheels unit we wanted just for the rims alone, which could be cleaned up and sold for some serious cash-- but the tires were busted and everything else in there was just disgusting.  It seemed like a lot of trouble.  We stayed in the bidding though-- until the new guy (same one who bought the other unit) took it over $200.  We made the right choice and backed down.

We typically buy every unit at this particular auction when we go, so we knew we at least wanted ONE, and the furniture unit was really nice--  it was clean, hadn't been in there very long, was quality furniture,  had a few other neatly packed bins and bags but not much other stuff at all.  Just furniture.  It would have been a VERY popular unit in New Orleans and would have gotten a $200 starting bid, so that's what we threw out there.  No one was willing to bid $250,  no one was even willing to bid $205.  The unit was ours and we were ecstatic.  The only thing I can figure is that new guy was out of money having spent almost $400 already, and everyone else was just there to watch.   In New Orleans, that same locker would have gone in the $450-$600 range.

Here's some pictures of what the locker looked like when the door opened:

I had to take a lot of different pictures because it was SO BRIGHT that day, there was a terrible glare.

 Later on we were second guessing ourselves,  myself especially, because formerly being in the automotive business I could have gotten a pretty penny for those rims, and I thought maybe that I should have bought that unit, or insisted that we have.  But, then I thought about it, and pointed out to Brian that both the furniture & the rims unit went for virtually the same prices.  If someone had shown us the two units and asked us to pick one, we would have picked the one we bought every single time.  So, when it comes down to it, in the end, we made the right decision.    We could have bought the other one, but I think it might have killed our profit on the one we actually got.   So, all is well.

Now to digging:
There was a brand new monitor, still in the box.  The term "brand-new" is subjective, because it's probably older than me-- but it is shrink wrapped and never used.

The box the monitor came from. It had some interesting company markings on it which I cannot share with you here for fear that certain companies or entities may prosecute us-- but I will tell you it was pretty neat.  If you're a special friend of the blog and you want to write us and ask us, we'll probably tell you.

Next up was something actually useful.  A $50 gift card to Houston's.

Another Marshall's gift card was found in a purse (I say another because we already have 3.  We have no idea what's on them because Marshall's sucks and will not allow you to find your gift card balance online or over the phone.  They want you to go into the store so you either impulse buy or don't and forget about your gift card.)  Hopefully one of these days I'll find out what's on all of the ones we have.

I had my digging bag with me, which we will write a complete other blog at a later date about what goes into our bidding bag and our digging bag--  but it was there, and on hand this day!  (We were out of town, so I wanted to make sure I had it).   Not too sure why I took a picture of it, but here ya go!

At this point I also noticed that there was some type of deceased animal right outside of our locker.  I think it was a dead bird.  Pretty sad but pretty cool to see the skeleton and such.

A closer up picture of the bird skeleton

There wasn't too much besides the furniture, so there wasn't TOO much digging to do,  just a few boxes and bags, so I immediately got to work on that stuff.

First up was a box filled with cords and wires, an iron, and some headphones:

Next were two bags of towels and washcloths.  Normally we'd immediately throw these types of things away but everything in here was SO neat and SO clean and SO well packed, we decided to keep these.  We indeed ended up selling all of the towels, and we kept most of the washcloths to use around the warehouse as rags.  We did throw away the pillows and comforters (I think they're visible in one of the overview shots of the unit).

This picture just shows that besides the furniture, there really wasn't much except for some well packed bags and boxes.

A washer and dryer:

All of the drawers to the furniture  -- there was a dresser, nightstand, lingerie chest combination from Ashley Furniture-- it still had the tags on it.  It was very nice:

The fridge, bedframe, and one of the pieces of furniture:

An original oil painting-- it was pretty nice.  I think we've already since sold it at a garage sale.

Close-up of the original oil painting.

Closeup of the signature

The next tub had a few purses, books, DVDs, and personal items:

The inside of the white purse contained some of our usual items:   a broken piece of costume jewelry, and a USED pregnancy test.  I wish I had known that before I stuck my hand in there!   Disgusting.  We find this a lot-- I'm not sure why women keep used pregnancy tests-- I guess it's a nice memento of their children/pregnancy.  But why in their purses? And why not even wrapped up?  Gross.

A box of accessories yielded another one of THESE belts-- I actually really like them and now (thanks to this) have them in every single color.  Here are a few more!

Another one:

A poster, which is perfect for Brian:


Here's Brian's best thug impersonation:

I guess he really DOES need some Gangsta Talk 101!

An opened bag of fritos in this box of purses and shoes.  I said MOST everything was clean and organized.

One of these things is not like the other.  One of these tihngs just doesn't belong.

The shoes were okay,  there were one or two pairs of Steve Madden and Guess-- so those were great (and super cute),  but other than that they were $15-$20 a pair shoes.  Still shoes though, so that's pretty good!

I almost had a heart attack when I saw a bag of these--   they were fake!  Part of a child's game.  BOO!

Another picture of my cute shoes (which are too small for me, incidentally, if anyone wants to buy them).

