A Wild West Stakeout…​ At the Flea Market

I’m going to tell y’all all a tale that will make you shake in yer very boots. A tale such that the wild wild west ain’t never seen before…

SO IT BEGINS-

After a few full days, Sunday rolled around and the whole gang was itching to get out of the house. My mom had the idea to go to the Alemany flea market that morning and from there, we’d see where the wind blew us. Now, of course, I was down for the flea market Saturday night, but every time the alarm goes off for it the next day, it seems I’d rather do just about anything other than getting out of bed. Fortunately for me, my mom riled me out of bed and somehow got me to move before my preferred wake-up time of 2pm. Since I was now up, there was no way in hell that I would allow my sleeping Dad to get off easy. I screamed “Get up ugly!” and we were off.

At the time, I had a severe coffee addiction that only ended when I got the flu and figured it was too convenient to not just ride the wave of ick and quit without distinguishable withdrawal symptoms. That said, the addict I was demanded coffee. If I had to be awake at such an ungodly hour, it was necessary to fuel up. Even my mom who wanted to get to the flea market early said, “We should stop, we all know she’ll be in a better mood if we do.” Exactly right. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Unfortunately, Starbucks was the only option and it is not only foul but slower than the DMV. Safe to say, mom wasn’t thrilled.

Once we finally got there, things took a sharp turn towards score-town. I usually never find anything at the Alemany, so I was truly shocked that I found something better than a fedora. I can literally trace my last purchase there back to 6th grade when I bought a pair of surf-picture covered vans. I was so stoked. Keep hangin’ loose 6th grade me. Anyways, I found the most kickass vintage t-shirts. I am a t-shirt aficionado, and vintage tees are not only my vice but also my lifeblood. I recently watched a video about some jerk buying up literally every vintage tee he comes across and sells them for $300 and up. I tried to respect the hustle, but I was HEATED! No wonder they’re impossible to find. I didn’t even want to ask for prices when I saw a clothing rack filled with vintage clothes because I have PTSD from all the times the prices were so high, I almost passed out. Luckily for me, I took a chance and was hit with a miracle, only ten bucks! Honestly, even that’s a lot for me but these days if it’s under $20 I figure I’m doing good. Swooped that bad boy up and ran.

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Me sensing vintage danger

As I milled through endless piles of stuff, I felt the eyes of a predator. At first, I thought “Eh, It’s only me,” but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. Never, I repeat NEVER deny your junking instincts! I turned, and just as I suspected, a vintage-clad hipster girl was near and scooping up just about every cute vintage piece of clothing at the stall next to me. Utterly. Disrespectful. This monumental slight was a challenge, and I accepted. I shouted “Not in my town, rapscallion!” and ran to the same stall. Right before my eyes, I saw her grab the most perfect vintage tee and buy it immediately. I WAS HORRIFIED. NO ONE BEATS ME AT MY OWN GAME!

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Realizing my fate, the duel begins now

I revved into high gear. I would NOT be outdone by a beret-wearing, straw basket toting Pinterest girl! Try again next time, Satan! Looking through the racks of clothes at the speed of light, there it was. Just what I needed to win the battle. A darling vintage Guns N’ Roses tee. “Thank you, god,” I whispered, pointing to the sky. I swooped that baby up and asked how much it was. “$10”, the man said. I thought, “Hmmm, not only am I going to buy this shirt, but I’m also going to get it cheaper than my enemy did.” “Could you do seven?” I said, crossing my fingers and toes. I was met with the wonderful word, “Yes.” At this point, the Pinterest girl had noticed me. Clearly, her vintage predator radar was far less developed than mine, as I had noticed her within seconds. How sad. She hit her boyfriend and said, “Damn it, look at that!”

Me, proudly displaying my hard-earned tee…

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The shootout was over. I had won. Other hipsters present looked on at me with respect in their eyes. I think I might have even seen one shed a tear. I was a force of second-hand superiority that had never been seen before. Years of rummaging experience had led me to this moment. I went on to go down in history as the sharpest shooter at the Alemany Flea Market.

 

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Defending my territory, victorious

 

 

The End.

Treasure Hunt: Striking Gucci Gold

Firstly, let’s start off by saying that I regard myself as a master of finesse. I am constantly competing with myself to raise the bar higher and higher. That being said, I think this time I really outdid myself.

This ol’ yarn begins after a long day of scouring the town for the ultimate thrift store finds with my aunt and my mom. This day had already been going pretty darn well as I scored not only a black cashmere sweater but also a pair of white leather sneakers that I have worn so many times that I’m beginning to question if they are actually becoming an extension of me. Concerning? Yes. Fashionable and comfortable? Double yes.

 

 

 

Anyways, like most of my adventures, the search for a good cup of joe often leads me to good places. My mom, my aunt and I were all exhausted and while we were scouring the streets for any place to revive our wilting souls, an ominous yet intriguing shop suddenly appeared on the horizon.

This place is incredible. Filled with good stuff, but also an overwhelming explosion of disarray.

