Treasure Hunting

Alameda Point Antiques FairThere’s nothing quite like the thrill of scoring a deal. I can still remember going to a garage sale with my cousins when I was in second grade. Trolling the aisles between tables, looking for the perfect treasure. I ended up buying a shell necklace for fifty-cents. Mind you, this was in the seventies, so it’s likely I paid what the thing was worth, but I still felt the thrill of finding something special in an unexpected place.

Maybe that explains my love of television shows like Antiques Roadshow and Storage Wars. Honestly, if I were home nursing the flu and stuck on the sofa, I could easily watch four episodes of Storage Wars in a row. At least.

And, it would seem, I’m not the only one watching. Storage Wars is officially the most popular show in A&E’s (the network on which it airs) history. The show follows a group of characters around to storage facilities in California as they bid on unclaimed units in the hope of turning the biggest profit on the units they win. While part of the fun of the show is in the interplay between the characters, what I love best about the show is the excitement over the hunt for “the find”.

The show’s popularity has spawned spin-offs in Texas and New York.  Each new location has a cast that offers an authentic voice to the show. For example, during a recent trip to a New Jersey facility Storage Wars New York buyer Joe P. expressed disappointment in a unit’s contents (a stained sofa cushion and a storage tub) by saying, “I was looking for a bit of history. Not CSI Jersey Turnpike.”

I’m not quite ready to join the cast of Storage Wars. I’ll settle instead for treasure hunting a little closer to home. Among my favorite finds was at a garage sale I went to with my friend Sue (a serious garage-saler) when I was pregnant with my first child. I didn’t know then that one could clean up on baby gear at garage sales. I got a new, in-box, vibrating bouncy chair for $5 (retail around $45). Score!

And now the baby I bought that bouncy seat for is hooked on the hunt for treasure just like me. The first Sunday of every month she and I get a chance to find some treasure together. The Alameda Point Antique Faire  has over 800 vendors and if you’ve got your walking shoes on, can offer hours of entertainment just in the spectacle that surrounds you. You’ve got your straight-up junk vendors with piles of rusted parts lining their tables, and then you’ve got the artists, the ones who can take a forty-year-old couch add some fancy imported fabric and transform it into a modern marvel you could picture in your own living room. Much of what you see at The Faire leaves you thinking, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?”

There’s no better way to spend a sunny Sunday than walking the faire with my daughter,  getting a treat from the cupcake truck, scheming and laughing together while the boys watch football at home. Even if we leave empty-handed (and we often do) we always leave happy. Oh, yeah, that’s a pot of gold right there.

Did I mention the cupcakes?


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