This is what happens when Brian decides he wants to move the one piece of furniture that's in the way of all other pieces of furniture (and not accessible by rational means)---  Rebecca ends up climbing like a monkey over everything!

our unblocked couch:

Assembled couch (with pillows):   It's actually quite nice!  It's still for sale, if anyone wants it.  4 pieces, suede on top, leather on bottom, Ashley Furniture original $1899.  We're selling all 4 pieces for $350 but if you're a good friend let us know and we can be persuaded to come down!

Another shot of the "star" of the unit, (no Brian, I don't mean you!),  the couch:

and a few more of the same:

The sofa set was actually a big deal for us... we very often try to avoid units with couches and or mattresses for three reasons:  1)  It usually ends up being crappy and is hard to sell,   2)  It's very burdensome and VERY heavy lifting and takes up the majority of the van, requiring extra trips to pick it up, and 3) All of your "filth" --  bed bugs, ticks, mites, fleas, smells, dander, stains, etc-- are going to be on these types of items (clothing excluded, which is easy to throw away).  So we usually try to avoid it.  But, when you CAN get a nice piece (or pieces) of furniture, it's a really easy sale, so lots of our competition exclusively buy only units with a few nice pieces of furniture.  This one was great because it was in beautiful shape, we got it for a steal, and it's a nice experiment to try a different type of unit.

Picture of the mattresses, frames, boxsprings, etc.  It was a Queen mattress, which we did indeed throw away (more on that later), and two twin box springs.  We kept the box springs and have since sold them. We threw the wooden pieces away.

A fridge:

  Everything in this whole unit was clean and in amazing shape, so I didn't even think twice before opening the freezer--- I should have, reader, because it was disgusting.  Something had spilled, and although they removed the food, they didn't remove the spillage.  Even though the unit was climate controlled, it still festered.  I had a serious Katrina flashback (for those of you out of town readers-- when we came back from Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst things that everyone had to deal with that went unreported was opening the fridges, because after being without power for weeks, the stench was unbearable.   There were actually stories of people burying the garbage in their backyards because of the smell, and then ending up with dead trees or animals digging it up looking for carcass).  But I digress-  Let me just say, it took me about 10 minutes to recover from the freezer smell.

This is what happens when you're really tired and you have a fully assembled, clean, comfortable couch at your disposal!

After the van was packed with as much furniture and random miscellaneous other stuff as we could fit into it (the rest of it was mainly clothing and toys),  we took off for our first return trip.    I have to say, that without revealing where this location is,  the drive was QUITE long, and something annoying (besides Brian talking)  kept happening the ENTIRE way home.   Watch the video:

After we arrived home from trip #1...  we ran into Brian's tenant/roommate/housemate/ I don't know what you call him, Conrad---   who did THIS to the van!       I told him I still had to make a few trips in the van (and now would have to wear a hat and glasses to hide my identity, thank you very much).   We don't think child molestation is funny by any means, and it has affected a few dear friends of ours, actually-- but I do have to admit that it made me giggle once I got over the horror of it.

Here's a video of the whole thing going down:

Unit recap:

For $200, we ended up with:
A sofa
Left corner sectional
Right corner sectional
2nd dresser
end table
bed frame
2 twin boxsprings
Bissell vaccum cleaner
tool box filled with tools
a computer monitor
a box of child's toys
2 bags of towels
4-5 bins of clothing and shoes, some designer
an oil painting
$50 to Houston's (gift card)
? to Marshall's (gift card)
a box of home decor
and a box of electronics

I think we did pretty exceptionally.  

Number of bidders:  5
Number of trips back/forth to get the things: 3
Number of fights Brian/I got into trying to buy/process this unit:  1 (that's pretty good, considering all of the trips).

Oh, and about that fight...   on trip #3 (our final trip),  we had to deal with the mattress.    Boy, did we deal with that mattress!   For some reason, although it was only a Queen, it was HEAVY, and it was HARD TO MOVE-- I think it was stuffed with feathers, or something.  It had down and feathers spewing out of it, so they would get in your face and eyes, and it was like a soggy noodle, and not at all like a regular mattress.  You'd pick up one side, and the other would sag to the floor.  We really needed 3 people to move this mattress, one on each side, and one person to hold up the saggy middle.  No dice.   We ended up fighting with it, dragging it, cursing at it, and eventually cursing at each other.  At one point Brian yelled at me to "turn it 180 degrees"  and I shouted "what's THAT going to do?"  and we ended up doing it anyway, with it finishing out EXACTLY the way it was before only with us flip-flopped.  It wasn't his most brilliant moment, but I was pretty frustrated by that too.  Which made matters even MORE frustrating, is that the tenants of the apartment complex across the street (the one that actually has the NO DRUG ZONE sign up, which tells you a lot about the place)-- are now outside freely (it's 3:30 on a Monday and I have a feeling they should have been at work or something), staring at us and making remarks.   The last thing we need is a bunch of people looking at our furniture and in our unit, and I'm pretty sure some of the boys were trying to do something illegal with each other (that's all I will say),  and needless to say, we wanted out of there fast.  Brian was able to convince some boy named TyQuon to help us, and we were very quickly out of there.  It's one of the most frustrating 20 minutes we have ever had as a company, but looking back on it, it's one of the more hilarious.  And it makes for a good story for this blog!

That's it for now, dear readers.  Sorry for the delay in posting, we've had a lot happening-- but pretty soon expect some good stuff, including the interview with Dan Dotson (from Storage Wars) which we had last Monday night.  


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