Friday, January 13, 2017

Still, It Would be Cool

Eight years ago I spotted a small ad taped to the front window of a Goodwill store. The ad was for a new website:

"Participating Goodwills from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous."

So, it was like eBay, but I'd be bidding on stuff that was donated to different Goodwill stores across the US. That bummed me out a bit. The presence of this site meant that the good stuff was going to be cherry-picked behind the scenes, and I have to compete with a nation of thrift shoppers to buy it. Booo.

That wasn't the case, though. When I first tried, the site was under most people's radar, and I was scoring some pretty neat stuff. Retro video gaming wasn't as popular in 2009 as it is now, and I picked up some fun cartridges and game systems. I also bought some LPs that I had been on the hunt for, and I even scored some artwork. I had two of the Goodwill paintings framed at Michaels, and they are hanging on our walls at home. Both are heavy on atmosphere.

This one was painted by Reg B. Strange, and that is a real name. I like the depth and what looks like an angel or a ghost leaving glowing footprints on the floor of the castle.

J. Cain painted this one. To me, it symbolizes the warmth of home when the rest of the world is stormy.

(Earl, get off the counter.)

Here's the category selection at SGW•C:

See the last category in the middle column? One day I clicked on it, and I spotted the vehicle of my childhood dreams.

"Daphne!" I was in the basement and shouting in excitement, "There's a fire truck for sale on!"

Her one-word reply came swiftly down the stairs, "No."

I kept shouting. "But it's a fire truck. Do you know how cool it would be to own one?"

It took Daphne a moment to stop whatever she was doing and come to the stairwell. "Brent, where we would put a fire truck?" It was a logical question.

"It's not a full-sized one. It's a mini-sized fire truck. You know, kinda like the short bus at school. We could park it out front in the street. PLUS, no one has bid on it. It's only $1,500!"

"Don't you dare bid on that!" Daphne was now walking down the stairs. " What on earth would you do with a fire truck?"

I spun the computer chair around and smiled at her, "What couldn't you do with a fire truck? We could use it to wash the house... water the lawn... and your garden... we could have a car wash... and a dog wash. Oooo! I bet we could drive it in parades! I'd let you ring the bell and work the sirens. I'll just drive and wave. It will be a blast!"

"You're not serious are you? I can see it in your face."

"No. Not really," I admitted. "But come look. Check it out. It's a real fire truck."

I turned my chair back to the computer screen, and Daphne leaned over my shoulder. "Yep," she commented, "that's a real fire truck." She squeezed my arm and walked back to the stairs. "And you aren't going to try and buy it. Right?" Deflated, I mumbled in agreement. 

For a moment there I had dreams of rescue vehicles and Dalmatian puppies... Dang! I forgot to tell her about the puppies. Maybe that would have been the tipping point? Nah. That wouldn't have worked, either

Now I'll never be featured in Vintage Fire Truck & Equipment. Sniff.

I had hopes of buying something else as cool, but Adam Fisher from Time Magazine ruined my chances. How? He told everybody else about SGW•C:

The game was over once SGW•C made it on the Best 50 Websites list. The bidding became much heavier, and the winning bid amounts skyrocketed. Boooo, again.

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