A while back, I met a lady at a local Steak n Shake parking lot to buy jewelry. It was night but I was able to see the jewelry (kind of ) from the streetlights. After completing the transaction, I told the lady goodbye and started to drive home. I’d gone a little ways when I realized that I couldn’t find one particular piece so I decided to stop the car and search. I pulled into the closest driveway and stopped the car. The driveway happened to be the entrance to a graveyard, which didn’t necessarily bother me. I stopped the car and went around to the passenger’s side to open the car and search. When I opened the door, one cardboard box of jewelry tumbled out. Some jewelry fell inside the car and some fell on the ground. Some fell under the car. So here I am in a pitch black graveyard, feeling under my car for tumbled-out jewelry and laughing/cursing my stupidity. I pawed around and picked up everything I could see. As I backed the car out of the driveway, I used my headlights to illuminate the ground and found a couple more pieces peeking out of grass clumps.
Darrell is my favorite antiques picker. Let me tell you how I met this guy….
I was at an auction a few years ago, purchasing jewelry for resale. Bids were low and I was raking the jewelry in. I love it when nobody shows up for an auction! Anyway, this little guy approaches me and asks me if I want more jewelry. I say “Sure!” and give him my number.
Days later I get a phone call from the guy. Now, I don’t know him from Adam, but he’s ready to meet. So, I say to him, “Well, is there a McDonald’s near where you are and maybe we can meet in the parking lot so you can show me your stuff?”. Darrell doesn’t like that idea. He says, “I’ve already got all the jewelry laid out on tables at my house. That way you can see it better“.
Wouldn’t you think I might decide that this idea is possibly not prudent? But, nooooooo, that’s because as an antiques dealer, I live in mortal fear that I’ll never find good stuff ever again so I’ll go just about anywhere for that next find.
I called my husband at work to let him know my whereabouts. “Honey, I’m going to meet a total stranger at his house to buy jewelry. So if I don’t come back, his name is Darrell and his phone number is 555-XXXX”. My husband grunts and I hear the clicking of a keyboard in the background. “Did you write this DOWN?!!!!” His response gives me no confidence that he’d be helpful in locating my remains, so I hang up and call my best friend. After telling me I’m crazy, she takes down the info.
Well, Darrell’s house ends up being a moldy 1970s split-level on a large lot, isolated from other houses by trees and undergrowth. I knock on the door and hear fervent rustling behind the door. As Darrell opens the door, I take a gander and realize that jewelry is no-where to be seen. “So, where’s the stuff?” I ask. Darrell chuckles, “I’ve got it all laid out the basement. There’s more room down there!”
So, here we go down into the basement. Holy Moley, it’s the Mother Lode! And you thought Darrell was going to kill me, didn’t you? Well, you will have to stay disappointed. Darrell turned out to be totally legit. After that initial buy, Darrell became my picker. He goes to auctions and garage sales as a hobby. I can’t be everywhere all the time so it’s nice to have someone out there looking on my behalf.
Darrell likes to do business on his terms, and that’s OK with me. He calls me when he has a large group of jewelry and miscellaneous items to sell. When he calls, he wants to meet RIGHT THEN. Sometimes I get the feeling that Darrell’s motivation to sell is directly related to his immediate need for cash. I have to buy it all…good, bad and indifferent. Sometimes I get the better of him and sometimes he gets the better of me. It’s been a good thing, though, and Darrell has come through for me when I have felt like things had dried up and there was no vintage jewelry to be found.
Would I meet a total stranger at his house again? Probably not. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it! I’ve cultivated other pickers from my goings-about and didn’t have to resort to meetings in dark places.