Confessions of a junk show junkie

by DaniGirl on May 3, 2013 · 2 comments

in It IS all about me, Life, the Universe and Everything

The free world might be caught up in the compelling drama of Downtown Abbey or Game of Thrones or even Mad Men (at least I’ve seen a couple of episodes of that one) but I have noticed that my television consuption has skewed away from shows with plots and narrative arcs. Who has the attention span for that these days? And anyway, then I’d have no time for Auction Hunters, Storage Wars or Pawn Stars. My name is Dani, and I am addicted to junk shop television.

It’s hardly a surprise. One of our favourite family activities has long been scouring the countryside for vintage crap at local flea markets. It’s not even so much about the stuff as it is about the thrill of the hunt for the stuff. (Although some of the stuff has been awesome. My darling old Underwood typewriter, for example, or the red wagon I use in so many of my photo shoots. Neither of which would have made a ripple had they been discovered in a locker on Storage Wars, but both of which give me great happiness every time I look at them. One woman’s treasure…)

Flea market awesomeness #1

Not everything at the flea market is awesome, some of it is just scary

Given infinite resources of time, space and child patience, we would happiply spend every weekend hunting through flea markets, visiting auctions and rifling through dusty shelves at antiques and second-hand shops – to say nothing of the now-ubiquitous spring yard sales, church bazaars and the crap people simply leave at the end of their driveways. (Most of my porch furniture was acquired this way!) But really, how many butter boxes do we actually need anyway? I have this weird container fixation, and I love vintage stuff. Things at the intersection of the two like butter boxes, vintage suitcases and old wooden crates drive me into paroxysms of covetousness even though I have no place or need for any more. And let’s not even TALK about all the old camera gear out there. Thankfully, a couple of episodes of Canadian Pickers or Auction Kings scratches my treasure-hunter itch without tapping my far-from-unlimited resources.

I know they like to play the drama and the personalities in these shows, but I find that part tedious. Never mind the people and their petty conflicts, tell me more about the stuff. The stuff fascinates me! It’s not just about the valuable stuff, the lost Tom Thompson everybody hopes is hiding in their grandmother’s attic, but about why we have the stuff and why we want the stuff and why we hold on to and sell and forget we even had the stuff. I think that’s why I like Pawn Stars and Auction Kings and Canadian Pickers best of all of them – they give a little bit of insight and history of the stuff, and why it’s interesting or valuable. It’s what the stuff tells us about ourselves that fascinates me.

What do you think? Are you a picker-wanna-be? Do you hang out in the second-hand shops hunting elusive treasures or are you an armchair picker like me? Or are you totally skeeved out at the idea of anything whose provenance is unknown, preferring factory-fresh new stuff instead?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen Hughes May 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Yes!!! I love old stuff! I’m a major haunter of flea markets, auctions, antiques shops etc. Garage sales too, and I’ve been known to swipe things from the curbside as well. 🙂

2 Neeroc May 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I *love* garage sales, flea markets and auctions. There used to be a weekly one in Ottawa – that one nearly emptied my bank and filled my house. I come by it honestly, my parents dragged us all over hells half acre to visit antique shops when we were growing up.

Oh and I totally love Storage Wars (esp. NYC) for the stuff.

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