Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Signs of addiction?
I can't say I've found any designer threads of late at my oppies, but I must admit that I haven't looked through the clothes much, as my heart lies elsewhere (and my arse has spread everywhere! Designers don't like that much...what's wrong with them?). But it's nice how an activity like op-shopping can bond crafters, fashionistas, knitting nannas, atomic homemakers and bargain hunters, as there's such a wide variety of people in search of treasure.
Today I went down to my local Savers as I was waiting for our Noodle Box order (as it's just around the corner), and as usual, I go in saying to myself "Okay, I can't buy much, it's not payday yet." But the gods of op-shopping are just out to taunt me and test my strength, and I ended up coming out with a bagful. First up there was a souvenir Aussie tablecloth from the 50's, then a couple of cheap bulk crafty supplies (velcro and press studdy things). I convinced some squealing teenage girls that were trying on wigs that I was mad by muttering loudly to myself at the pattern section and then suggesting they go for the freaky 'fro wig that was sitting there neglected. Then I found a vintage souvenir scarf, maybe from the 40's or early 50's - "Golden Days in Tasmania", and a nice old pure linen pillowcase for embroidering. So far, I thought, not doing too badly, under budget, so I went upstairs to scope out the china section (which is my fave). I'm sure the staff must nickname people like me "plate turners" as I've seen other people doing it too, turning all the old china upside down to see the backstamps and gauge the age and value of the pieces. (Why do Savers persist in sticking the price labels in the very middle of a cup or saucer, over the backstamp? Grr.) I don't actually care if something is valuable or not, but as I collect Meakin, Grindley and Art Deco china, I like to know what I'm getting. Today someone had donated no less than 50 pink saucers, but alas, no cups. Some were Johnson Brothers, and some were J&G Meakin, so I grabbed a couple of those and added some nameless gold rimmed tea cups. Hurrah, but $$ value climbing. I also found a tray - I was after one for my desk at work - and a little kittah salt shaker of kitschy goodness - Made in Japan, 60's I'd say. After a cursory glance over the mugs to see if there were any new ones for Pip's collection, and mindful of ducks with carts ornaments (alas, none of either), I wandered onto furniture.
And here I found my piece de resistance for the visit, an Art Deco footstool, in near perfect condition. Price unmarked. I'm not sure if anyone out there gets as excited by Art Deco as me, but as time passes, it's harder to find nice stuff that dealers haven't snaffled up to sell on e-bay. This footstool was nice and solid and looked like a homemade job, but oh, the upholstery joy! I tucked it under my arm and sought out staff to price it for me. I said to a salesgirl "How much is this box thingy with carpet on it?" She didn't know so we ended up having a bit of a conference with another staff member and the store manager. "Hmmm." said they, "No price, from the electrical section, it looks old"... One girl turned it over and looked at the bottom and the upholstery tacks with an assumed air of expertise "It must be 50 years old, hmmm." I stood there saying dumb things like "Oh, it's a footstool?" "I just liked the colours." So the nice manager bloke said, "$4.50 okay"? (I must admit, I was having a general dagginess and bad hair day - by bad hair I mean I'd brushed it this morning, but it had all snarled underneath, so by 5pm when I got fed up and put it in a pony tail it was all fuzzing out everywhere like dreadlocks in training - so maybe I appeared pitiful?) "No worries," said I. Inwardly I was very pleased and yay, at least I could afford it out of my $20 budget!
Anyway, here's where the bit about being addicted comes in... so I've got my footstool and my basket of goodies that I just can't live without (for today, anyway) and then I have to ask to use my discount card. So I'm there getting 5 cent and 10 cent discounts on everything...then I have to keep asking the clerk what the subtotal is as I add things in, and then when it came to $21.40, I try and EFTPOS it...argh, declined. Then I ask him to put through $20 on my card, and I give him $1.40 in coins. Then I check my purse and find that I have enough small change to buy the second teacup and the tray. So we do another transaction (with a 5% discount) for that too. Am I the only person who gets like this when they have oppy booty in their hot little hands? If I was at the supermarket I would have pulled out the chocolate, the magazine and the extra-soft toilet paper, and just paid for the rest and left in shame. But no, at the oppy I was determined. (The checkout guy was very nice too by the way.) I didn't care about the disgruntled shoppers next in line, the embarrassment at not having enough cash to just pay for everything in one hit and then leave, I was oblivious to outside forces. Is this single-mindedness the sign of an addict?
Now I'm sitting on the couch with my goodies around me, marvelling at the fact that today's shop looks like an indulgent department store shopping spree of half a century ago... footstool, scarves, pillowcase, china kitty, tablecloth, cups and saucers. And although I know they're only material possessions, they still fill me with a sense of beauty and satisfaction. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
Or am I just mad?
PS. I'll actually post pics of aforementioned items tomorrow. - updated. Ha, I just linked to this site from my china cabinet blog and referred to us as "Melbourne's op-shop Mafia"!!?