Monday, March 5, 2012

Move Over American Pickers

I come from a long line of trailer trash, as you know.  I say that with utmost pride. 
We ‘trailers’ hold in us the ability to persevere through harsh economic times, family feuds
and liberals moving into our parks everyday. 
We've learned to endure. Cope.
The ‘trailer’ in me slips out occasionally with a “gettin’ instead of ‘getting’ or a ‘y’all’ now and then.  My bloodline and roots are blatantly visible when my partner and I do our weekly yard saleing in order to keep our side business, VW Upcycling, up and running.
VW Upcycling
2 girls buying junk at cheap ass prices; then doing whatever it takes
to make the crap unique and aesthetically pleasing, and after doing so,
selling it for hella profit.
Minimum 200 % mark-up.
Primary goal is to sell to “shi shi” folks on the bay.
Green company.  No support of large chain stores. No waste in landfills.

VW Upcycling is the modern day Sanford and Son.  For those of you still in diapers, Sanford and Son was an American sitcom and a smash hit created by Norman Lear.
It first aired in 1972 and featured a father and son team who owned a salvaging business.
VW Upcycling is a couple of dykes buying crap then 'upcycling' it in order to pay the rent. 
My dad loved Sanford and Son.   Redd Foxx was the only thing that made my pop laugh out loud in those days.  He’d plop his fat ass in his recliner while my mom, my brother and I, with our bowls of Neapolitan ice cream in hand, huddled together on our vinyl couch; all eyes glued on the console. 
When Fred Sanford would engage his favorite ploy and feign having a heart seizure, whereupon he’d look toward the heavens and call out to his late wife, “I’m comin, Elizabeth! This is the big one! I’m comin!” my dad would let out a belly laugh that could be heard blocks away, totally scaring the shit out of the three of us.

Recently, my brother told me about the TV show, American Pickers.
Opening: The series intro is narrated by Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz:
“I'm Mike Wolfe. And I'm Frank Fritz. And we're pickers. We travel the back roads of America looking for rusty gold. We're looking for amazing things buried in people's garages and barns. What most people see as junk, we see as dollar signs. We'll buy anything we think we can make a buck on. Each item we pick has a history all its own and the people we meet are a breed all their own.
We make a living telling the history of piece at a time.”
Amen, Mike and Frank.  Amen.
And what I love about American Pickers, in addition to sharing
the same passion as these boys for earning a decent living, is their sidekick Danielle.
Danielle's a tattoed spit-fire who knows how to charm the pants off ya. And I like that.  The show airs on The History Channel due to its self-proclaimed title as “Antique Archeologists.”  
I watched two episodes and knew instantly that I was ‘one of them.’  ‘One of them’ meaning: a backwoods, pre-fab kinda girl who enjoys the simpler things in life like little sparrows chirping in the early morning, a golden sunset on a country pond and ripping folks off by selling junk disguised as treasure.

This week was an excellent week at VW Upcycling.  We’re rollin in the dough which means we can now afford to buy the free-range, no nitrate hot dogs and also buy tickets to see the derby girls kick some ass in Santa Cruz.  Here’s just some examples of the treasures we’ve kept out of landfills:
Purchase Price: $5
Upcycle Price:$25

Purchase Price: $10
Upcycle Price: $185
(Delivered to San Jose)

One thing that we ‘trailers’ have in common with folks like you is we are resilient.  We take the damn bull by its horns and ride it baby.  We don’t wait for opportunity to come a knockin, but rather, we sniff it out like a hound sniffs out a coon.

Purchase Price: $3
Upcycle Price: $45

We always have an organized plan.
We do our research or “homework” as we like to call it.
And although we’re old-fashioned, we do use mapquest in order not to backtrack.  You see, this saves on fuel, which btw is at $4.47 a gallon in our neck of the woods.  Timing is everything. We make our list according to start times and locations.
However, we disregard the NEB (no early birds) requests and get there as early as we damn well please in order to work our magic and get some real bargains.
Once our Chevy pickup is loaded, we make a drop at home, take a quick potty break and then get back on the road. Time is money, honey.
Usually it’s a good day and we score big, especially if it’s not raining.

The week that follows the shopping frenzy, is spent in the garage fixin, gluein, stainin, changin hardware, and sometimes “airin out” an item if it has a mothball or mildew fragrance to it.
Then comes the staging and the photographs.  This is my forte.
I take photos of the “pieces” from various angles and post them on Craigslist.
Then we wait for the callers to phone in.  And hot damn do they ever!
It’s a win win and the way I see it, the world needs more “win wins.”

Once in awhile, I come across an item of high quality and prestigeous value;
an item whose beauty and worth make it far more valuable for me to retain it
rather than sell it.

This past Saturday,
I came across one of those items at a bargain price.
I got the vase for a couple bucks and the gin for $5.  The seller informed me it retails for $40 a bottle, and because he was a UK native and wearing Banana Republic dress slacksI believed him.
I got home and Googled it and here’s what the experts had to say,
“The Chanel No. 5 of the category is Plymouth English Gin. Made for two centuries at Black Friars Distillery, the ultra-sophisticated spirit is distilled in a copper alembic still using pure grain spirits, soft Dartmoor water, and an infusion of seven, highly aromatic botanicals. A quick sniff explains Plymouth’s enduring popularity. The gin has an exuberant citrus, spice, and juniper bouquet, and a light, seamlessly smooth body. Its vibrant, skillfully balanced palate fills the mouth with the flavors of strawberry, coriander, orange, and lemon zest, which gradually tapers into a graceful, distinguished finish.”

When you aren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth;
I mean when you fall into that class that pays 25% tax instead of gotta find ways to make ends meet.
You know what I’m talking about. 
Hey, if you’re looking for a nice piece of furniture, give me a ‘shout out.’
Or stop by for a bubbly glass of Plymouth botanicals on the rocks.  I’d love to see ya!


  1. But you never said if the Gin really retails for $40!! A girl's gotta know.

    Okay, American Pickers.......I am so hooked. I would love to have that job. So you two ladies are living large down there. I'm still looking for 3 mirrors; a few large abstract, oceany vibe paintings; a really comfy club chair,a sane mind.........hey......I can dream, cant I??

  2. Hey, you're my kind of girl. LOVE recycling anything. Couldn't wait to send your blog to my shi shi sister who USED to live at the bay and is now learning the Truckee lifestyle, a little more down to earth. She even shops thrift stores now!