There are several companies in the Toronto area that hold Estate Sales. We scored this mid century piece for our living room for $35 from one such company.
We were both ecstatic about the find and from that glorious moment onwards hooked on scavenging pieces from Estate sales.
This weekend we showed up 2.5 hrs early for another Estate sale from the same company and sat on the stoop of the house. We were the first ones there and the head of the line to get tickets for the sale when they opened their doors.
About 15 minutes later another woman appeared and stood in line and we started chatting. She was friendly and we got to know each other a bit while waiting in the cold.
Ten minutes passed and a dubious looking fellow sauntered by, smoking, glancing over his shoulder at us not really making eye contact and looking suspicious. He left. I assumed he was mad because he realised he wouldn't be the first in line.
I should let you know that at these sales if you have your eyes on something specific it is important that you be one of the first people in line otherwise you risk other people snapping up your precious treasures before you have even entered the house. Terribly disappointing if you have been waiting for hours outside in the freezing cold. Also no one wants to let anyone else know what it is that they covet in the house. It is like playing poker and very competitive.
About five minutes passed and the scary looking dude comes back this time with three other equally rough looking men. They proceed to tell us that we are not the first people in line and that in fact there are ten other people in front of us all sitting in their cars.
At which point I said, "Well I don't see anyone here in front of me at the door. If you wanted to be in line you needed to be here, in the cold, standing while freezing, waiting like the rest of us. "
Then all hell broke loose.
All of the guys started talking and freaking out. Saying we didn't know what we were doing, we don't know the Estate Sale rules, they all know each other and they know who got there first. One guy claims he got there at four in the morning and had been sleeping in his car. We were the ones out of line not respecting the natural order of their "Estate Sale Rules".
It deteriorated from there. Six more members of their gang showed up.
A few of them resembled some of the people below (although somewhat older), but without any visble weapons.
Name calling ensued.
Intimidation was used.
There were ten of them they said matter-a-factly and only three of us. They had majority and were more than willing to use it.
If you know me at all you will know I do not like to be pushed around. Especially when they clearly were not in the right. They simply had each other's back.
The fighting, intimidation and overall nastiness went on for almost two hours. It wasn't pleasant at all.
People were invading other people's personal spaces. It was very close to becoming physical.
Robert emailed the owner of the business that things were getting out of hand and we may need to call the police. She didn't even bother responding.
The tension rose.
We three were speaking French amongst ourselves and they had a "spy" come and listen in and report back to the rest of the group.
It was junior high all over again. Who knew that Estate sale scavenging was such a dangerous hobby?
The bullies were crowding around us at the door.
Finally the owner of the company showed up and her stress level looked to be about a ten out of ten. The rest of us we were already at fifteen out of ten.
She sided immediately with her "regulars" and stated that the police said no one should be standing in line outside so she had told them to wait in their cars.
I pointed out that I could have been waiting in my car since yesterday and no one would have been the wiser since none of them knew me. Any of them could say anything they wanted. I had no proof. No one showed there face till after we were already standing in line for 30 minutes. Also where did it state these rules on her website for everyone to read and take advantage of, and why at the last sale I was at hadn't this transpired? Everyone had waited in line together. No gangs were hiding in their cars.
At which point she flipped out, and literally screamed, "If you don't like it you're not coming in! It's my business and I decide who comes in!" and slammed the door shut on our faces.
Did that just happen?
These Estate folks seem to be a whole other breed.
Unprofessional is the first word that comes to mind. Rude, caustic, difficult are others.
After several minutes she must have rethought her temper tantrum and opened the door and stated that she has had people trampled during sales before and seriously hurt and thus they developed the tickets to avoid this kind of issue. She explained this group of people were regulars and they self-monitored their arrival times and we needed to become friends with them so that we too could be included in their cheating group.
I can assure you after someone calls me an asshole to my face all the while refusing to listen to my side of the story I am not going to become friends with them. If just one of them had thought for one second and put themselves in our shoes I am sure they would have understood just how unreasonable they were. Instead when I tried to open my mouth they all screamed like children and yelled over me. This is adults we are talking about. Not children. As my husband pointed out it was utterly useless to try to argue any further.
We do this for fun as the other lady waiting in line with us pointed out. Not to come to fight with people that are impolite.
Needless to say we got our tickets and wound up being #11 and #12 just as all the thugs had wished.
I will state that I did find several pieces at the sale that I bought and love, which I will share soon. The stress to get them was excessive though. I can tell you one thing, after all I went through there was no way in hell I was about to leave without getting one of the items I'd come for.
One good thing that came out of this bad experience is that through all of this stress I bonded with the woman that was in line with us and now have a friend to go to Estate sales with when my husband isn't here. We went to another sale together the very next day. How is that for getting back on the horse?
Do you go to Estate sales? Have you ever had a bad experience? Do you find that people are rude or push you? If so, how did you handle it?
Don't let this turn you off of Estate sales entirely. I've gone to four others that were perfectly well run without incident.