The Best Deal You Ever Found?
So what was it? Your neighbor moved and gave you his AGA 4-oven? A marked-down orphan at Tuesday Morning? A treasure at a brocante or yard sale? The local kitchen store going OOB? The All-Clad rescued from the dumpster?
Whatever it was, what was the lasting effect? Do you value it *more* or *less* by virtue of it being a value? Does it make you *more* inclined to be patient and hunt/scrounge for more bargains, or does it make it easier to spend your "savings" on an unbargain?
OMG, I love a deal. The fact that I got something I view as a deal makes me love it all the more. Two items come to mind. First is a 15" square bamboo cutting board that I just bought at a thrift store while on vacation (what sort of moron spends a beach vacation at thrift stores!!). It cost me $2. It is in excellent condition, just a few knife marks, no warping or splits. Second is a yogurt maker. My friend and I took a cheese/yogurt class at SLT and were discussing buying a yogurt maker. I mentioned that I often saw decent appliances at thrift stores and said I'd drop by one of my favorites on the way home. Lo and behold, I found the exact type being used and sold, for considerably more, at SLT, priced at $10. Unused, still in original box.
I love going antiquing while on vacation, beach or no beach. For one thing, it's different stuff than you find at home, and it's my favorite kind of souvenir. Also a good time to shop for gifts for other appreciators of old stuff.
Recently I picked up a couple pieces of English chintz, serving pieces, for way less than they are worth (love that dealer!). The fact is I can't really stomach chintz prices, so I don't have a single piece that wasn't underpriced, but these are the best yet.
If I paid too much for something, that fact lingers with it (I rarely feel this way). Otherwise I feel I value things fairly equally, but I think any thrill of the hunt associated with an item stays with it as well.
I think I mentioned this before, but ... ;) Antiquing while traveling, I found the Fire-King jadite butter bottom at an antique mall in Amarillo for $7.50. They didn't know what it was, said it was a little tray or something. When I mentioned my excitement to the guy at checkout, he grew increasingly sullen (hey, I guess not everybody appreciates my finding a bargain ;) Then, while helping clean out Great Aunt Helen's kitchen (bless her for never throwing anything away), I found the matching clear glass top (that's how the set came, jadite + clear). This has gone for anywhere from ~$75-125 during the time I've been collecting.
"When I mentioned my excitement to the guy at checkout, he grew increasingly sullen (hey, I guess not everybody appreciates my finding a bargain ;)"
Best not to do that. We were once in an antique mall looking to replace our broken 50's red-top salt & pepper shaker set. The owner apparently overheard my excitement at finding one I liked, and when we went to pay for it, took the set to the back room with him and made a series of quiet, but frantic calls to colleagues. I guess we looked like scouts or something, and the guy was afraid he was selling us a really valuable set (if any of those are even valuable -- I have no idea), at too low a price. Finally he came back out and reluctantly sold them to us.
re: Steve Green
I took a light fixture to the register, at an antique mall, once to pay for it and the guy checking me out said " you got a great buy". The dealer walked up with me, heard that and grabbed it back saying I'm not selling that. It was just an ok buy in my opinion. She jacked the price up and it became a "museum" piece.
For me it is the expensive Henckels Twin, German -made chef's knife I got for $40.00 at Marshall's. I brought it home, handed it to Mr. Sueatmo and said give this to me for Christmas.
I use the knife daily.
I think I like it so much because I know it is good quality and because it is so useful. I like to have useful things in the kitchen. I wouldn't like it so much if it wasn't such a good knife.
Does finding cash on the sidewalk count?
Otherwise, the best deal I've had (value-wise) is probably the 11" Dehillerin tin-lined copper saute pan I picked up from Craigslist for $75. I knew it was thick, but didn't realize until I bought a micrometer that it was just a smidge under 4mm. That is was such a good deal, on an item I really wanted to get, makes it more enjoyable to use on a day-to-day basis.
That is my best score, I think, but the vast majority of my pots and pans, and appliances for the matter, have been purchased through careful stalking of the "As-is" rack at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, T.J. Maxx stores, CL, or ebay, so they have almost all been great deals.
I actually enjoy hunting for a bargain, but I do it very casually. I have a mental list of all the items I'd like to get and I just keep my eyes open for any one of them as I travel around. I don't generally prioritize and say, 'now I am looking for item X.'
Bought a complete set of antique cut crystal glassware at an auction for $17. Beautiful immaculate glasses - about 60 pieces.