Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Halloween, break out your pumpkins and Jackie Gleason decorations!

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think Halloween? Probably Jackie Gleason, the famous 1950's television icon right? Uhmmm, actually no... you probably don't associate Jackie Gleason with Halloween. But as you can see in this picture, some Goodwill Store employees apparently do! Let me explain my Halloween season lament.

Recently I was dutifully combing through a local Goodwill Store finding zero...zilch...nada. Throwing in the white towel, I started making my way to the vestibule doors to exit the store. As I was leaving I took note of a large elaborate display of Halloween decorations in the lobby vestibule. It was filled with mannequins dressed in costumes, fake cobwebs, pumpkins, all the usual spooky stuff. (Fun fact: Goodwill has become one of the largest Halloween merchandise retailers in the country.)

As I began to pass the spooky hodgepodge of a display, my eye caught two Esco statues. They looked out of place among all the Halloween stuff. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked closer! It was Jackie Gleason and Art Carney! What the heck were they doing standing in the middle of a Halloween display? Looking them over carefully, the Art Carney statue was in poor shape, lots of chips and value to me. But the "Great One" Jacki Gleason was in very nice shape with barely a scratch on him. As mentioned in an earlier post, Esco statues are a hugely popular with collectors. I quickly whipped out my Blackberry and looked up Jackie Gleason Esco statues on eBay. I instantly found that similar Jackies' were currently selling for $85 bucks or more!

I now wanted this Jackie but there was only one problem-a sign hanging under the display warned, " Halloween display items are not for sale." But I never let a little paper sign prevent me from making a buck. I reached into the display and grabbed Jackie anyway. My plan was to play stupid and pretend I never saw the sign. Walking up to the register with my best poker face, I mumbled to the sales clerk, " Hi, I am buying this but I can't find the price tag." My little act didn't fly and the clerk reacted like I had just violated one of Goodwill's ten commandments; " Though shall not disturb the store window display." She grabbed Jackie from my hand, " Oh no, no, no, this is part of the Halloween display, it's not for sale!" Realizing my ruse had fallen flat, I attempted to switch to reason, " Well, you know, it's not very Halloweeny. Plus it's probably going to fall from that little shelf and break, then Goodwill won't make any money from him. So how about I just buy him now before he gets broken? " The clerk stood her ground. (For a moment, think about the nicest sales clerk you ever met. Got one in mind? Ok, Goodwill employees are the complete opposite of that!) The sales clerk looked at me crossly and with a snooty tone shot back, "No sir, we can't sell any of our displays, come back the day before Halloween, it will be for sale then."

I walked away frustrated and dejected. I guarantee that poor Jackie will never make it to Halloween. Esco statues are very top heavy and made of fragile chalk ware. You can bet some little brat, uh...I mean adorable child, will reach over and knock him from his perch. He'll end up shattered in a hundred little pieces! So I left empty handed and the $85 dollar Jackie Gleason statue was back on his little shelf awaiting his doom.

But then again, who am I to thwart the latest Halloween trend? Soon everyone will put Jackie Gleason on their front porch instead of pumpkins!
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  1. Aw the frustration! I know it well. Last week we pulled up to a sale where they were still moving boxes into the driveway. I spot a box of old books, and I'm thinking great nobody else has been through them yet. I check out the box and indeed this is the case. Even better there are lots of "good" books in the box, as well as some junkers. I ask the seller how much the books cost. She replies "A dollar each" I'm very happy now, and proceed to sort out the books that are worth while. This takes me a few minutes. At this point I am ready to pay and be on my way. As she starts to count the books there is a long pause; I'm thinking she will up the price, which is OK. I can negotiate. Instead, I get "I decided I don't want to sell these today" I almost dropped the box on the driveway. Instead I turned and walked away, but boy was I irritated.

    Sorry about the ramble but I had to vent.

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  3. Vent on...I feel your pain! I've had a similar seller remorse incident. This past Spring, I spot a box chock full of little finger skateboards-very popular toys to sell on eBay. The Mom/seller quotes me a price of three bucks for the whole box of them. But then she starts with, "oh, except for this one, this one, this one."...she pulled all the good ones out of the box! I told her forget it and walked away!

  4. Sucks about the statue! My local Goodwill is pretty good employee wise, other than the absolute insane prices they have started putting on furniture and electronics (I am talking $100 for a beat up dresser sometimes).

  5. Exactly, there's no explaining Goodwill's inconsistent pricing. They get lots of Target Store "seconds" too. But they often price it at just below what you would pay at Target! What's the point of that?

  6. "How sweet it is!" Jackie would have said. Funny story, hope you get to take little Jackie home.

  7. Nick - Yeah, I plan to go back and check, not too hopeful though....