Friday, December 12, 2014

Weird Research Encounters - Google Results

I was doing some research this evening, via GOOGLE, and I had something....

Well, how can I say this....?   


I guess you could say that some rather "odd" things were shown in the search results.....

Rather, um, insanitary sorts of results.

Now, before I go too much further, I should say that I have been using Internet search engines and their results for researching all sorts of vintage items. In the very nature of some of these items you tend to trip across bizarre results. Those not-at-all-relevant-to-your-search-terms results inherently pop up simply due to the "not usual" combinations of words you are using.

Now, I expect some weird results when I do research on medical items, commercial equipment, and use some terms that are more obvious in their potential to be problematic. Such examples include:
  Brass Boer War Era Enema Syringe
 Enlarger Pump Vacuum System
 Vintage Lingerie Rack
and when you do searches involving combinations of such words as:


and I could go on and on with all sorts of key words, but I really don't want this blog posting to be at the top of the search results for all the fetish, porn and other site searches being done....

Nothing wrong with all that, "live and let live", as the saying goes. For me, it is just that those particular  searchers are not really serious readers of this blog....!

Or, rather, I should state that those who are looking for those sites are not, at that particular moment in their day, intending to read about antiques & collectibles.

Well, not in the way I write about them, that is....and I am referring to antiques & collectibles, not the searchers..

SO, let's erase some of the images we're conjured up from our minds, shall we?

OK, so, I have gotten a few weird results while doing pretty banal searches before. One particular search was when I was doing some research on a piece connected to that classic physical comedy team Laurel & Hardy.

I typed  "Laurel & Hardy" into Google.  I was expecting to get some fan site, maybe find some history on the guys.

However, there it was....

The #1 top site was....

A porn site!

And no, it was not a gay porn site, either.

So, I suppose, considering that I am "straight" as far as my "private life" goes, that was not really a huge problem with me, if I was actually looking for a porn site involving that comedy duo's works being somehow recreated with and integrated into pornos.......!

Ah, I can see the concern spreading across some of your faces....

Don't worry, I won't be reaching into the realms of TMI...

By the way, TMI  stands for "TOO MUCH INFORMATION"...this little sidebar is for those of you trying to read entirely something else into that abbreviation!

And, btw, what ever you did read into it I can't fathom......NOR do I want to know

Actually, as for that #1 ranked site for "Laurel & Hardy", I have no idea what the site had as to content...aside from it being a porn site. I won't explain how I knew that, as I really don't think I need to.

(If I need to explain, well, you are very likely a minor, and a very, very, very sheltered one at that. If you are over 18 and haven't a clue what I am talking about....well, you have issues I simply can not help you with. I am a picker, not a counsellor or shrink, sorry. You must have the wrong blog.)

Besides, I was on the computer at my store at the time, during business hours. I figured it was not exactly something I needed my customers seeing...nor hearing.

I realize some people do get very excited over antiques & collectibles, yes...

But not quite THAT excited.

So, if you are not entirely distracted......

(And I don't want to know why you are distracted if you do happen to actually be entirely distracted....)

BACK to the original subject of this blog...

I had done a search on Google seeking some information on an antique/vintage object.

The item?

Take a guess...and try to think of something as bland and as non-kink, non-fetish, non-sexual, etc, etc, etc as you can.....

Any ideas?

Well, it was simply....

A doorknob.

 A very old doorknob, actually...pre 1870, I'd think. However, I don't know its age for sure, at the moment. You see, I came directly to my blog to write this after seeing the results I got for this simple, banal, 3 word search.

It happens to have some markings on it, and upon close inspection I realized they were not American, nor European, but Asian in origin.  I figured maybe they were possibly Japanese. So, I went with that....and typed in the following as my search parameters::

Japanese Bronze Doorknob

Oh, and I should mention that I tend to set Google to do Image searches when I am doing research involving vintage objects, rather than text ("Web") searches.

So, I learned something new. However, it is something I really did not need to know.

