Sunday, May 12, 2019

An adventure in shopping

I've meant to share some pics from American Science & Surplus with you guys for some time! I know that pretty much anyone who is reading my blog would enjoy this store. I believe the stores are only in the Milwaukee area and Illinois, but they do have a web site you could shop on:

I never did see those Bigfoot socks. So how can I describe this store? There are so many random things in there. I think a science teacher could have a good time picking out class supplies. There are a lot of random pieces of technology, old machine parts, and wacky gift ideas.

This photo will give you an idea of how the store is laid out, at least in part.

And there's that skeleton a little closer. You can see him waaaaay at the end of the aisle in the last pic.

This looks like the giant version of one of those tiny wood dinosaurs you piece together.

You might want to enlarge this photo to read all of what's on the wall.

"You ain't gonna learn what you don't want ta know" True.

There's a lot going on here!

I'm just noticing a few things about this photo. "Illegal to worry a squirrel" ?

Looking up, you can see a few unusual things. I'm thinking that is the handle off a vacuum cleaner. If it's not, I don't even know.

An oooooold scale:

Don't you wonder where they found this?

The best part of going to this store, at least for me, is reading what's written under all the random parts and products. Every single thing in here has something written under it.

Which goes with this product:

Have you guys ever seen something like this? I mean, besides pretending your hairbrush was a microphone. You see the little mic/speaker holes in the top?

"It's only morbid if you want it to be"

This product is one of my favorites. It's worth reading the packaging, which looks just like an old pulp novel to me. "Hopped-up punks" :)

"Oh, by gosh, by DalĂ­" Try and read that without singing the tune in your head. :)

This is actually pretty cool, although I wonder how well I could tell time on it.

I'm sure many of you will appreciate this sign!

That glass warning is a nice transition to what we actually found there. No, we didn't end up with any of the products you've seen thus far. :) This was the massive haul:

Those empty nail polish bottles were only 39¢ each. They are already holding some essential oil mixtures from the Dollar Tree, because I wanted to brush those oils on my cuticles. I'd been meaning to share these Dollar Tree essential oils because they're a great deal and have a good scent! I mean if you're into these scents. They're the real deal.

That long one in front is in a pump form, the others are roll-on. The Tea Tree and Lavender made it into the nail polish bottles.

In other shopping news, I got a cool little Halloween item from an estate sale yesterday! It's this flickering flame fake candle:

It was 75¢, which I think was a pretty good deal. I might do a repaint on that base so it looks more like metal than plastic. The flame does indeed flicker and to my surprise, it's a bright orange.

This picture looks a little more red than reality, maybe because of where I had it in the closet? Anyway, the pic turned out cool so I'm including it. You can see how much of a glow is coming off the "flame" anyway.

This candle came from a very unusual estate sale. I've been to many, but this was the first sale where I'd say 99% of everything was new with tags. And there was a lot! I was told that there were 7,000 pieces of ladies clothing and hundreds of new shoes. The clothes were for the most part not my size and the shoes were not at all my size. But for those women who fit those clothes and shoes, it was a very lucky day! And the prices... wow. I'm going to say everything was in the 90 to 95% off range. And these were designer brands! This was also the first sale I'd been to where there was a sign in sheet, because it was so popular that they were only letting a certain number of people in at a time.

I could write an entire blog post about the feelings I had and the comments I heard during this sale. Everyone had the need to say something, because it was just so overwhelming being in this house. Some comments I heard were "She must have been a millionaire!" "She must have been a hoarder." "Where did all this stuff come from?" "I hope you guys will be giving what is left to charity, because these are nice things and people need clothes." "I feel uncomfortable in here with this much stuff." "I haven't had near this much clothing ever, and I've never been around so much in my life." and from a woman who became a shopping buddy to me since we were in there together so long: "Look at all this! And it's all in my daughter's size!" :) You get the idea.

