Take Five

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Take Five

#1 Post by nifty »

Make a Long Line @ The vide grenier at the village.

Note: Written BC.

I was going to post this last Sunday, but, upon starting to write about our attempts at getting into Mass Marketing that day I realised that to do it justice would take longer that 10 minutes (anyway. women can not become priests). Ten hours still wouldn't be enough, but, in spite it might cause your concentration to attenuate from the Pearls of Wisdom which I am about to cast in your general direction……

Here we go…

The other half and I had packed the car with the precious items that we wished to see the back of the previous evening. We did this because in order to run a stall at said V.G. The Order of the Day seems to be that, if you are to expect any degree of success, it perhaps wise to be at these affairs early. In fact it is a necessity in the location that we had chosen, otherwise, due to the number of punters milling around the place it would possibly prove extremely difficult, if not impossible, to set up ones stall in time in order to catch all of the massive attendances at some V G’s. So we were up at 6.30 & off for 7.00. Still bleary eyed, we arrived at the mairie ten minutes later, only to find the usual chaos that organised affairs around these parts tend to be. There was a meleé of cars and small vans blocking the entrance to the village square/come car-park for the Marie, which at times is converted into a bull-ring(!) and a space in which to hold a host of other tribal functions. For this particular one, it was neatly marked into about 25 rectangles which would become the outdoor pitches of people such as dealers with very many large and smaller objects, or others with vendors of larger objects We had opted to rent one of the twenty five collapsible tables that had been erected inside the Salle de fêtes for the princely sum of six Euros. Soon after our arrival the vehicles which had blocked our way moved and we were able to draw the car up to the hall in surprisingly quick time in order to unload the priceless treasure that was dredged from the our grenier, garage and outhouses and arrange it as enticingly as possible on our collapsible table. Shortly after we were joined by a French Friend who lives a couple of kilometres away from us in another quartier of the village. I could spend another ten hours describing the foibles of this women. Maybe that's 4 another day. For now, lets just say that she is a widow, I think she has at least one man chasing her, he says not. A likely story, one which I find very hard to believe. I pity the poor guy. He should have more sense. She tells everybody that she has no interest in him, but then flirts outrageously with him whenever they meet (as far as I can see). No wonder there is confusion in the world. She was divorced from her first husband after having four children with him, who are now grown up. She then remarried with a man some years older than herself, and, at the age of 42 had a son with him who is now 13. Sadly, when the son was two years old, the second husband died suddenly. She is rather tubby, but is quite attractive and more than a little vivacious, and to me looks as though she could be > a little mad.
I look at old photos of myself sometimes, and think the same.
You can tell by looking deep into the eyes, can't you?
Look into my eyes, the eyes, not the circles around the eyes.

