•             Welcome

    This is the personal site of Ted the serendipitist, who has interpreted the Wikipedia definition of 'Hunter-Gatherer' (see that page) as meaning someone who visits junk shops, charity shops, antique shops and hebdomadal matutinal car boot sales in order to acquire low-value objects, which no-one in their right minds would want, at low cost (well, apart from antique shops, that is).

    Deluded Ted believes that at some time in the future, some of his acquisitions will be highly desirable and worth a small fortune.

  •       Car Boot Sales

    TYPES OF SELLERS

    There are two types of sellers at car boot sales, viz traders and ordinary people. Ted tends to avoid traders owing to the high chance of inadvertently purchasing inferior goods at high prices. However, Ted did recently manage to acquire a large number of pairs of everlasting socks at only 50p per pair.

    THE LANGUAGE

    Buyers need to understand traders' language; on asked how much the French carriage clock is, the response might be "toonarf." This would be interpreted as £250. There is no first aid on site for buyers who faint.

    WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT?

    Ted has discovered that, 99% of the time, a strange-looking object is either a massager, a fitness device or a CD rack.

    WIVES

    When a husband and wife team are selling their unwanted items at a car boot stall, it is an interesting fact that, whatever position the husband holds at work, be it dogsbody, manager or chief executive, it is the wife who wears the trousers. If someone asks the wife how much the pretty mug is, she'll say, for example, "50p." However, if the husband were asked, he would turn to his wife and say, "Er... how much for this, dear?" - even if it belongs to him.

    At other times the wife can be heard saying, "No, not there - put it on the ground here...", "You need to turn those round", "You can empty this box now..." or "You can pour me a cup of tea now - you did pack the flask as I asked, didn't you?"

    The simple fact is that women are more suited to this activity than the average man is, and so they naturally take control.

    HAGGLING

    In the early days, Ted's wife would suddenly say, "Ooh, look! They've GOT one!!!" This somewhat weakened Ted's position when he started to haggle. A more appropriate method for achieving a minimal sale price is to pick up the piece unenthusiastically and give a look of horror on hearing the price.

    Some sellers dither when asked the price of an item. At the first sign of this, the buyer should offer a very low price; there is a high chance that it will be accepted, especially if a wife is not in sight.

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Car Boot Sale – 17th April 2011


Ted is kicking himself. Every year the car boot sale starts at Easter – but this year it started earlier and Ted didn’t know! It was just by chance that he heard that someone was there in March! Quelle horreur!

However, Ted, being an optimist, realised that this was therefore a BONUS car boot sale week.

It was the week of the Polar Bear. Yes, a 5ft polar bear. Brand new. Wrapped in plastic. Magnificent. £50. But Ted would have had nowhere to put it. And his wife would have walked out. So he resisted. Ted resisted. Ted actually resisted a bargain.

Toy Fruit Machine:  £1

Ted has a few of these, but why not add another? As Oscar Wilde famously said, “Nothing succeeds like excess.”

If the player inserts a coin for each go, all the coins inserted get returned when three bars appear. What fun! Not quite like the real thing – after all, what fruit machine gives a return of 100%?

Red Box of K’Nex:  £4

Yes, Ted has succumbed to yet another box of K’Nex so that he has enough pieces to build his fruit machine. Some people might think that Ted already has enough resources, but what if another invention gobbles up lots of pieces? What then, eh? He’d kick himself, wouldn’t he?

Nursery Box:  £1

Ted just couldn’t resist this – such a pretty box; such vibrant colours.

He asked the young lady how much it was and she shrugged her shoulders and said, questioningly, “£2?” Big mistake. If the seller is not assertive and doesn’t state clearly and definitely how much they want for the item, then they will lose out. All the body language here said, “I don’t know how much I want for this, so I’ll say £2 and see what happens.” Ted, of course, gave his well-practised look of horror and offered £1, confident that it would be accepted. It was.

How to Avoid a Wombat’s Bum:  50p

What an amazing title for a book! Ted was intrigued and wanted to know what it was all about. Well, it’s full of interesting facts accumulated by the author over a twenty-year period, partly from the internet. As it says on the front cover, “Don’t chase it! Wombats can run up to 25 miles per hour and stop dead in half a stride. They kill their predators this way – the predator runs into the wombat’s bum-bone and smashes its face.” This isn’t quite in line with the Wikipedia entry, but they do appear to use their rump to see off predators.

Electric Bell:  £2.50

This was a hard haggle. The guy wanted £3, and Ted offered a pound less. The trouble was that the seller knew that this was a real old-fashioned bell, made of real wood, not plastic, and it had a certain charm about it (and no woodworm). Ted offered £2 and settled on £2.50. It will look really nice when it has been cleaned up and adjusted.

The Dangerous Book for Boys:  50p

Yes, just 50p for this beautifully-made book – the pages are sewn in signatures and you can actually see the stitches. It’s quite heavy, too.

But what a misleading title! Ted was expecting to find out how to give electric shocks to people, and how to make explosives, and how to make stink bombs. But no – most of the contents are boring things like The Laws of Football, Famous Battles, and Charting the Universe. What a disappointment.

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