And, it is pretty close to being something I would rather have not known. 

The images did not quite rank up there with the sorts of images you wish you could un-see.....things like a particular scene in John Water's cult film "Pink Flamingos". For those of you who are not familiar with Mr Water's earlier works I will try to be gentle in my description.  This scene; almost seemingly randomly inserted in the film; involved a "performer" doing bizarre things/movements with a muscle that is not one usually even given daylight exposure in public ....or even in most private circumstances; in the average person's presence, anyway. But John Waters is who he is...and cast this, um, "unusually talented" fellow is his film.

The scene is burnt into my mind like a recurring nightmare....I wish I could blot it out....... the horror...oh the horror....

So, the images Google brought up were not that sort of image.

However, I think that if I ever travel to Japan, I will carry a box of latex gloves around with me, just for those times I need to twist a doorknob.

That is it.  Do your own search, ok?

 I am trying my utmost to forget...!


An additional word of warning: "bronze door knob" is not a useful set of search terms when looking for antique hardware, either....!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How NOT To Run Your Store!

I was on Facebook this evening, and like many days on there, I was quickly looking over a couple threads on a collectors page. 

What page, items, etc is not important in this case.  

The memory it triggered is the important thing.

Within this little story is a lesson that should resonate for all store owners, especially those of you in the "junk biz". 

Frankly, it doesn't matter if you run a second hand shop, thrift shop, antiques store, collectibles store, flea market booth, operate just a flea market table, run a perpetual garage sale, etc, any of these cases, PLEASE DO NOT be like the owners of the store I am about to describe!

* * * * * * * *

About 15 or so years ago, a fellow dealer and I were enroute to an antiques show a couple provinces over. We did a little buying along the way, stopping in at the odd shop we knew about or happened to come across.

We tended to looked through the yellow pages, brochures, etc for shops to potentially check out, while killing a little time after supper, sitting in the room at the hotels/motels we'd book into for the evenings.

Anyway, one place we  found, possibly in the yellow pages, we decided to check out.

We finally found the place, and when we walked in we had both thought:

 DAMN, this place is packed!

We have/had very different interests & specialities; John being into high-end glass, "true antiques", quality porcelain, sterling silver, Sheffield plate and that sort of traditional fare,  and I myself was into country antiques, nostalgia, toys, advertising, etc. 

Despite our divergent interests, there was some damn cool stuff within the scopes of both of our fields of interest; scattered all over, mixed in amongst mediocre stuff and a smattering of junky, shelf filler sort of fare.
Luckily, pretty much everything in the store was tagged. We hate when things are not priced.

But, there was one odd thing we quickly noticed about the tags.

They only had code numbers on them...not a price!

 We asked about a couple things each, and quickly realized why the place was packed, and still had cool stuff all over....

Every time we asked about the price of an item, relaying to them the number written on the tag, if we could even read it, (considering how faded, dusty, and smudged many of the tags were) the 3 owners of the store (all family, I think) huddled around a stack of semi-loose pages, all dog-eared, stuffed in a book/binder. Flipping through it, and finally selecting a page, presumably connected with the number we gave them, they whispered amongst themselves, furtively looking up at us during their conversation..  

Then, eventually after much whispering, page flipping, and glances in our direction, they would finally quote a price....

Which was easily 3 times what the item was worth....

After going through 3 or 4 of these agonizing episodes, some of which took 10 minutes or so, we looked at each other with eyes rolling and walked out. We have never gone back, and no one we know whom we have told the story to has ever darkened that store's doorstep, purposely, that is.

Now, does this sound like your shop? 

If so, I have some top notch advice you need to consider. 

You have a couple options on how to make money in this sort of scenario....because you sure as heck are not making a single dime right now. 

Option 1: Close and lock your doors. Then, go out and get a  9 to 5 job.

Option 2:  Go outside, tear down your store sign. Flip it over and with a can of spray paint, in big letters, write the following word:


 Then, underneath that, write:

Admission $1.00  

This way, you might actually make a buck.