Saturday, April 16, 2011

Buying History

Today I accompanied my parents on one of their favorite weekend activities - prowling the local estate sales.

The west side of the greater Phoenix area is dotted with retirement (aka "active adult") communities - Sun City, Sun City West, Sun Village, Sun City Grand, Festival, Arizona Traditions, etc., etc.  Of course the mortality rate in a senior community is fairly high, and practically every weekend the local papers are full of notices for estate sales.

If you aren't familiar with an estate sale, it's like a garage or rummage sale, but virtually everything the deceased person owned has a price tag on it.  They usually run for two or three days and on the last day everything is half its already low price.  Estate sales are great places to pick up reasonably priced small appliances, odds and ends of flatware, and miscellaneous tools.  I've bought everything from coasters to a teak buffet at estate sales; you just have to take cash and be willing to snatch desirable objects from under the noses of the other shoppers.

I like estate sales but I also find them a little sad.  Many of them display the evidence of their owner's increasing infirmity - canes, walkers, and adult-sized potty chairs.  The worst sales, though, are the ones that sell pet beds, dishes, and carriers.  What happened to the resident dog or cat when his or her owner died?  If a kindly neighbor, friend, or relative stepped in, wouldn't Woofie's things have gone along with him?  I always hope that Spot or Fluffy went to an animal shelter for adoption and not euthanasia.

Sometimes I wonder what people will think when I'm gone and they're picking through the detritus I've left behind.  I'll bet a lot of them will be thinking, "Did she really read all these books?"

"Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries."  ~Bill Cosby

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