Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raiders of the lost Perth tip shops

Sunset, West Coast
I've just returned, with a good friend and fellow treasure hunter, from a whirlwind tour of the tip shops in Perth - well, the metro area, anyway.  It was a most enjoyable, if hectic, couple of days, but I do have a critical observation to make.

Dear freeway drivers:  YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE.  Picking your nose whilst driving at high speed is, to say the least, uncool.  The shiny tinted things in the doors and at the front are made of glass and others can see you.  Stop it, you disgusting little beasts.

Concern, South Coast
There. I feel much better. 

Now, to the business at hand:

It's not actually all that easy to work out where the tip shops are.  The main ones we found, after interweb research, a quick survey of Facebook friends and asking family were at Mindarie, Balcatta, and Cockburn.  Given the short timeframe and the kilometres involved, this was where we concentrated our efforts.

I would love to hear of others in WA, and how they measure up to the comparative shopper.
Coming out on top for us was Balcatta.  It had the disorganised hustle and bustle which suits the intrepid hunter and the eclectic and downright weird stuff which we like to see.  There was, literally, something for everyone and everyone was there, from the pearl and faux leopardskin Nedlands grande Dame to the man who stopped in the rain to tell me a joke. ('A man went to the doctor and said he thought he had water on the brain.  The doctor gave him a tap on the head and sent him home.') Hey, I was in the plumbing section and holding a brass tap. There was context.

It became apparent that there was unlikely to be anything of serious dollar value hidden there, as I saw when someone asked for a price on a pretty little plate only to have it (literaly) snatched from his hands to be sent off to be appraised.  As the person who worked there said, there would be 'no Antiques Roadshow moments' there.  I asked what happened post-appraisal but alas, there was no response. I was just interested to know - but maybe they didn't.

Things I left behind....
Still, there were lots of interesting things and the prices were good.  The parking and drop-off organisation was - well,  not there, really, and if you are going there just to buy you can save a lot of time by NOT following the signs and instead taking the 'commercial truck only' lane to the carpark (which is just inside the gates to the right as you enter). Otherwise, prepare to spend a lot of time tangled up in the people having their drop-offs peered at, while you watch others scuttle off with fabulous finds.

It takes time, patience and a sense of adventure but all in all a lot of fun and good stuff for $10.

Next was the Mindarie Regional Council operation at Tamala Park.  The organisation of parking and drop-off was excellent.  There was heaps of space and some nice stuff but I was surprised that there wasn't as much stock as I expected for a major regional operation.  There were heaps of people coming and going and so perhaps the turnover was really high.  The furniture items were pretty good but there weren't a lot of the smaller miscellaneous items, the crockery, glassware, books, etc.  Really, people, when the jigsaw puzzle spills out of the box it's a fair thing to sweep it up and get rid of it. Chances are that there are only 999 of the 1000 pieces which may ever find their way back into the box, especially after the first week or so. When several jigsaw puzzles have intermingled, it's OK to clean it up.

The furniture was marginally cheaper than Balcatta, but there wasn't as much of a range.  We'll certainly keep it on the list for next time.

We went to Cockburn on the way home, it's a fairly new looking arrangement and really hard to find, due to a complete lack of signage.

We finally gave up and followed a dump truck.

It was way more expensive than the others and the smallest in terms of stock.  Most of the prices were a tad on the high side even for a locality near the trendy opshops of Fremantle, but perhaps the locals are used to that.  The guys working there were friendly and helpful and they were the only ones who helped we dainty girls with bulky and heavy furniture. It's really, really organised and tidy, if you like that sort of thing.  Certainly worth a look if you're passing.

and things I COULDN'T leave behind....

1 comment:

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