Not that I have found it necessary to look deeply in this case. She is very French, and it stands out a mile. One minute baring her soul too you and the next minute biting your head off, or, otherwise acting in a way that makes one wary. One of the things that I like most about VG's is being able to practice the pass-time of people watching We had established ourselves near the end one of the two double rows of tables that were laid out in the centre of the hall. Between us and the end of the row was the well seasoned guy who gave me the impression that he was a failed businessman. Perhaps this impression was bought about by the fact he had a calculator lying on his stall, presumably lying at the ready in order to do wholesale business with. I thought that he looked eight and three quarter months pregnant and was very jolly. Rather than selling various house-hold items, his stall was taken up with boxes packed with ten or twenty 50ml bottles of some elixir that was supposed to ward off hang-overs and digestive disorders. A label on each bottle carried the words Le Bienfact des Plantes. I thought that it was something similar to the German Unterberg. Unfortunately I did not make a note sufficiently legible note in order to be able to inform you of its supposed properties. I just remember that they were unbelievable. The monotony of our day was frequently broken up, when, with the excitement of the possibility of another sale, which might have been caused by someone asking him what the other things he had for sale were. Sparked off by such an enquiry, or even the lack of, he would launch into his well rehearsed spiel that was aimed at trying to market what were basically a pair of B-B-Q tongs. Apparently they came in two sizes.
It was possible to buy the larger size on offer for seven Euros95c and the smaller for 5 Euros 95, or, if a punter was especially impressed with the devices on offer, he or she could buy both for fifteen Euros, and, get a free apron thrown into the bargain. He had what looked like five inches of the end of a wooden broom-handle on his stall, and, using his special tongs, he would juggle it about with some dexterity as if it were a sausage on a griddle, making a seductive clickiddy-clackeddy sound in doing so. I suppose it was pretty novel. Fitted to the end of the tongs were two discs that were free to swivel around, so that he could grasp his imaginary sausage with the tongs, and instead of flipping the sausage over sideways as any ordinary person might do, that is, unless they were equipped with these wondrous tongs, the Bar-B-Q-ee would be able to flip their sausage over by rotating it end over end along its longitudinal axis instead of the normal fashion of rotating about it. My mind boggled at his faith in his product. He may still make his first million. He definitely had some gift of the gab. He must have. I was astounded that he actually sold three or four pairs throughout the day. Having sold his first pair of these illustrious utensils soon after the punters started to arrive, gave me great hope that we would shift some of the priceless pieces of treasure rescued from the depth of our grenier where they had been lying gathering dust for half a lifetime. The array off goods on sale is breathtakingly samey at these boot sales; but I am such a sucker for them, perhaps just like every other punter, I just know that that priceless piece of Fabergé or René Lalique is waiting for me to find it in the depths of some box of junk. This hope has been maintained within me by the acquisition of a few very attractive items at ridiculously low prices in the past. The reality is that the items to be found for sale are more likely to be found on the following list: Domestic steam cleaners Sports equipment childes bike trike footwear cutlery china cameras of every ilk cycles electronic and electrical goods of all descriptions Tables and chairs of all sizes, wooden, cane, tubular steel, side-boards furniture, and other pieces of all descriptions ornaments that are mostly French, but may come from all corners of the world and made from a vast range of natural and synthetic materials Lamps and lighting devices of all manner of descriptions. Ranging from the very nearly brand new through pre-war arc or flood lamps lamps, on to quite tasteful oils lamps maybe more than 100 years old. Training weights and weights for scales Clothing for all ages and sexes. I have noticed that women’s and children’s clothing seems to outnumber the stuff designed for the middle aged male by about 20 to 1. Simple reasoning: Women rather than men, seem to be dedicated followers of fashion (No more videos today) and seem to be in constant need of new stuff. Men tend to wear their clothes to the death. Kids, especially babies seem to outgrow stuff long before it is worn out………,
While we are on the subject of women, I became aware of women, their eyes purposefully scanning the rows of tables for bargains, like the sensors on a heat seeking missile, as they paced slowly along the aisles, pushing babies in front of them, some of who were in oversize buggies built like armoured cars. Food for thought on the psychology of marketing?
After making massive profits that morning, (about seven Euros net)my other half suggested that we should not squander our takings but just have a hot-dog for lunch, so I went outside and joined the mercifully short hot-dog queue. After a few minutes I realised that no money was changing hands and that in order to secure a hot-dog, it was necessary to obtain a ticket from a desk a short distance away. So off I went in order to partake of the queueing ceremony in order to secure a meal ticket. After waiting some 15 minutes in the ticket queue, I was beginning to get a little frustrated at the time things seemed to be taking, but, I have been in France long enough to know that it is absolutely futile to get upset about such things so I just tried to forget the growing pangs from my stomach that the smell of cooking sausages had started off and fixed my attention on some of the more attractive women around me. My turn eventually came to see the lady dispensing the tickets. So I gave her five Euros and got my two tickets. Transaction over. Done and dusted all within 30 seconds. It still remains a mystery to me how it could have taken so long for the perhaps five or six people in front of me to do the same thing as I had just done. Anyway, feeling rather chuffed with myself at getting this far, I made my way back to the hot-dog queue which had of course grown by six fold. I stood my ground and while I was waiting, wondered if the man cooking the sausages wouldn't do better if he went and obtained some swivel headed tongs from the pregnant man on the next table to ours inside the hall. After what seemed like an eternity, I received my two French hot-dog's, that looked more German to me as they resembled dachshunds rather than caniches, each consisting of two sausages in a piece of baguette with a blob of mayo and a dollop of tomato ketchup on the sausages (@ E2.50 each TVM) and took them back inside to consume them with my beloved OH behind our collapsible table where they consumed.

