The Things We Do For Vintage Stuff!
If you are like me and love finding vintage treasures online, you have probably experienced the intense joy of finding that amazing piece you can't live without, then the crushing disappointment when you realise it's located hours away from where you live.
You may also have experienced the third phase in the scenario - the little voice in your head that squeaks - you can't let this go, find a way to make it yours!
It's that little voice that is a tiny bright light of possibility when you are wallowing in the darkness of VILD (Vintage Item Locality Disappointment - and yes, I made that acronym up, but it really should be a thing, with a Google search listing and everything!) This is a story of the things we do for the love of vintage stuff, or at least I do, and how I managed to emerge triumphant and acquire this vintage sideboard against the odds, and there were many!
It all started with a planned trip to our nations capital of Canberra about 3 hours drive away. On the Thursday evening before the scheduled trip the following Monday, I was looking at a website for a very large recycling thrift store type of place located just outside Canberra city. It was a store we would pass on the way, and that often has a great range of vintage stuff. They had a link to their Facebook page to see updates, so with one click I started a roller coaster trip in motion that required every bit of tenacity I could muster.
The store also had a smaller outlet right in the city centre and there on the Facebook page for that locality was a gorgeous sideboard like nothing I had seen around here before. It's lovely honey toned wood and simple but appealing lines had me captivated. The beautiful door locks, the circular decoration on the doors and mirror set my creative mind into overdrive, the possibilities! Where I could use it in our new farmhouse, how wonderful it would look with other vintage pieces etc, you know what I mean if you have that vintage stuff addiction!
But first hurdle was it's location, deep within the city centre where driving is a nightmare (we get lost or end up in some 'not so perfect' parking predicament 90% of the time in our nation's capital - apparently it's our thing). The store was closed at the time I was browsing online but the comments on this Facebook post showed that a lot of other people also coveted this sideboard.
The reality was that it would be first to contact the store after they opened the next morning who would get this prize.
Considering the situation I didn't think the odds were very good for me being the lucky first caller, but I made a mental note to try anyway.
The next morning I was still loving this sideboard, it still called my name from deep within the rabbit hole of cyberspace, so I started phoning the store at 8.45am, in case they would answer the phone before the official opening time of 9am. No such luck, the phone wasn't answered, so I tried again at 8.55am, still no answer, seems these people were sticklers for protocol. Right on 9am, give or take a few milliseconds, I rang for a third time - hooray, a human answered the phone and I asked the burning question, "Is that sideboard on your Facebook page, the one with the gorgeous circular designs and mellow wood tones, you know the one I have been dreaming about all night still available", well that is what I was thinking, but I managed to sound sane and instead simply asked "Is the sideboard listed on your Facebook page last night still available? "
She replied with the most beautiful sounding word in my world that day - YES!
How much was it I asked? She replied that it was $250, eek, a lot more than I normally want to pay, especially from a thrift store, but seems prices are inflated in cities across the whole spectrum of retail outlets. It did include the lovely mirrored backboard sitting on the ground in front of the piece though, it was also what I think to be Oak Wood, not so common over here, so I knew I would pay their price. She pointed out (as if it would be a deal breaker) that it was missing two handles on the drawers, I said "I'll take it, can I collect it Monday when I'm up that way?"
Then the bottom fell out of my perfect vintage world when she advised they don't hold anything for more than a day, it had to be collected by close of business that day! I advised my situation, sure that she would understand and make allowances for this country girl's distance dilemma, and after all it was only until Monday morning. I was right about one thing, these people were sticklers for protocol - she advised they didn't have room to hold items, even it seems for such a short time, which really only amounted to about 1.5 days of store time as they were closed Sundays. How much room did they need in that short time period?
I said OK, I'll work something out, consider it SOLD.
I had no idea where that so easy to say, but not so easy to organise commitment would lead. Buckle up, it's a roller coaster ride from here on in!
So onto the internet again to search for couriers to collect it from the shop and store it for a few days until I could pick it up from them - sounds easy right? Wrong. I rang at least half a dozen couriers, and nobody could help me. They were either booked out as it was a busy end of week Friday, or they could collect it but had no place to store it for me. It's not like it was the size of a lounge suit or dining table, but nope, none of them had space at the inn for my left in limbo sideboard.
I moved on to furniture removalists, they all said no as well, truck too large to fit into the small laneway behind the store, booked out, too short notice.
I then started to get creative and thought about using storage units nearby, if I could get a courier to collect it then transport it to a storage unit I could collect it on the Monday. Yes, this sounds desperate, but I was in too deep to back out now, although every hour that passed I felt my grip on those vintage handles slipping away, and the cost factor for this crazy collection deadline beginning to potentially spiral out of control.
The storage unit people were helpful, yes, I could have a short term unit lease for a few days, they apparently have such things. Yes, the courier could drop off the sideboard and they would hold the key for me at the office. Excellent, it was sounding like a plan, even though the combined unit rental cost plus courier would be almost the cost of the sideboard itself. But this less than financially optimal option by the time I had figured it all out, meant the couriers were all now way too busy to help. Hours of time and and an emotional roller coaster of hope and disappointments, followed by more hope, and hopes dashed started to wear me down.
I finally accepted that maybe this just wasn't meant to be, and firmly told myself looking at items located in other cities was not going to be part of my future vintage treasure hunts!
I reluctantly rang the storage unit people who were tentatively holding a space for me and explained I couldn't proceed as I couldn't find a courier that could do what I needed. They were empathetic that my crazy scheme didn't bear fruit, and as a last minute comment asked if I had tried this other small company that runs a door to door delivery business. I had never heard of them, but thought it was worth one last ditch effort and gave them a call. The first guy I spoke to said if I wanted to do the storage unit idea then best to call this other guy who covered that area to see if he could help. So, even though by this stage it was lunchtime on a Friday, so half the delivery day had already passed, I went through the motions and rang guy number 2.
For the third time that day I explained my storage unit idea and why that was necessary. He said, yes, he could collect it for me, yey, hurdle one down. Then he said he was also willing to store it for me in his garage until Monday to save him having to deliver to the storage shed! Seriously, was I hearing things? Then like the heavens opening up in some scene from a Hollywood movie, he said he would also be happy to drop it to us at the IKEA carpark on the Monday morning to save us the extra travel across the city to his side of town, as he already had a delivery over that way scheduled! He would also do all of this for $90.
I instantly scrapped my previous directive to myself to avoid vintage treasure hunting further afield than my doorstep, and profusely thanked this knight in workers overalls for his amazing final hour salvation of my vintage sideboard dream.
Needless to say the collection that following Monday went like clockwork. After that result from my hours of tenacious mental gymnastics, I knew this circular adorned sideboard was meant to be coming home with me to live in our farmhouse, no pedantic protocol sticklers, the tyranny of distance or ridiculously tight time schedules would keep us apart.:)
Where it lives now, and what I did with the two pieces of this vintage treasure once I had them safely home will be a post for another time! Stay tuned. If you found this post interesting, or have your own precious vintage piece obtained through somewhat crazy methods let me know by commenting below. Better still subscribe to my blog via the subscribe by email link and I'll send you an email letting you know when I have posted something new to read.