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    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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eBay – 6th November 2014

Clay Adams Laboratory Counter:  $50 (+ $27.17 p&p + $17.84 duty)

Blood-Cell Counter

Blood-Cell Counter

You know, Ted has wanted one of these for a long time, and so he decided to like take the plunge and pay more than, you know, he really wanted to for it.

Basically, it’s meant to be used for counting like blood-cell types or whatever, but Ted, you know, had a much better use in mind – a Verbal Filler Counter (VFC), sort of thing.

Verbal-Filler Counter

Verbal-Filler Counter

Most teenagers nowadays – and even people in their 20s – seem to, sort of, add like extra words when they’re like talking. They can’t seem to like say a sentence without adding like an extra word, or whatever, to it, kind of thing.

One way to like point this out is to like sit with them with the counter on the table, sort of thing. Then, whenever they kind of add one of these like extra words, a click is heard. They may like wonder what is going on, especially if there is like a slight sort of delay like between the speech impediment and the click.

If the English language corrupter asks like what the counter is for, they can be asked like to work it out for themselves, any like delay being gradually reduced to zero until they like twig. It can take a long time.

After this, a fine of 5p per incident can kind of be imposed so that like the cost of the counter can be defrayed, sort of thing.

Ted has relabelled the VFC so that the labels reflect the type of filler: L for “like”, YK for “you know”, KO for “kind of”, SO for “sort of”, OW for “or whatever”, and ER for “erm” or “um”. He may later add SOF for “should of”, but this is an example of like ignorance rather than a filler, or whatever.


What would the counts be if a teenager like read all this text aloud?




eBay – September 2014

Savvy Ted decided to look on eBay for K’Nex auctions where the items were near by and were for collection only, the theory being that the number of potential bidders is very small.

Oh ho ho! He acquired two lots, as follows:

Lot 1: 2Kg of K’Nex for £1.30

K'Nex Lot 1

K’Nex Lot 1

Yes – only £1.30 for this haul, where Ted was the only bidder, and it even included a 12-volt motor!

Ted can understand why sellers opt for Collection Only – it avoids the hassle of wrapping it up and taking it to the post office (or arranging a courier), and it removes any potential problem where the buyer claims that it did not arrive.

On the other hand, restricting the number of bidders is obviously going to have a detrimental effect on the selling price, as demonstrated here.

There can, of course, be some travelling costs involved, but where possible Ted uses his old fogey’s bus pass. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible here, and about £2-worth of petrol had to be used.

Lot 2: 2.3Kg of K’Nex for £3.67

K'Nex Lot 2

K’Nex Lot 2

What about this, then – another lot of K’Nex in a big blue case (with, alas, a broken lid – the case had to be thrown away).

This time, though, there was competition: the bidding reached £3.29 until right before the end of the auction, when a new bidder made a late bid. They entered £3.47 as their maximum, but Ted bid £4.07 at the last moment and got the K’Nex for £3.67!

This was just a bus ride away, and Ted’s bus pass came into its own.

Owing to an oversight due to the excitement of such a bargain, Ted didn’t quite have the right change on him when he picked up the item, and handed over £3.70. He magnanimously told the seller that he could keep the change as a tip.

Lot 3: Over 8Kg of K’Nex for £32.99 + £8.50 p&p

K'Nex Lot 3

K’Nex Lot 3

This lot was not Collection Only but was a good buy nevertheless.

This might seem a lot (forgive the pun), but there were over 5,000 pieces here, all of which had potential use: Ted doesn’t need any more track supports, chains, wheels or monster parts, and there were very few of these types of pieces.

Moreover, there were over 600 micro K’Nex pieces included – Ted wants these for future projects, their complementary use permitting creations which would otherwise be impossible, and what micro K’Nex there is on eBay is usually quite expensive. If it hadn’t been for the micro K’Nex, Ted probably wouldn’t have bid for it.

But why does Ted need yet more K’Nex? Well, the truth is that having recently made the constructions below, he needs to replenish his stock:


K'Nex Fruit Machine Mark I

K’Nex Fruit Machine Mark I

K'Nex Fruit Machine Mark II

K’Nex Fruit Machine Mark II

K'Nex Coin Pusher

K’Nex Coin Pusher

K'Nex Bonanza Machine

K’Nex Bonanza Machine

K'Nex Binary Machine

K’Nex Binary Machine


eBay – 7th March 2014

English Numbering Machines Counter:  99p (+ £2 p&p)

ENM CounterTed decided to bid the starting price of 99p for this with no intention of bidding any higher – and no-one else bid for it!

What a bargain!

Someone is trying to sell one of these on eBay for £19.99, but they’re in cloud cuckoo land.

eBay – 10th February 2014

8-digit Veeder-Root Counter:  $10 (+ $23.61)

8-digit Veeder-Root Counter

This came all the way from the US.

Yes – an 8-digit counter! Never again is Ted likely to come across another one of these!

He will finally be able to count the number of counters he has got…

eBay – 24th January 2014

4-digit Counter:  £2 (+ £2 p&p)

Four-digit CounterYes – Ted has acquired a counter the likes of which he has never seen before!

It’s a curious thing: the button in the middle increments the count, and the wheels on the left and right reset the count to zero. There’s no manufacturer anywhere on the case, as though they didn’t want to admit making it.

But why did Ted want it? Hasn’t he got enough already? Is he a collectomaniac?

What he now needs is a counter to count how many counters he has got…

eBay – 24th June 2013

K’Nex Connectors:  £1 (+ £1 p&p), Twice

K'Nex ConnectorsTed needs to stock up his supply of K’Nex following the construction of his K’Nex Fruit MachineK’Nex Ball Amusement Machine and K’Nex Binary Machine, and so when he saw these really cheap connectors on eBay, he jumped (but not fast enough – some had already been sold).

He paid £2 for 70 eight-way white connectors, and £2 for 70 seven-way blue ones, including postage. He bought them only two or three minutes apart.

Two days later, Ted received them – as two parcels! What is more, they cost £2.60 each to post!

The seller paid 40p to eBay to list the items, but this will be ignored because there were about eight items in the one listing.

Each item incurred eBay commission of 10% of the sale price, i.e. 10p.

Each item incurred PayPal commission of 3.4% + 20p = 27p.

So the seller paid a total of 2 x (10p + 27p) + 2 x £2.60 = £5.94 and received £4!

What is more, there were a total of 36 rubber bands around the pieces, when two would have been adequate!

eBay – 12th April 2013

3-Volt Counter:  1p (+ £3.35 p&p)

3-Volt CounterIt was only after Ted had entered his bid for this counter that he noticed the words ‘Czech Republic’ as the location; he didn’t even look at where it was coming from, because the postage and packing was £3.35 – pretty typical for small items nowadays.

The starting price was 1p, and so Ted rashly entered a maximum bid of… 1p!

Believe it or not, no-one else bid for this really useful item.  The postage was 98 korunas which is equivalent to £3.11, and so after the PayPal commission the seller sold this at a loss! The strange thing really is that the starting price was 1p – why not make it 99p, especially since there is no eBay fee for items under £1?

Ted will probably use this when he constructs his next Clickety-clackety Sunlight Counter.

The counter apparently came from a mainframe computer.