•             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 – 2nd October 2011


Mechanical Timer:  £1

Mechanical Timer

Mechanical Timer

Once again Ted has succumbed to a mechanical timer – it was because it wasn’t one of the modern quartz things that Ted decided to buy it. Ted is a mechanic at heart.

“How much for the timer with a loose hand?” asked Ted.

Do you see the psychology here? While asking the price, Ted has embedded in the seller’s brain the fact that the timer is not in full working order.

“A pound,” said the seller.

Ted presented his usual look of shock horror.

“Well, do you want to pay more?”

Ted handed over the money.

The balance wheel pivots need sharpening, but Ted will sort that out in a tick.

Sharp Secateurs:  £1

Sharp Secateurs

Sharp Secateurs

Ted continually scans the house-clearance chap’s goodies when he is there, visiting his stall at least half a dozen times. His policy is to sell things really cheaply just to shift it all.

If someone tries to haggle, the seller tells the meanie, in polite but no uncertain terms, where to go.

These sharp secateurs were a snip.

Silver-Polishing Cloths: 10p

Silver-Polishing Cloths

Silver-Polishing Cloths

These came from the house-clearance chap mentioned above.

The paper envelope they came in calls them “Silver Polishing Cloths” – but surely that describes polishing cloths which are made of silver? What would Lynne Truss say about this?

You might think that these specially-impregnated cloths might have lost some of their effectiveness over the years, but when Ted’s wife polished a silver-plated spoon, he was nearly blinded when he looked at it afterwards.

Apparently, they were called “Town Talk” because when they were invented they were the talk of the town!

Ted got three cloths for his 10p.

Trifle Bowl:  30p

Trifle Bowl

Trifle Bowl

Only the house-clearance seller above would sell such a useful kitchen accessory at this price.

Ted likes the word ‘trifle’ to indicate the potential contents of a bowl rather than its capacity, and this bowl will comfortably hold twice as much as his old one.

Just after Ted had bought this chipped gem, he witnessed one of the rare occasions where the wife was not in control.

“Did you sell that, then?” the husband asked his wife.

“Yes, £1,” she said.

“What? He asked me how much it was a few minutes ago, and I said it was a fiver, but that he could have it for three!”

“Er… I wanted to get rid of it…”

The husband fumed and muttered something about mugging him if he walked by. Ted smiled and moved on.

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