07th Dec2011

Thrift Justice: YSE – Yard FAILS

by Will

So, you read all of these posts, and you simply MUST wonder at all of the luck that I seem to have. “Where does he get all those wonderful toys?” Well, my friends, it’s not all sunshine and sloppy joes over here at Casa West. You see I, like you, sometimes fail. I’ve been trying to put this post together for a while, but recent events seemed to dictate that now was the time. During my last real yard sale run, I decided to bring trooperlite along with me. Known as “Special Forces” from my TRU days, we both share a love of thrifting and Power Rangers. I figured it’d be fun to have a partner in crime, so off we went. And this was single-handedly the worst yard sale run I’ve ever experienced. He apologized for jinxing me – while I don’t blame him for my misfortune, it probably was his fault. I mean, when I’m alone, I’m UNSTOPPABLE! All kidding aside, though, I’ve found that “you can’t win ’em all”, and every trip is still a learning experience. I figured I’d let you in on a few of my biggest yard fails. NOTE: The pictures are crappy to hide my shame.


Transformers are proving to be my blind spot. I can’t pretend to know more about Transformers than Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Megatron. I have the Transformers knowledge of a suburban soccer mom – “Ooh, look how cool and yellow this little guy is!” That said, I know that TF toys are highly collectible, so I find myself taking chances on things that I really shouldn’t. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s “stick with what you know”. I don’t yet have a TF expert in the fold, so this had led to quite a few disappointments. Mainly, I’ve learned that you’ll NEVER find a complete Transformer in a yard sale/thrift store capacity. That being said, for me the main criterion is “Can it still transform?” Basically, if it can still be changed from mode to mode, and isn’t missing important appendages, it’s good enough for me. Even worse is when dealing with Beast Wars/Beast Machines toys. About a month ago, I bought around 12 Beast Wars figures, and after sorting through them I could say that only 3 of them were anywhere near a “complete” state.  That’s why there are very few Transformers items coming to Will’s World of Wonder – I don’t want to pass off crap to people. If you see a TF toy on there, it’s been extensively researched to make sure it’s worthy of someone’s collection. *end of shameless plug*

ALWAYS check DVD packages! If it’s open, make sure the disc is in there! You see, a few months back, I discovered the USA show PSYCH, and fell in love. Where had this show been all my life? So, as luck would have it, the following week I ran across a yard sale near my house. This yard sale was a bit shady, based on the quality of items I saw. A recent trend I’ve noticed is that the popularity of Storage Wars has gotten more people into the storage auction game. Unfortunately for them, most units aren’t filled with rare artifacts, but rather the personal effects of some single mom as she left town under the cover of night. So, they win these lockers, and then host yard sales to make their money back. Everything is usually a dollar, because it’s dirty and/or there’s no guarantee that it works. That’s exactly the kind of sale that this was. However, I conveniently forgot all of this when I looked on his DVD table and saw PSYCH Season 1. I can experience this magical show from the beginning! And for a mere American dollar! God bless America! So, I snatched it up, along with some other things, and I paid the man. So, I got home, and threw it on the shelf with the rest of the unwatched DVDs. A few weeks later, I decided to check it out, and I noticed that there was a disc missing. Damn it! And not just any disc, but Disc ONE – with the pilot episode. Double Damn it! I wanted to see how it all began. If I wanted to see any random ass episode, I’d just watch ION late at night. So, I can’t sell it without a Disc 1, but it’d also be foolish to buy a new one just for one disc (which I almost did on Black Friday). Curse you, yard sale guy!!!!

You’d think I’d learned my lesson with that yard sale guy, right? Wrong. You see, he managed to approach me in such a way that I found myself visiting his weekly sale throughout the season. Here’s how he did it: I wanted some IKEA desk lamps that he had, but I wasn’t sure if they worked. I asked him about them, but he answered that he didn’t know. Great sales pitch, right? He, then, followed up with this pearl of wisdom: “Think of it like a scratch-off ticket. It’s only a dollar. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you’re only out a dollar.” The greasy prophet was RIGHT! And I LOVE scratch-off tickets! Seriously, my aunt started buying them for me when I was 8, and I’ve loved a good scratcher since then. In fact, it’s part of the reason that I don’t regularly carry cash – if I end up at a 7/11, I’m wasting that money on scratch-off tickets. I wouldn’t say I have a gambling addiction, as I’m not betting on the ponies, nor have I been to a casino. I will say that I’m addicted to “chance”. So, after that beautiful soliloquy, he had me as a loyal customer.

So, what did I end up foolishly buying? A used Super Nintendo. I never had one growing up, but I figured it would fit in nicely with the rest of my antiquated gaming systems, like my Sega Saturn and my Gamecube. Again, I asked him if it worked, and because it was higher than the $1 price, he guaranteed me that it worked. He even threw in some games, like Super Mario All-Stars and some other notable stuff. At the end of it all, I threw down $10. OK, audience: who knows what happened when I got home? Did the SNES work? OF COURSE IT DIDN’T! My dumb fault, I know. So, the next week, I went back to his sale (remember, these were a weekly occurrence) and told him how the system didn’t work. He feigned surprise, and was like, “Here, take some more games.” He grabbed all the SNES games he had left, and piled them up in my arms. Excellent customer service, right? Well, yeah, unless you realize one small tidbit: I DIDN’T HAVE A WORKING SYSTEM ON WHICH TO PLAY THEM! So, now I’ve got a shitload of SNES games that I can’t play, nor can I even test them to sell. I’ll tell you this, though: the minute yard sale season starts back up, I’ll be right back there at his sale. I’m a sucker.


So, based on the weather, the “yard sale season” is pretty much over. Even still, mixed in with various holiday and church bazaars, I’ve managed to find a few yard sales. Last week, I made somewhat of a dumb purchase. It’s not exactly a “fail”, but it’s hardly a success. Yes, I bought a Disney animation cell. It’s from Robin Hood, and on the back it’s signed by the voice actor for the character. Pretty nice, right? Except for 2 things: 1) they stored it in their attic, so it has sustained some sort of heat damage and 2) the autograph is made out to “the Levitts”. So, I spent money on a damaged item that was personalized for someone else. But it’s a Disney animation cell!!! I’ve spent $25 on worse, and at least I didn’t have to get tested afterwards!

So, the yard sale season may be over, but I’ve still got more stories you haven’t heard. Summer may be over, but Thrift Justice: YSE is just getting started!