Saturday, August 28, 2010

Everything is just 25¢

This post is lovingly dedicated to my supportive husband who watched the kids so I could experience this most unbelievable event.

Don't say I didn't warn you because your mind is about to be blown. First a little background:

I was browsing through some of my coupon blogs the other day, as I have been known to do on occasion and came across a post on Angela's blog The Coupon Project that got my heart pumping.

The consignment shop Kidz Kaboodle in Tacoma holds a quarter sale once a month where everything is just 25¢. They rent out the store next door, dump hefty bags full of clothes on tables and customers go at it. The clothes are all the rejects from their consignment store. Out of season, stained, missing buttons, worn or otherwise afflicted clothing. (Out of my loot, only 2 shirts were stained, the rest were in prime condition, some brand new with tags even.) What is also amazing is that they also put out strollers, swings, bouncers, toys, shoes, you name it....also only 25¢! You heard right.

I couldn't pass up the idea of this event and so I left the kids with Rob early this morning and headed off to the sale. I heard it was important to be early so I was there at 8:45 and the doors didn't open until 10am.

Here's my story.

I get there 1hr 15 minutes early and I am about 20 people back in line. I brought a magazine to pass the time and it wasn't all that bad. About 60 people were behind me in line so I thought I was in a good place. I had my garbage bag in hand and at 10am, the doors opened.

I have NEVER experienced anything like this in my life. As soon as I walked in the doors, I felt like I was in slow motion. It was like a swarm of locusts devouring everything in site. The toys were hit hard and fast. I paid no attention to those, quickly scanned over the clothes but no one was at the tables yet so I followed the commotion ahead of me. A separate room in the back corner of the store was in chaos. I thought something must be good if that was where everyone was going so I followed. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw next. There were women grabbing, shoving, throwing, fighting, biting, kicking, spitting, and yelling over strollers, bouncers, boppys, exersaucers, swings, bikes and rockers. Well, maybe they weren't biting or kicking but there was a whole lot of grabbing. It is a full on free for all because all items are just a quarter. I immediately eyed a changing table pad and snagged it for my church's mother's room and then I saw it in the corner of the room in a big pile of stuff...a pink baby bouncer. In slow motion...again, I went for it but was swatted down by a woman who spoke but one word in broken English..."mine!" I was completely floored and not to mention furious. What do you mean, "yours?" She held up an imaginary arm rope around that big pile of baby equipment.

Then I understood. This gal and her mother had been first in line, rushed in, pushed everything they could into a gigantic pile and stood in front of it claiming it all. I could not believe it.

I was not at all intimidated. Our heated conversation went a little something like this:
Greedy Girl: "Mine!"
Beautiful, Vivacious and Spunky Rachel: "Are you kidding me?"
Greedy Girl: "No, mine!" (Greedy Girl then pushes Rachel's delicate hands away as she reaches for it.)
BVSR: "You can't have all this, that is ridiculous. Can I just have the bouncer?"
Greedy Girl: "No, I here since 6am. Here take this..." (Greedy girl offers Rachel a crumby exersaucer.)
BVSR: "I don't need that. Fine, can I pay you for it?"
Greedy Girl: "No." (Greedy girl then pushes other people away as they reach for things.)
BVSR: "I am going to go get someone, this is unbelievable."
Greedy Girl: "Go ahead."
BVSR: "Can I please just have the stupid bouncer. I have a baby and would like to have it."
Greedy Girl: "Fine."
BVSR: "Fine!" (Rachel takes her prize as the crowd goes wild. Victory is hers!)

Personally, I think she finally gave in because I was bigger and stronger and gorgeous-er than she was. I watched other women try to grab things while they weren't looking but these woman were rudely persistent. In the end, I don't know how much they got away with or if anyone else was bold enough to fight for what they wanted but I didn't stick around to find out. I was physically shaken and wasn't sure if it was from the adrenaline or the fury. I grabbed my things and exited the room.
As soon as I got out, I headed over to the tables with piles of clothes. As I mentioned before, there was no one there but now, the room was packed. All of those 60 people had come in, given up hope of winning a stroller and gone right to the clothes. I wedged my way in politely, and settled into a spot at a table. There I stood for the next half an hour rooting through baby, kids and a few maternity clothes. The rest of the time was a fun experience chatting with fellow deal seekers and having a laugh over the equipment fiasco. Apparently, the same two women do that every month. For sure they are reselling the items so it was a little disappointing when so many pregnant moms there actuallyneeded those things.

