Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Pleasure of Picking

Very old snowshoes found in the barn

You just never know what you will find when you dig around in an old barn, apparently even in our old barn. I too am a fan of those shows that are all about people finding treasures in odd or old places.  They call it 'picking' in the two shows I am familiar with...American Pickers and Canadian Pickers.  To them it is a business and they choose things they can then sell and make a profit.  Most of us do not have the opportunity to get into the unlikely and varied places those guys have the great fortune to explore.  However, there are stores such as Salvation Army Thrift shops or Value Villages or consignment shops just about everywhere that afford all of us a chance to do our own 'picking'.
I liken the feeling to one you get golfing; there is always one good hit/stroke/put each time out on the course that convinces you you can play this game and it is that hit that keeps you going back.  Similarly, at thrift stores and consignment shops, there is that one great find that whets your appetite and pulls you back again another day. 
When I'm in one, my eyes are alert to the find; on my list, for instance, are a 'knit in Scotland or Ireland' cardigan, garden clogs, a pink pashmina, designer glass frames, embroidered tablecloths, a deluxe Scrabble game.  My most recent "finds" ....4 metres of the exact tone on tone cream cotton I use for most of my embroidery projects, a complete set of Aero knitting needles, my crossword dictionary, a beautiful Santa 1000 piece puzzle, never opened.
I'm always surprised by how much is brand new in these places...books with stiffened spines, never opened, blouses and sweaters with tags, dishes with price tags stuck to the underside, candles never taken from their boxes.  For all the people busily collecting stuff, obviously there are lots of people unafraid of culling and letting go of stuff too. 
Housewares is the saddest section.  The church plates, homemade plaques bearing personal  messages, the cross stitched pictures, as well often personalized...Happy Birthday, Congratulations, So and So, the notes written on the backs " To Marci, All My Love, Grandma"...that sort of thing.  There is a poignancy in items like that, and it makes me think of my 'stuff' someday on a shelf being handled by strangers.  I hope it will be someone according each thing the respect that I do. 
New inventory arrives by the truckload each and every day.  So much for the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle which  is a motto I try my best to live by and a motivation for including thrift stores in my shopping ventures.
It is not really about saving money for me though that is undeniably a plus. The comedian and actor, Rosie O'Donnell, pointed out on her own talk show many times that even rich people like getting a bargain so I know I am there in good company.