Thursday, September 03, 2015

Ask Eddie Anything: The Junk Thing

Let's see now....

Where were we?

Oh, yeah.  I remember.

Linda asked:

"Questions, how did you get started in the junk business?"

A lot of this has been covered in other posts.  I think the best way to handle this is with some quick links to those posts for background, then I'll fill in the blanks in this post.

First off, all my posts with the "junking memories" label.  A couple aren't totally relevant, but the ones called "Family Ties" and "Leitchfield Flea Market" kind of lay the groundwork for my junk history.  I've kind of let the thread drop on this series.  I need to pick that up again.  I know I've got a couple of drafts for new posts somewhere in my list.

Another one to read is this one that I wrote after moving out of Dixie earlier this year.  It tells the story of my growth there.

Finally, here is the very first post featuring my very first booth, practically from the very first day.  You can see pics of a tubby, slightly more clean-shaven, pre-cancer Eddie in this post.  I got so wrapped up in doing the booth (plus a few other things) that I didn't blog again for a whole year!

Now that the groundwork has been laid, here are some of the finishing details.  Keith and I had been doing some heavy duty yard saling for a couple of years, usually getting stuff for the house, presents (for a long time almost every birthday and Christmas gift we gave was yard saled or thrifted), or stuff for us.  From time to time, I would grab something and say that when I got my booth, this would go in it.  I had a "someday booth" kind of like Laurie's beach house.

Right after we moved into the house, we went to our very first Peddlers Mall and I was in love with the idea.  People were selling junk!  I had junk!  I could sell my junk!  But it was just a dream I never did anything with.  A little later, the friend we used to have yard sales with took a booth in a secondhand store.  We kind of had a ringside seat at learning how to do it.  When I finally bit, I had an idea of what to expect.

What finally pushed me over the edge was a combination of factors.  I had talked with the store where my friend was, but gotten turned down, as that owner only took vendors he knew and selected.  I had also placed my name on a waiting list at a Peddlers Mall.  I was told they had a six month waiting list.  I never heard back from them.

I went to the opening of the Dixie Peddlers Mall and they had open spaces, which would mean no waiting list.  Anyone could sign up.  No funky vetting procedures.  Keith was away that weekend, and I wanted to talk to him before I actually took the plunge.

At that particular time, I needed an outlet badly.  I was trapped in a job that I was coming not just to hate, but to despise.  Too many reorganizations and shuffles.  An overly bloated top tier loaded with incompetent cronies.  A toxic atmosphere where secrecy, favoritism, and backbiting were the order of the day.  I had watched both a good friend and a supervisor become targets of scapegoating and witch hunting.  The supervisor got summarily dismissed.  A few months later, it became pretty obvious that my ass was in the target zone. 

I needed something to help me keep my sanity and restore a very badly-shattered self-esteem.  I had no idea how badly wounded I was by the whole experience until the day I finally got canned along with almost ten other people, barely a month after my mother died.  I was pretty shattered.

The booth kept me sane that last year of employment by giving me distraction--something that I could do where I only had to answer to myself.  I only had to please me.  I could do things my way and learn my own lessons.  With so much else out of my control, having something where I was making the decisions meant so much to me.  Any money that I made was a bonus. 

Doing well proved to me that I was not the incompetent fool that I was being made out to be by the people who kept changing the rules at work to make it so.  Having a place to put energy, initiative and creativity that I was not allowed to exercise at work allowed me to reinvent myself.

After I lost my job, grieving my mother and full of a lot of rage, I threw myself into selling junk.  Keith says it saved me.  I tend to agree.  Junk healed me, as melodramatic as that sounds.

There are the germs for two or three Junkin' Memories posts in this one.  Look for a flurry of those to come sometime in the future.  After I finish all the Ask Eddie Anything questions, of course. 


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Wow Eddie, I have been reading backwards to this post. Gotta say, reselling in a booth and being your own boss is freeing. Working for ones self is freeing. Mean work situations suck.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I really enjoy this! Going back and reading the old posts and see how you came to do this Junkin thing! I thank you for answering my question!!

Donna Wilkes said...

Junk saved me also. My father-in-law whom I dearly loved had a series of strokes after heart surgery. He could not return home and went to live in a nursing home. We chose one with loads of animals, programs, and visitors. I was going daily to help with lunch and supper and make sure he was up and rolling around. When time came to go back to school, our principal was moved to a new position and was replaced by one nasty guy (who was later jailed for being a sexual predator!). When I asked about leaving right at the end bell to go to the nursing home (I arrived at school each morning at 6:30 for free tutoring!), he told me I had 15 minutes to decide whether I was a nurse or a teacher. He kicked me out in 15 minutes. He did allow me to return to pack my personal possessions. I made the right decision, Charlie lived for six more years - quite happily in the nursing home. One of his fellow church members had the first antique mall in this area, and she asked me to come and try it. That was 1998 and I am still going strong. Never returned to my first love - teaching. Sorry this is so long, but this post brought up memories of what it is like to be denigrated by people in a work environment. said...

It's sad to hear that you had to work in a toxic , negative workplace with toxic, negative people. I know antiquing , junking is an unpredictable income but it's so worth it !! I was a social worker year's ago and was sooo stressed by the situation's I had to deal with , it all came home with me and wasn't worth the money, good money . I know your so much happier where you are now and I'm so glad to of found you :-) TT said...

I alway's wondered when and why you quit teaching and now I know. That school district lost one of the best teacher's money could hire. So sorry that's how your career ended, but you still continued giving for six more year's to someone who meant so much to you. You don't like to hear it or admit it but you are one of a kind with a heart of gold who alway's does for other's. I'm sure Eddie agree's.