By the time I stepped out of that back room, just 2 minutes or so later, it was a wasteland. Like I said, like locusts. I think people would take the counters if they weren't glued to the floors. The toys were gone, the shoes were gone, all that remained were the towers of clothes. Actually, come to think of it, the windows in the equipment room were missing too...hmmmm.

I then headed over to the clothes. Again, it was like locusts. A low hum filled the air and arms were flying as clothes were tossed and thrown. Every few minutes, men from the back would wheel out a cart full of hefty bags full of clothes and dump them on the tables. The women would reach in and yank clothes to root through. It was sheer madness I tell ya. Yes, it was a lot of grabbing but it was controlled, civilized grabbing. We were all in it for the same thing so we were polite yet aggressive. Grab, scan and stuff. That was the montra. I just picked up something, quickly decided if I needed it and then threw it in my bulging garbage bag. After about an hour, I decided I had had enough and found a little spot in the corner to double check my items.

I went through, pulled out what I decided I didn't want after all and kept the rest. The cashiers count up everything and then times it all by 25¢. I bought over 40 items of clothing, a lovely pinktrophy bouncer and a changing table pad. My total was just $12.02!!!!!!

This whole experience was a real education for me. Places like this out of your worst Black Friday nightmare actually exist. If I didn't have years of experience with yard sales, I would have never stood up to that gal. But I have a lot of confidence when it comes to getting the deals.

Just as Angela talked about in her post, I went through a wide range of emotions...panic, euphoria, excitement, fury, jealousy, exhaustion, anxiety and dumbfounded-ness (that's my favorite :).

I have already plotted with a neighbor to go at 5:30 next month so we can beat those greedy women. We are going to rush in and hoard it all then give it to those who need it based on the size of their bellies and number of children. Not really but it was a good thought.

With that said, would I do it again? Heck ya! I am a thrill seeker when it comes to bargain-hunting though so I am a little mental that way. I plan on making it a ritual if it works out with my husband's schedule.

If you are courageous enough to come, and live close to me, I would love to be your chauffeur and partner in crime. We'll have lots of fun accidentally elbowing people and fighting our way to the top of the clothes mountains. Next sale: September 24 (I hear that this was by far the worst one they had ever seen since word has gotten out about the cheap equipment and it is also back to school clothes shopping time. One gal had been coming for three years and back then, it was just a couple of old grandmas buying stuff for their grandkids and they would help you look for things you needed. Oh how things have changed. That's what happens when word gets out. Dang it. Why can't people keep good things a secret? So, don't tell anyone, ok?)

All in all, I had a super-de-duper fun time. I am honestly flabbergasted but super pumped from it all. It was a real education on how desperate people we all are when it comes to saving money.

Here are the BVSR's Must Know Tips:
1. Leave your kids at home!
2. Bring a sturdy bag such as a collapsable hamper, a laundry basket or at least a black hefty bag. Do not bring your standard white garbage bag. See evidence.
3. Get there at least an hour early to have a shot at a wanted item. Have only one item in mind that you are looking for and when you see it, dive on it. There won't be time to look at any other big items.
4. Bring some kleenex. My nose got a little drippy with all the dust and flying fabric.
5. Bring a friend. That way you have someone to talk to while you wait. You can also split up the duties. One goes for the shoes, while the other dives on the stroller. Then you look for each others' clothes sizes at the tables.
6. Pay and then take large items out to the car first then come back in for the clothes.
7. Don't let your eyes wander and look at what stuff you didn't get. It is too hard to swallow. Just keep telling yourself that you got the best things there and don't let your mind wonder what you missed out on.
8. The actual consignment shop next door runs a huge tag sale that day as well. 5 different colored tags are 50%-75% off. I picked up a couple more very very expensive things after the quarter sale for 75¢-$1 each.

This sale is NOT for the timid. See you there!


Clara said...

Can I come with you on Sept 24? I live in Black Diamond and my MIL will be in town to watch the kids.

My husband was laid off in 2008 and started his own business. I'm trying to clothe and feed us and our 4 children on a shoestring budget. Shoes are difficult to find and 2 of my son's t-shirts got ruined at VBS... I need this sale :).

Sia Hills said...

I was rolling with laughter after reading this post! It was hysterical, although I think it convinced me to skip the event :) Great write up.

Maegen said...

Hi, Rachel,
I mentioned this sale on my activities and events blog. I'm going to link back to this awesome, hilarious post! Love it!

Post a Comment

Hi, I am Rachel

Hi, I am Rachel
Welcome to my website.