One of our highlights of the day came in the mid after-noon when we got rid of a table lamp that looked a little like a Greek amphorae but without the point. Instead at its base was a flat of perhaps 6 inches diameter on it allowing it to stand up. It was sold to us with a rather complicated circular shade that was reminiscent of a billowing white scalloped doughnut. We bought it about 10 years ago when my other half saw it and absolutely had to have it; as they do. Since we moved house nearly three years ago, it has been rather surplus to requirements and so this week-end we thought that it would provide a good opportunity to get rid of it. Unfortunately the shade was no longer the graceful sheer white billowing affair that it was when we bought it. Having spent the best part of ten years at our previous house, which was heated by a smoky wood[1]burner in the winters, and subsequently spending three years in the grenier at our house Les Landes its grubbiness was a shame. The body of the lamp would clean up, as good as new with a little effort but the shade was beyond redemption. Perhaps an expert would know how to clean it but it was certainly not possible for us to do it in in the time before the boot sale.. What is more, it had suffered a small tear. I think we got 3 Euros for it also another 2 for a heavy glass jug which we never use. They were quite bulky items though so we were glad to get rid of them. Now that we were getting our assortment of crap, I mean treasure that would come in useful one day, some of which we have been carrying around, certainly in my case, for the last 30 years, down to a more manageable size I was beginning to feel more bullish about its value. I think if the other half had her way she would simply chuck it out with the rubbish. I think that since she has met me her values have altered slightly and she might have taken it down to the SPA or Croix Rouge in Mont de Marsan on a future shopping trip. I am not like that. Being slightly more aware of what the disease of crass consumption has the potential to do to the environment, also perhaps, having spent a greater proportion of my life having worked too hard for inadequate remuneration might be something to do with the different alignment of our respective values. I somehow get the impression that before she met me, she did not know that it was possible to turn power switches off after using them Stop moaning Nifty. Get back to the vide grenier. We were sitting behind the table on which a our valuable wares were displayed and I was mentally calculating what was worth hanging on to. You never know when you are going to be back on the street, so, the earrings that I used to sell on the streets and beaches of Greece were definitely not going for a song. Nor were the three heavy belts as they have a definite value. I have seen similar items for sale for up to 20 Euros already. Earlier that day a rather well built guy had purchased one and beat me down to three Euros with it . Towards the end of the day I became aware I became of a very attractive young woman with long dark hair examining one of the belts on the table rather closely. She tried it around her waist to both my delight and dismay, as when she tightened it, revealing what a fine figure she had and the end that was threaded through the buckle was about a foot long and there were no more holes left with which to fasten it. I told her that this would not really be a problem as it would be a simple matter to cut the belt down to size and punch a few extra holes in it. She flashed her eyes and smiled at me as she loosened the belt and slid it down her curvaceous hips in what I thought may be a slightly overly affected way. Telling me as she did so that it would be no problem as the fashion was to wear belts low on the hip. Then with the belt still riding on her hips, she cast her attention to the other less attractive belt and going through a similar routine asked me what I wanted for the two. Obviously, all of this showing of hips at such close quarters was going to my head. I dropped my asking price of three Euros each to five Euros for the two. Having beaten me down to 4.50She groped in her purse and fished about in the shoal of copper that lurked within it and began to count out the money on the table. We got to an about that was substantially below my asking price and with a parting smile said 'There, that is all I have' And walked away. It is strange the way the dice of life fall. There was our neighbour who was a seasoned Videuse des greniers, probably doing as well as half the hopeful vendors in the hall put together as she had sold her parrots cage for 35E and a rather arty looking female manikin made out of heavy gauge wire for another 40Euros. She told us that the girl who had bought my belt so cheekily, here I am tempted to use the word stolen, was a gitane and so I thought it best not to pursue the issue as I did not want to be cursed with any of the bad luck that I have experienced in the distant past. Besides, why should I break the habit of a lifetime of having beautiful women walk all over me. A lady that we haver known for about a year, the one with the problem son, is quite a seasoned VGer or Cber rises as another wave of punters breaks the lull. that was rather ta Another coup was getting rid of a pair of ornaments that were fashioned out of heavy wire that took the form of a pair of goblets. These stood nearly a foot high. The illusion was completed by the ……….
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Re: Take Five

#2 Post by Char »

A brilliant snap shot of your experience Nifty. I like people watching too, and I love wondering around vide greniers, don't buy things very often but there's always interesting things to see. :D

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Re: Take Five

#3 Post by Oldblueraincoat »

Gosh that was an exhausting but enjoyable read. You seem to have an eye for the ladies more than bargains and l suspect the Vide Grenier is just an excuse to get out of the house and meet people. I will be thinking about you over the coming months and the challenges that lie ahead and look forward to more tales and stories from the Nifty files. Bon courage.

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Take Five

#4 Post by Niftyons »

Mass Marketing

Go to The Church

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