This picture doesn’t even slightly capture the reality of the inside:

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This shop was so messy, even I an experienced and hardened flea market drifter and thrift store vagrant found it difficult to concentrate. Then, something caught my eye. In a glass case with layer upon layer of jewelry ranging from the dawn of time till now, a beautiful sparkling ring sat calling my name. It called specifically to the gaudy grandmother within that particularly appreciates these kinds of things. I’ve really tried to refine her tastes but that old broad won’t quit. Anyways, I had to have it. I crossed my fingers that it would fit and by some miracle it did. To really put the cherry on top, my aunt Mary Ann swooped it up and graciously bought it for me. I was thrilled. Even about a month later I can still be found so mesmerized by it sparkling on my finger that I forget the world around me.

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Even after buying the ring, we were so transfixed by this case of jewelry that we decided to look again. As my eyes and my brain worked in hyperdrive to process all that I was seeing, there it was. Amongst the watches. My brain said, “Yo. Yo, girl. Look at that. Is that… what I think it is? YUPPPPPPPPPP! A Gucci watch!” And then I said, “Damn, brain, is you for real?” I looked again. Yup. She for real. It was perfect. Vintage and understated. The perfect everyday watch. I see the price. $60 big ones. Not bad, but also not as good as it could be. At this point, I had already gotten the ring as a present from my aunt and I knew that I had about a million other ways to spend $60 dollars responsibly than on a watch that I didn’t even know if it was real or not. But… I knew it was real. It had to be. I asked to look at it and the lady at the shop shuffled over to get it out for me.

It had all the hallmarks it needed for it to be authentic. But alas, I knew that I had to walk away. Gone, but never forgotten Gucci watch. I’ll be thinking of you.

Suprise! The story does not end there. Lol, that Gucci watch was comin’ home to mama 😉 Cut to my 19th birthday. To say I was forlorn was an understatement. I was the physical embodiment of hit song Hello, Darkness my Old Friend. In an attempt to cheer me up and break the cloud of existential crisis surrounding me, I went back with my mom and my aunt to that wonderful, crusty, and overwhelming treasure hole. I was scared the watch wouldn’t be there. Looking back, this was foolish. It had probably been there since the invention of sliced bread. I asked to see it again, and yep. I still wanted it. We asked the lady what her best price was and she said $50. Hmmm, $50 for a watch that might not even work was still a lot to me. Once again, I decided to walk away.

But I couldn’t let it go. I scoured the internet to see if I could get some info and low and behold I found the same watch with a whopping price tag of $1,200. I screamed “TURN THIS BUS AROUND”, and I ran into the shop. The lady asked what brand the watch was, “Pierre Cardin?”, as she began to punch in what she was going to charge me. I damn well knew what the brand was but acting to protect myself from a possible price mark up I bit my tongue and replied.. “Hmm, I don’t know. I can’t see it from here.” Really, this lie made no difference because seconds later she said, “oh, it’s Gucci.” Damn. Luckily for me, it didn’t matter. My mom asked if she thought it was real and the lady replied in a very condescending tone “Well, if it’s not real the watch man will laugh in your face and say what a fool you’ve been.” I was like…umm. At this point, I was feeling like she had actually finessed me, but regardless I was so excited and happy to finally have the watch on my wrist.

Cut to Safeway. Did I surprise you? Yes, the finale of this tale ends at Safeway. This was the hour of reckoning. There I was, standing in front of the all-knowing watch overlord. It was as if he could read my thoughts. I was preparing myself for the villain-esque laugh the antique store owner had promised I would get if I had been duped. “HAHAHAHAHA”,  he would say. “YOU FOOL! What a clown you are! How could anyone ever believe this to be real?!” But instead, as he went off to inspect it in his almost hidden key-kiosque, he seemed optimistic. “Good sign”, I thought. Then he came back with two beautiful words and a fully-tickin’ watch. “It’s real”, he said. Hurray! I couldn’t believe it. But the good news didn’t stop there. He continued on to say, “$800 dollar watch. Wait, let me see if it’s gold plated.” AHHHHHH was what my internal voice was saying at the time. If you’ve read my past jewelry blog post then you’d know that I’m basically a prospector reincarnated. Needless to say, I really wanted it to be gold plated. “$1,000 dollar watch, gold plated”, he said. EUREKA! I’d hit the jackpot! Then he said, “$22 dollars for the battery.” Interesting. Very INTERESTING. I had just read his sign that said: All watch batteries $12. He had charged me more because it ended up being a nicer watch.

In the end, I had been finessed. By none other than the watch man. But all and all, I had  expected much worse. I walked out of Safeway that day as a champion.

I’ve worked for Gucci before at their store in SF showing clothes to private clients:

 

 

Nothing beats getting paid to play dress-up!

Links:

Exact same watch on Etsy  (This one’s brand new, but there are used ones for around $300 on Etsy as well)

White Leather Shoes

Similar Black Cashmere Sweater

Similar Pink Ring 

 

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