Rainman eBay Item Where Bought Garage Sale Dustin Hoffman Tom Cruise

Where did you buy that? Ask The Reader

Dollar Flipper Ask the Reader 17 Comments

If you ask me “Where did you buy that,” I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. I can tell you what the weather was like, what else I bought, people I interacted with, and how I haggled. But if you asked me what I ate for lunch two days ago, ummm… chicken?

Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Rainman eBay Item Where Buy Garage Sale Dustin Hoffman Tom Cruise

I wonder if I look this cool when I’m out shopping at garage sales!

I can’t be the only reseller out there who remembers tiny details about a purchase. I think the reason that I can remember something I bought 2 years ago is because of all of the contextualization that occurs.

There’s a lot of neurons firing when you’re out shopping. You are absorbing in a lot of information and building up a network of experiences. I think that adrenaline just helps fuel the fire to make a deeper memory.

Here’s a list of things that I experience when out buying that make a purchase more memorable:

  • The weather – usually a little brisker when you start out and then warms up as the morning wears on. That heavy sweater was a bad idea. Always wear layers that are easily removed (zip up light hoodie is my favorite).
  • The physical activity – exercise helps you have a better memory and critical thinking, so it would make sense that walking around at a flea market would create strong memories. Sometimes you even buy so much that you have to make several trips back to the car. Talk about good problems to have!
  • The setting – trees are turning green and flowers are in bloom. An estate sale’s house with all of its shag carpet and wood paneling. That favorite little nook in the back of the store that has the stuff no one wants.
  • Touching items – clothes, books, glass, rough pottery, sometimes that dew of the early morning.
  • Smells – wet grass, Eau de Thrift store, grandma perfume
  • And of course, the sounds – I may not remember what the person looked like, but I’ll remember the talk about the item. Me noticing any flaws, incredulity about how cheap I could get it. Kids running around, families talking about how they could use something in their house, dad’s saying “we don’t need another one of those!”
  • Other items you bought – you’re not just creating context with all of the sensory items, but you’re also creating experiences with multiple items throughout a day.

I Buy Lots of Things

The weirdest part for me is that I buy a lot of inventory. Last year alone I spent over $1,500 on new inventory alone. At an average price of $3 per item, that’s 500 items!

First, that math is scary to me. I didn’t list 500 items last year, so what the hell am I doing with all of that stuff?

Second, I can most likely tell you where I bought each of those items.

So, after all of this, am I crazy? And yes, I ate chicken for lunch two days ago.

Do you remember where you bought that awesome item a year ago?

Image Creditjdxyw

Comments 17

  1. Haha, I have the same problem! It is bizarre how much I remember about an item I bought even a year ago!

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  2. I remember everything too…I think because buying items to thrift is one of my favorite things to do. I remember what house the yard sale was at! I can pass the house months later and turn to Hubby and say…that’s where we got this and this and this….
    We have many Goodwills in our area…but I know which one certain things came from.

    I think it’s because it’s so DARN FUN!!

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      I love that about houses that you’ve been to. That happened to me with the vintage underwear. I thought I was having déjà vu and then I realized that I’d been to her house before!

  3. Me too…I can drive around and say I got so and so at that yard sale, estate sale, thrift store. I think it’s part of the thrill of the hunt that you want to relive the excitement again and again. And since I watch waaaay too many crime shows I just think of it as returning to the scene of the crime. What mystifies SweetiePie is that I can go to the tote that its stored in and retrieve an item. (no inventory number system) Not every time, but 99% of the time. I think he forgets those times that I get mad at myself when I can’t find something right away, but I can remember where I bought it.

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      Wow! How big is your store? I forget where every item is since so many are similar. That’s impressive!

  4. Oh I can so relate your post and all of the comments as well! I have a difficult time remembering almost everything. However, I can tell you when I bought something, where, what the weather was like. I have crossed the thin line of reseller to hoarder but I can still find everything! Although I must admit that the fact the garage sale season is already here again frightens me. I have REALLY got to get busy! I also seem to develop an attachment to really cool/special/htf things. So now I have various “collections” everywhere. I may have the world’s largest collection of sunglasses and perfume!! And oddly, vintage Olympic pins! No idea…I just keep finding them.
    I have just recently started commenting on blogs but I have been lurking around here and Scavenger Life (many others) for a long time. Figured it was time to stop it and just let my weirdo flag fly!
    Thanks for the great post!

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      I’m really glad that you’re commenting. We all have our quirks. The internet has helped us all realize it. Instead of my grandparents’ generation which just held everything in and quiet, we can be open about it in a safe anonymous way!

  5. Absolutely true! I can remember every detail of an item down to where I purchased, how much I paid, what I sold it for, etc. Scary weird since I cannot remember where I put my keys, where I parked the car after 5 minutes in a grocery store, if I fed the cat, anyones name that I am not personally related to, etc. Early dementia on one hand, and rain man on the other haha! Like recycleista said, its because we love what we do (and we resellers are weird according to my non-reseller friends). Glad I am not alone!

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      🙂 I think another important part is that we’re actually focusing on something instead of just walking through and ignoring all the details. We’re processing all of that information about that item and those memories are getting created! When you’re parking your car, you’re probably thinking about what you’re going to buy or what you need to do the rest of the day. Definitely not in the moment!

      1. Very true! I think most of us are probably very focused and connected with what we are doing. When your enjoying what you do it makes total sense that our brain would retain all of those little details.
        Great to see from all of the comments that I’m not alone on this! =)

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  6. I can so relate to this, even though I don’t thrift but shop from the curbs. I can tell of each and every item what street it came from, why I passed there, was I on a special hunt or just on the way back from work, grocerie shopping etc. The weather, day or night. Or did my co-picker bring it to me and so on! Now what did I watch on tv last night? Ehhhh….

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      That’s awesome that you get that much stuff from the trash! We got a jogging (low end) stroller on the curb. No regrets!

  7. Love the description you posted of what you remember from all of your senses.
    This post inspires me to get into ebay!

  8. I mostly remember all that stuff…I have especially font memories though of community sales that are kind of a bit of a drive though. I love exploring new neighborhoods. What I can’t seem to remember and neither can hubby, is who found what. Since we both adore thrifting/saling..we both do a lot of picking and then we’re always fighting about who found what when it sells. LOL

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      LOL. My wife knows when she has picked something out. It hasn’t happened a lot, but she loves the feeling. I wish I could get her help when listing though!

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