In this economy, many of us have been left with a critical question. Do I stay unemployed or become self-employed? I choose self. My boss is a pain in the neck but the dress code’s cool.
I own a small antique business on eBay and I mean small antiques – jewelry, statues, anything that doesn’t require a second mortgage to ship. The hard lesson of eBay is this – buy low, sell high. Duh! Right? But trust me. That little maxim goes out the window when you find a carved Burmese jadeite necklace for only $595.
Last week I decided to visit some thrift stores in La Jolla. I’ve just moved back here after many, many years away from San Diego. The beauty of an internet business is that it’s portable. When the opportunity arose to return to La Jolla, I grabbed my wireless traveling antique shop and moved.
In fact, the last 18 months were spent with my family in Southern New Jersey. I grew up there in a town founded in 1682. (When I was little, I thought the only place George Washington hadn’t slept was at my house.) I love my family, but I’m a fish out of water on the East Coast. I knew it was time to leave when every other sentence out of my mouth was “Ya know what I’m sayin’?” New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia are places where you only get good outdoor time about two months of the year. September and May are doable. Winter is painful, and summer? Well, hopefully frizz and sweat are a good look for you.
We moved here on a Wednesday. By Saturday I was searching second-hand stores in La Jolla. I even found a 2-hour parking space exactly in front of two stores I wanted to see. Quelle surprise!
But here we were - Fay Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. The sky was the color of an emerald-cut aquamarine. The sunlight was 18 karat rose gold. I was about to enter a store called Le Chauvinist. Sure, my feminist hackle rose at the name. (That’s right. “Hackle,” singular. At some point, ladies, you gotta say, “Are ya kiddin’ me? Get outta here!” and move on.)
Le Chauvinist is a men’s consignment store. I fondled a couple of cashmere overcoats on my way in but I was really in search of cufflinks. Believe it or not, cufflinks sell like tiny hotcakes on eBay. A lovely young woman helped me look through a large selection of cufflinks. Her name started with an E but that’s all I remember. (Each time I recall a someone’s name, I seem to forget one of my passwords.)
Miss E was helpful and patient. When it came time to haggle, she was deft. Now, I only have one haggle in me. (Like my hackle.) I say “Is that your best price?” They answer. Depending on the answer I may or may not buy the item but I just don’t have the will to continue battling.
E brought out a set of David Andersen sterling silver enamel cufflinks priced at $239. I asked my stock haggle question and she went to the owner, hidden somewhere in the back. The price Miss E then quoted was so good I debated selling my own wedding ring to buy them. But if you don’t stick to your budget, very bad things can happen. (Although, no question you’d be stylin’ in Bankruptcy Court with your David Andersen cufflinks.)
So. I had to think.
And what better place than the store next door? is another lovely consignment shop which carries primarily woman’s clothing and accessories. While I was perusing Echoes, Miss E came in to show me yet another phenomenal deal. A 14 karat Dolan-Bullock cufflink, tie tack set inlaid with bloodstone. The price, again, amazing. But sadly, still light years from what I’d budgeted. Some people might consider that a high-pressure selling tactic, to bring the article to me but it wasn’t like that. E honestly wanted to help me pick out the right cufflinks. And in fairness, I hadn’t told her my budget.
The day’s trawling for bargains didn’t end with those two stores. The friendly lady at Second Act Consignment further down Fay Avenue greeted me with a tour of the store. A tour of the store! How great is that?
I came home that day with three sets of Art Deco Mexican sterling silver cufflinks, a small 14K lapis lazuli pendant and an Ann Taylor cashmere scarf the color of that aqua sky. All for less than $100.
Seriously, you gotta love La Jolla - know what I’m sayin’?