Thursday, June 12, 2008

6/7/08 A heat wave in the yards of clutter

The south is hot, but normally the truly oppressive weather does not begin until July or August. June is for the most part a warm but pleasant month where one can be outside exploring clutter filled yards without risking unpleasantness and possible death from heat stroke. This week the temperatures are in the mid nineties and the air is stagnant. When I went out this morning I made a vow not to stay out past 10 AM. I did not keep that vow due to the multitude of sales nearby.

Candler St. – Candler Park “Yard Sales”

When I arrived here I was tempted to take in these sales as a token shopping event then go home. On this street I found two sales of different sides on the same block. The first sale featured a moderate selection of old clutter including faux flowers, garden tools, brass pots, a plaster statue of a pig in a chef’s hat, a single croquet mallet, a bucket of plush animals and a small pillow with a bas-relief dog’s head on it. The second sale down the street was even less interesting with a carved wooden foot, a coffee table, a garden sprayer, some art posters and some wicker items. The most redeeming feature of both these sales was the signage. Both had chalk signs on the sidewalk in front of the sales. The later sale also had a very large smiley face sign painted of wood in front of the yard.

I bought nothing.

Craved wooden foot in the hot sun.

Madison Ave. – Oakhurst “Yard Sale”

Being so unfulfilled by these two sales I decided to take on the oppressive heat and head for the community wide sale happening in the Wynona Park neighborhood of Decatur. On the way there I came across this small sale. Here a woman sat in her yard surrounded by a small assortment of clutter in the direct hot sun. In front of her on a table was a box marked “Artificial Dog Poo- Made in the USA – 1$” The seller explained that her father came up with the idea using a secret formula that was mostly flour. He had hoped to fund his retirement with this faux fecal scheme. I did not want to dash his hopes by informing her that there are already major factories in China churning out a plastic version this product at a fraction of the cost. She said her Dad had given her several boxes but she had not sold little of it. Also at the sale were some books on crafts, a selection of women’s clothing and a large old TV cabinet with no TV tube in it. The seller remarked she was soon moving to Asheville. It cooler there perhaps she can market her father’s product better at a higher elevation.
I bought nothing

2nd Ave. – Oakhurst – “Yard Sale”
This small sale was unremarkable except for a collection of doors and costumes.
I bought nothing.

Tilson Ave. – East Lake “Yard Sale”

This was a larger sale with signs that started miles from the event. After driving far further than I intended I came upon this sale in the driveway and back yard of a newer home and was disappointed. Most of the stuff here was newer things and children’s stuff. There was not even bizarre children’s stuff. The most interesting section was a large table topped with a huge array of solvents, cleaners and pesticides. Nearly all the products looked new and I did find it strange that they would so proudly display so many flea killing products to the general public.
I bought nothing.

E. Lake Dr. – Oakhurst “Yard Sale”

The temperature was starting to get unbearable but I went on knowing I still had not even begun my exploration of the Wynona Park sales. I didn’t want to spend much time at this sale but pulled over anyway. Her in the hot sun I found boxes of cables, a set of conjones drums, some men’s clothing (it was far to hot to even try things on) and some house wares.
I bought several pieces of Tupperware.

Wynona Park neighborhood sales

By this time the heat had gotten to me. I wondered from yard to yard in a daze. If it were not for the photographs I took I doubt I would remember anything I encountered there. Mostly I recall a multitude of children’s stuff, with the emphasis on gleaming plastic items. Some of the stuff was massive such as the kid’s pool in the shape of a tugboat. One sale had a plethora of princess items another had an extended assortment of plastic aliens carrying weapons of war. There were Yoda masks and piles of pink ponies. There were Dollhouses constructed out of pounds of pink plastic, fantasy forts of blue plastic and boxes packed full of naked dolls.

The bright plastic seemed to glow in the glaring sunlight. There were also clothes, large pillows in the shape of fish, house wares and an occasional disassembled ceiling fan. I did have a change to observe two shoppers one an older woman who was scanning the barcodes of books with a palm PDA device. She resold books and the scanner contained a database of ISBN numbers of books that had a market value that made reselling profitable. She had hits on two graphics textbooks. She told me that she was retired and this augmented her income (a far better plan than marketing fake dog poo). At another sale I ran into the owner of a local used record store. He bought by instincts alone. When I encountered him he was purchasing about 30 CD’s. When I asked him if there was any system like I had seen for Cds like the book lady had he said he didn’t know of it or need it, implying that it would take the fun out of selecting products for resale.

Fishy pillows

In the midst of all this was an estate sale. The home had nearly been depleted of most of its contents. But I wondered inside anyway. There I was delighted to find old food for sale. Among the oldest item was a can of blueberries from Big Star, a supermarket that has not done business in Atlanta for over eight years. The food items were marked down from 50 cents to 25. I was tempted to purchase a jar of caviar for that price but would have been too embarrassed if I were hospitalized by it. There was also a half finished open bottle of Sherry. It was not a good vintage.

In one room of the nearly empty house was a large poster of Mark Spitz hanging in a window. In a small room I found old national Geographic magazines, some books and a pile of not so old road maps. The upstairs area was nearly empty except for a few stray items of Xmas d├ęcor.
I bought two sheets for upcoming installation I’m exhibiting this fall at Eyedrum and a 1968 map of San Antonio that featured a layout of the World Exposition there.


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Chris said...

I wonder if the fake dog poo is edible. Not that I would eat it, but just wondering. Now that would be big money maker - make homemade dog biscuits in the shape of dog poo! Need to go and trademark this idea!

Garage Sales said...

Lol, that dog poo is hilarious and it looks real. I like how they wrote made in the USA on the box. I guess not everything is made in China. I guess I got my laugh for today.

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