Many more words than the event deserves about my trip to the Syracuse University Garage Sale
I enjoy the show Warehouse 13. Usually I l like my sci-fi a little more thought-provoking, but it's easy to grow weary of allegories about terrorism, religion, and civil liberty like Battlestar Galactica and the whole "historically significant young man comes of age and throws off the expectations of his father" that makes up pretty much all of the JJ Abrams canon. Warehouse 13 has interesting, well-written characters, who have believable pasts and complex relationships with each other. It's an optimistic show in the midst of a sea of canned angst, and part of its optimism comes from its faith that humans can triumph over ignorance and learn to control or contain the destructive forces around us. For those unfamiliar with the premise, when the Secret Service isn't doing boring things like protecting the President or catching counterfeiters, they also are stewards of a large warehouse in South Dakota filled with "artifacts" It seems that significant historical or mythological figures will sometimes imbue objects that they own with a psychic residue that persists even after their death, giving whoever uses it an ability somehow related to the original owner. Naturally, as some of these effects can be harmful--even deadly--the US Government is committed to tracking them down and locking them up. The show follows a team of agents charged with this task and each week involves dealing with a new artifact that has turned up with the occasional longer multi-story arc about other forces seeking to use the artifacts for their own malfeasance.
The depiction of the warehouse is a bit like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark with crowded shelves stretching into infinity, causing the viewer to wonder about what might be hidden there and what it might be like to get their hands on one item or another. It was with this expectation (perhaps spurred on by the article previously appearing on this site) that I attended the SU Garage Sale at Manley Field House last night. While the sale didn't open to the general public until this morning, Season Ticket holders and Orange Club donors were given an opportunity to take a first crack at the items last night. Since I'm all about taking advantage of perks that are offered, I swung by to see if I couldn't get hold of some spontaneously-combusting snowballs that I could throw at someone's car and retire on the proceeds. Alas, my expectations were for naught, as instead of a dimly-lit space packed to the ceiling with mysterious crates marked "Do Not Open Until Jim Boeheim Retires" The field in Manley was arranged with a number of tables and boxes piled high with various-sized athletic gear, boxes of shoes, and racks of jerseys from all of the major SU sports teams.
It looks as though the lease on one of the Athletic Department U-Store units must have been up as they pretty much carted all of their excess stuff out here and priced it to move. Much of the clothing had the Big East logo on it, so I could see doing some spring cleaning to make way for the new ACC swag, but there were tons of generic Nike items that had little more than a block-S on them, so it seems they just got sick of the crap cluttering up someone's space and decided to make a buck off of it rather than doing something altruistic like donating to a local charity. Nothing in the entire building was priced over $40 and there were any number of items still in their original wrapping. In addition to the clothing and shoes of all varieties, they were also unloading apparently unused lacrosse pads and sticks (minus heads). It was amusing to see where the names had hurriedly been removed from the back of the various jerseys, but other than that, everything looked to be in like-new condition. If it is made out of a fabric designed to wick moisture away, it was here in one form or another. The event was pretty well attended, considering it was open to a relatively small group and the line to check out stretched all the way around the perimeter of the field.
My particular favorite find was a series of polo shirts emblazoned with the NIT emblem:
I like to imagine that these were among a set offered to the coaching staff in 2007 and was thrown forcibly at some flunky from the NCAA, followed by a stream of profanity that would have stripped the paint off of a Navy cruiser.
While I didn't go with the intent necessarily to buy anything--my closet already containing a disproportionate amount of orange clothing--I did come away with one of Jovan Miller's old LAX jerseys (it was actually probably Alex Hatem's from last year but I'll delude myself in this case), a rather nice winter jacket that would have run me > $150 at Nike.com, but only $20 at Manley, and what I thought was just a generic running shirt but turned out to be a lacrosse warmup from last year with the #HHH tagline on the back. All for $85. There were people checking out with large boxes full of items and I saw some receipts for over $400, so although the population of CNY generally doesn't seem to exert itself enough to need lots of Dri-Fit clothing, we do to love our deals.
Unfortunately Sci-Fi is resigning Warehouse 13 to the dumpster after this season, probably to make room for more shows about Ghost Hunters and other such stuff. And so I'll continue to have to wait for the "super VIP" garage sale where all the SU artifacts make their appearance. In the mean time, the mundane one is certainly worth a stop by if you're in the area and looking to pick up some new workout gear or replace a cheap jersey with a quality one. The sale was "while supplies last" and things were moving out the door pretty briskly last night, so not sure how much picked-over stuff will be left for the general public today.