•             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 – 31st July 2016


In his recent posts, Ted has commented rather unkindly on overweight members of the public who he has seen at the car boot sale which he occasionally visits. He now regrets this. After all, it’s not very nice to comment on people’s afflictions even if they are caused by overstuffing their face.

So he is not going to mention the huge man who sat on a plastic chair (the ones where the chair is a single piece of moulded plastic, and the cross-section of a leg is a right-angle). As soon as he sat down his flabberjubber undulated up and down his body, and then the whole chair started to distort, twist and then rock from side to side. First it would sway to one side, with Ted waiting for the ‘CRACK!’, and then it would sway the other way. It was better than watching a suspense movie. Amazingly, though, it didn’t collapse. Ted now has great respect for plastic-chair designers (the hyphen is there so that it’s the chair that’s plastic, not the designer).

Picture Cubes:  £2

Ted remembers these from his childhood, and they are very difficult to find nowadays. There is one from time to time on eBay, but they cost at least £6 plus postage.

What a bargain! The seller said that they belonged to her son who is now 42!

Ammeter:  £3

Yes – this superb antique (actually, June 1960) was sitting on what looked like an antique stall, and so Ted walked straight on because the chance was that the man would be asking around £30 for it.

But wait! Why not ask? And so Ted did.

“What are you asking for this?” said Ted disinterestedly. Note that he didn’t ask how much the ammeter was – that would indicate to the seller that Ted knew what it was. Neither did he ask what it cost – that would indicate that it actually had a price. No, Ted worded his question so that there was room to haggle for a strange item that he didn’t really appear to want.

“£5,” said the man, “but I’m open to offers.”

That was as good as saying that £5 was too much to ask for it, and Ted took full advantage.

“Have you tested it?” asked Ted. “No,” said the seller, putting himself in an even weaker position.

“Hmmm…,” said Ted with a doubtful look on his face, “Take three?”

“Yes,” the seller said, but if he’d said £4 Ted would have paid it!

It’s a lovely old thing, and when Ted got it home he found that it only worked when it was lying on its back.

No problem! Ted operated on its tummy and it is now in good working order.

He will be able to use it to see how much current is being passed into his indispensable sunlight counter.

Wooden box:  £1

Ted likes colourful wooden boxes, and when he saw this he asked the seller what she was asking for it.

“Two pounds,” the middle aged woman said.

Ted gave his well-practised look of horror.

“TWO POUNDS!” he said, aghast.

“Well, I’ll take one,” she said. Just like that.

So Ted has a very useful box which will, no doubt, be used to hold emptiness.

Box of Rawlplugs:  20p

This is the real McCoy – a box of 1970s Rawlplugs. Why do they make them of brittle plastic nowadays?

The box was lying amongst a mass of miscellaneous items which the seller was trying to sell as a job lot, but Ted knew that if he bought it all it would just sit for years in his cellar, and Ted only buys things which are going to be really useful.

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