I am still down here in Florida and although we are supposed to depart on Wednesday the 27th, it’s not looking too good as of today. Serious storm Debby is hovering around wreaking havoc on our area with high winds, tornadic activity and lots of intermittent monsoon downpours. I think the television said tornado warning 423 yesterday and the kids just about had heart attacks. I am on Pine Island where there are no storm signals so we are on a strict watch and listen type of deal here. It’s all good. We are not flooded out, we have everything we need and we know it won’t last forever. But when this lasts for days, it feels like forever.
My sister is busy packing up her e-bay boxes and preparing for a pick up because we are not going out in this crap today. She’s been unemployed for quite some time now. I can totally write about her work this time while I’m here. I learned a tough lesson last time I was here and I mentioned her previous employer in a blog post. I didn’t say anything bad. But she almost lost her job over that deal, so you never really know who might be reading your blog.
Since she’s pretty much self-employed I am not too worried this time. She sells massive amounts of name brand merchandise online. She’s doing what a lot of people are doing here. She’s going to garage sales, estate sales and thrift markets and doing some serious online reselling. She’s in a perfect area for it as this state has been hit hard with people who had money and then all of a sudden don’t have it anymore. Lots of folks just close up their house, put their crap out front and drive off. It’s unreal.
The Goodwills here are amazing. We’ve shopped them for personal merchandise for years. I’ve found several good things everytime I visit here. My sister started looking for name brand stuff, shoes and handbags in particular. Another great thing to find are wooden hangers with writing. Those go for some serious bucks, especially if they say Flamingo Hotel from Las Vegas.
Goodwill has a store called Bargain Barn here. I think Bargain Barn gets their stuff from Goodwilll after it’s sat on the shelf for awhile. They sell the clothes by the pound, everything is tossed into bins and frankly, it’s a real pain in the ass to shop there. The stuff can be dirty but you never know what you might find. I went with my sister to Sarasota to the Bargain Barn there the other day. We dropped mom and the kids off at Mote Marine. My sister told me to get ready to fight the Haitians and I responded with a classic “whatever.” We entered the store and headed towards the long bins of shoes, about 30 feet in length. Half of the spaces were empty because they took the bins away and were preparing to bring out new shoes. In a long rectangle surrounding the spots where the bins were to be replaced stood about 30 Haitians, my sister and one other white chick. I was like whoa, what’s going down now?
The new bins were then wheeled into position and a whistle was blown and all hell pretty much broke lose! Everyone started pushing and shoving (well the Haitians did) and loading up shopping carts with shoes. The Haitians grab whatever they can and toss it into a cart and take it away. They sort through it and then toss back whatever they don’t want. This is sort of good because the Haitians tossed back a pair of Merrell’s and a pair of Ferragamo’s. Score! Some of the Haitians wear bags around their necks and just load up, walk off, sort and toss back. One lady had a zip up mattress cover and pretty much just loaded that thing up until the zipper was about to bust open. And then, she started her sorting. Some of the ladies were really pretty and wore colorful turbans on their heads. One lady sang a song, really loud, in Haitian (I guess) as she sorted her wares. Soon enough they announced new clothing bins were being released so my sister and I decided it was time to shop for more shoes – in peace.
So the question to myself was this. Are there no shoes in Haiti? Are these Haitians citizens, illegals or just visting? Why the push and shove for a pair of tennis shoes? My dad recently returned from Peru where he spent some time in a very poverished area. He said one would have to work for about 2 months to purchase one pair of shoes and that would only be if you didn’t buy anything else. I realize folks are poor and need help, but how about playing fair? But then I told myself perhaps they don’t know any better, maybe this is how they’ve always had to live. To fight for anything, I just don’t know. Maybe they should donate all the leftover shoes to Haiti. I think that would be a great idea. Perhaps after I finish this I shall do some research on Haiti and the people there.
So far my sister has sold shoes by Ferragamo, Pliner, Chanel, J. Crew, Teva, Shoeman Lau (handmade crocodile shoes) Cydwoq, Stewart Weitzman and then some. We found a gorgeous pair of Chanel heels the other day. They are patent leather with a gold, Chanel penny in the tongue, like a penny loafer. Oh, did I mention that shoes of any kind at the Bargain Barn cost $2? Well, they do! The Chanel shoes fit me perfectly and were actually quite comfortable and I’m not into heels. After she cleaned them up, I wore them around the house with my shorts until the heel cap broke off and I am now no longer allowed to model any of the shoes again. I think her exact words were, “Kirsten, don’t touch anything!”
One pair of pretty heels we found are made of suede with a pattern. They fit me too, but I didn’t walk around in them. They were made by Tokio Kumagai, a Japanese designer who is now deceased but several pairs of his shoes are actually on display in a museum. She has also sold a vintage baby alligator purse and a small purse, called a camera bag by Chanel. Totally cool.
I have looked for merchandise of this caliber where I live, but found pretty much nothing of this nature. I too, have sold several items on e-bay. It’s really fun to do. The search though can be exhausting and if you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean. It’s pretty time consuming. Once you’ve made your purchase and you’re not sure of what it is, that inital research can kill some serious time as well. And of course if you bought something that needs cleaning that’s time consuming too. I am really thankful that folks here ditch so much great stuff because if they didn’t, my sister and her family would be in some serious financial trouble. My sister also sells things for lots of other people. One of her friends actually worked at Chanel in NYC. She has several clothing items with price tags still intact. I just checked them out in her closet. Pretty fun to look at. And no. I didn’t try anything on.
Guess I’ll go down some more coffee and watch the wind. Speaking of coffee. My sister scored a Nespresso C190 for $5. Only because she worked at that fancy kitchen store that I blogged about year before last year did she know what this was. All of the pieces were strewn about in separate bins and she took the time to find every last piece. It works perfectly. We’ve already steamed and frothed but we don’t have any Nespresso coffee capsules. That fancy kitchen store won’t sell you any as you have to be in the Nespresso club and order them.
A pine tree just bent pretty low and the wind about sucked open the french door that opens to the outdoors. The kids are still asleep. We were supposed to head back to mom’s today, but I think we might have to wait until tomorrow. I suppose there are worse places that I could be stuck. We had several great days on the boat and on the beach and in the pool.
If you want to check out my sister’s wares on ebay, her store name is Material Green Design.