•             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


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    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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Second-Hand Shop – 6th January 2012

‘Pocket Watch’ Mechanical Counter:  £21

Mechanical Counter, Pocket Watch Style

Mechanical Counter, Pocket Watch Style

“Let’s go to the house-clearance shop,” said Ted to his wife.

“It’s a bit far,” she replied, but then surrendered. On the way there, she decided to pop into a local charity shop while Ted was in the second-hand shop, and she ended up with nine tart plates which matched a dinner service they have.

Meanwhile, eagle-eyed Ted spotted a strange-looking pocket-watch kind of thing in a display cabinet. “What’s that?” he asked the assistant.  A frown was followed by silence as she opened the cabinet lid and extracted it. Ted realised immediately that it was a kind of tally counter – something he collects! He looked on the back and it was marked £24 – not cheap but not outrageous either.

“What’s your best price?” asked Ted. This is a good phrase to use because it removes the possibility of offering an amount which is higher than the amount which might finally be accepted.

“£22,” she responded. Ted thought this rather high for a ‘best price’ and offered £20.

“£21,” she said. So it wasn’t her best price, was it?

Ted realised that that was the end of the haggling and passed over the cash. Let’s face it – Ted is unlikely ever to see one of these again, and he did get 12½% off.

In the picture above (click it to enlarge it), the counter is displaying 27 – it gets increased by 1 each time the button at the top is pressed. It is reset by moving the lever at the top to the right.

There is no maker’s name on it anywhere, and deluded Ted believes that this is a one-off prototype which will be worth a small fortune in years to come.


2 Responses

  1. Hi

    Do you still have the Mechanical Counter I would be interested in buying it?



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