•             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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eBay – 13th August 2012


Veeder-Root Elm City Counter:  $25.38 (+ $15.17 p&p) + £11.24 Customs Charge

Veeder-Root Elm City Mechanical CounterTed really put his foot in it here.

He bid for the counter and was quite happy to pay $25.38 for it, and was quite prepared to pay $15.17 postage and packing too (all the way from Fort Wayne in Indiana – that’s over 3,800 miles).

Then, nine days later, the postman quietly slipped a card through the door saying that there was an £11.24 charge which included an administration fee of £8!!! Now Ted could fully understand a duty of £3.24, BUT AN ADMINISTRATION FEE OF £8??? Ye Gods!!!

Ted went to the Post Office where said item was under lock and key, armed guard and Rottweilers until the charge had been paid, and wandered miserably home.

To rub salt into the wound, it turned out that any item costing £15 or more being imported into the EU is subject to a customs charge – and the counter cost just over £16. So the excess of just over £1 incurred an extra charge of £11.24. There’s something wrong here.

Ted has regarded this as a learning experience, but he has ended up with a very nice solid brass antique counter.

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