Island yard sales are great places for the dedicated bargain hunters
In this world of reusable resources, some islanders find the best deals right in their own back yards - or right in their neighbors' front yards. It's the weekend yard sale tradition that gets residents up and sharing furniture, gadgets and friendly stories on a Saturday morning.
"I saw it first!" was Greg Welch's market mantra as he climbed out of an SUV with other seasoned shoppers. Welch admitted "it's the hunt" for a deal that brings him out early on Saturday mornings.
Christopher Hyder of Ocean Avenue snatched up a light fixture within moments of stepping out of the same vehicle. "There's more variety at yard sales, and you run into great people," he said, clutching the lamp.
Some items travel the garage sale circuit more than once, with some valuable pieces reincarnating more than a cat with nine lives. Televisions, fishing equipment, and kitchen appliances can be taken home for a song.
Bill and Annette Newbolt of Boom Street found a highchair for $10, and sold it a year later for the same price. "It was worth about $200," Annette said. They noted that if a family were having a baby, yard sales are a good place to shop.
The couple makes regular outings to the homegrown markets every Saturday. "It cost us $25 to completely outfit our RV, including a toaster oven and stereo system," Bill said.
Bill went on to say that he bought a fishing pole and Penn reel for $5, and a portable septic tank, also for $5.
"We found a fold-out table set for $5. They sell for $50 in the stores," Annette added. She remembered buying her first set of dishes at a garage sale when she was 16 years old, saying, "I can still tell you the house where I got it."
"It's like quahogging. It's my Saturday sport," said Nancy Goulet of Umiak Street, who was exploring with her daughter, Michele Allaux. "I'm always looking for a clam. There might be a treasure somewhere," she noted, adding that she liked the social atmosphere and a chance to see friends.
Treasures do abound at the weekend bazaars. Richard Cotter of Seaside Drive shared a notable story of a white bisque oil lamp his wife Claudette had, but the shade broke. She found a more delicate shade at one of the church sales for ten cents that fit the lamp perfectly, he recalled. "I've got six kids, and you never know when you may find something nice for one of them," Cotter added.
Nancy Pinksaw of Melrose Avenue held a yard sale last weekend, but noted that she does it maybe only once every 15 years. "I'm too busy shopping," she said, adding that she is an "avid yard saler." Pinksaw said she looks for collectibles, like pottery and chandeliers.
When she gets tired of things she has bought, she turns around and sells them on eBay. "It's nice pocket money," she added.
Pinksaw invited the neighbors to do a yard sale with her, and some of them joined in. Next door, Jessie Primiano and her mother Lisa stood beside toys and other wares on display in their driveway. "I'm packing it all up and bringing anything left to Good Will," Lisa said.
Shoppers and those hosting the yard sales alike said many items are brought to Good Will or the local churches for their thrift sales. "People make a little money, save a little money, and help to benefit everyone," Annette Newbolt said.