As for myself, I had trouble getting started. I think I stared at a closet several layers deep in scarves for five minutes before a person came in and woke me out of it. And after what turned out to be an hour and a half after I entered the house I said to someone that I thought I'd experienced lost time. And this was not a large house. What made this experience even more thought provoking for me was that I'd finished doing The KonMari Method after reading the books last summer. (That experience could make for an entire blog post as well, although it has nothing to do with the theme of this blog.) Having done that exercise in letting go, I didn't feel all that tempted to go for a lot of what I saw. And that's not because there wasn't a lot of awesome stuff there at rock bottom prices. I just have an idea of what I have and what I need now.

I say all this because it was a reminder to me, and I'm writing to remind all of you: if you have some nice things, use them! Don't leave them with their tags attached in a drawer for a decade or two. These clothes, shoes, etc. had clearly never been used or probably ever tried on. Don't just save things for a day that never comes. The lady who bought all this stuff couldn't take it with her, as the cliché goes. I like to think that she would be happy to see others enjoy buying what she'd bought on discount (judging by the stickers) at an even further discount. From one bargain shark to another! :) I already have plans for that candle that had never been taken out of its box and plan on transferring the contents of my current purse into the one I got at the estate sale. So these items will soon have their time to shine!


  1. Wow, that American Science & Surplus place looks crazy! It's been a bit over 20 years but I swear the place where I got the first eyes for my Creep costume was by mail order to that place...or someplace with a very similar name.

    1. Dex ~ Yeah! It's crazy and a lot of fun. I know you'd love looking around in there. I thought of you when I saw that Dalek. :) I was sure to include that pic because I knew you'd appreciate it.

      Really? Those eyes are exactly the type of product they would carry. I hadn't thought of the eyes as separate from the rest of the face. I mean, I'm surprised that you added them in yourself. So they were little red led lights on wires that you hooked up somehow?

  2. That's a little sad. Hoarding and consumption are a disease in our society. I am glad you just said no to most of it.

    1. Lady M ~ Yeah, I think a lot of people have consumed to the point of hoarding before they even realize it. And then there's just the disease level of it. This house was very clean and pretty darn organized, so it wasn't creepy. It was just noticeable to see 20 or so unopened sheet/comforter sets for King beds when there was no King sized bed. You get the idea. So we were all left wondering what was up there. I hope she at least had fun buying these things.

      I did get a kick out of hearing the word "hoarder" out of a number of people shopping there, because I saw them carrying out a bunch of her things. So there was a little irony going on there!

      Going to estate sales is a definite reminder about accumulation. Learning the KonMari Method last year totally rewired my brain and in a good way. I feel confident that I love and will use those few things I did buy.

  3. Weird and inyeresting stuff for sure!

    1. DJ Trish ~ For sure! I think there's a little something for everyone at the Science & Surplus store. And even if there's not, it's a lot of fun reading the signs under the products! :)

    2. The original eyes were just two separate red blinking LEDs on small circuit boards big enough for them and a watch battery. They were about the size of a small buttons. I painted them black and just pinned them to the front of the mask. Never liked the way it looked but it worked.

      Years ago I found the current rig which is two LEDs connected to a battery box and circuit board. It has a 'program' button so you can select different light patterns. I think it was meant to be something you'd stick in a bush to simulate evil eyes staring out.

    3. Dex ~ Cool! So now your eyes can blink at people? Have you set them to any sort of pattern? I'm trying to decide if that would be more scary than the still eyes. Flashing red eyes would certainly get some attention!

      I appreciate the work you put into The Creep. It sounds like the design took some thought.

    4. The lights have different modes you can use. I always thought it would be cool if I could control them blinking somehow.

      The mode I usually use has them flash very rapidly. There is another that does the same but has them fade out and then back up to full brightness. There's one that keeps them lit normal (no flashing) and randomly "blinks" them. And another mode I sometimes use keeps them lit normally but slowly fades them down and back up, I think of it like breathing. :D

    5. Dex ~ Oh yeah, that would be cool if you could say, make the eyes blink as someone approached. The "breathing" eyes sound pretty cool! I can see why you'd choose that mode.

  4. I grew up going to that store. I loved that place!

    1. Gone Feral ~ Really? That's cool! Which state were you shopping in?