Results tagged “Builders Square”

Small Bag O Junk - Junky

100_4661.JPGJust like a 30 cent "Data Center Deluxe" , this is the first of my smaller junk that I put randomly in a bag for, well I don't know why. But, it makes for a good post about small crap in my junk box. Come along with me on this post to the junk blog wary junk blog readers. Ahhh, but I know what is peeking all your interests. First up....

100_4662.JPGPOT WALLET! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Meh. You see I was a member of this very union. Had to leave because they caught me making a pair of jeans out of the crop. This was a flea market find, or could you tell? I like these kind of wallets as mentioned before on this blog, but this one I couldn't bear to carry. Nowadays, maybe if I lived in WA or Vegas... But here in Ohio... Yes Officer, here's my license... no I haven't been using, honest...okay I'll turn down the Grateful Dead and wait while you use SCMOTTS (or whatever the hell they called it in the Blues Brothers.)

100_4663.JPGI have a sealed deck of the kind of cards they would give you if you ask for it when you flew in the 80's. You know, when they didn't charge you for everything including the pay toilet. I'll get to those in another blog entry. Now, I gotta focus on the "TV Magic Cards". They sold the crap out of these on television as UHF started to take off and become rerun heaven. Funny how they don't advertise these on the new digital rerun happy sub channels. Everything old is new again.

100_4680.JPGI guess "Marshall Brodien" was some sort of famous magician. Hmmm. I don't remember him being able to make the Washington Monument disappear. Maybe he had something to do with making Al Capone's vault contents disappear in front of a hope filled Jeraldo. I think he showed Rocky how to pull a rabbit out of a hat but it was a lion. Personally I thought that was a better trick than the rabbit. That wacky Bullwinkle. No, I don't know if he was really popular although he seemed very smart dressed in that cape. He sold these cheap decks by the millions and I thought I could be a skilled magician if I got a set. Yes, I wanted to be a magician for a minute, but only if I could suddenly be rich and famous and make money appear.

100_4664.JPGAhhh, but to be a good magician, you had to be a good bullsh*tter. I wasn't. Was your card the 9 of spades? Funny, there's seems to be a mix up with the deck. Maybe they sent me a bad one. Of course, if you like the Howard Stern show... My professional life is at a NOIN! (Skitch, Baba Booey and Sour Shoes, Thanks.)

100_4665.JPGWashington DC. One of the best trips I ever took. When I was a shaver, I survived a car accident and when healed, my mom took a piece of the settlement  money and took us to Washington DC. We got to see where Lincoln was shot, had a delicious Caesar salad made fresh right in front of us, drove around in a smelly tour bus for two stops until my mom hired a private driver to take us around and see the real sights. We had lunch in the belly of congress and rode the underground tram. My brother met John Glenn. We stayed in two separate hotels that had the fire alarm pulled. The limo had backwards facing jump seats. I remember the carpets in congress on the steps were great for giving static shocks to whomever touched me if I was touching the railings. This was the beautiful photo book we got as a memory of our trip. That is the memory dump. It's why I remember the trip, my first and the best. Oh yes, and the Cleveland airport was under construction back then and never seems to be NOT under construction. Do not spill your little pearl like candies on the tile airport floor, mom won't let you pick them up and eat them.

100_4668.JPG"Hey Group! Cool It Ova Dey"

100_4667.JPGHe's the one, the only, Ernie Anderson. For three years in Cleveland, he was TV's Ghoulardi. When televisions were becoming more of a regular entertainment value, the time was right for a late night movie host to capture all of Cleveland. There was an 80% drop in crime when he was on. I never saw him, but I knew of him because he started a late night Friday tradition that became the longest running local show in the history of TV. He was but the beginning, and Big Chuck and Little John ended it. He became more "famous" as the guy with the biggest line in the history of television.. "Tonight, on a very special LOOOOOVEEEE BOAT"" This was the gathering around a Cleveland tradition. A con that lasted a few years. They showed a simulated "Ghoulardi" show with "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" with cut ins of the only footage saved of Ghoulardi caught on film. It was too damn expensive back then to film/tape every show. When I was working in Louisville, they brought in a new boss. I heard he was from Cleveland. To break the ice, I asked him if he knew what "Hey Group, Cool It Ova Dey" meant. That began a great friendship. 

100_4669.JPGBuilders Square Sku Pads. When we sold the customer a bit of lumber or a flat of flowers, if the customer wanted to keep shopping, we would write down the "Stock Keeping Unit" on a SKU pad and give it to the customer. We had tons of these things laying around. I used the backs of them to write write write and keep myself from going insane from boredom while working in that tiny garden center register building. At least they didn't make me stock the plants or fertilizer. Next to it was the literature they gave us when we began offering "GE" extended warranty at Northeast Appliance. Actually, it was the best program we had. It didn't pay much, but the plans were complete and reasonably priced. They didn't have a 10 year tube warranty parts only for $9.99 or other "shifty" offers. Ahhh, but I didn't like selling the crap anyway. One funny thing I found written in this book. My manager would always ask me if I also got this with every sale I made.....

100_4670.JPG"Did You get the BEEF on that washer/dryer set?" "Did you know I flew copters in NAM?" "I see you're eating some chippie dippies"  

100_4671.JPGHere was something a bored kid in junior high school did to try and pass the time. With scrap paper he cut and stapled himself a stupid little note keeper. I did a lot of these and put "many" features into these. Mostly they were meant to mimic spy stuff. I had communicators and flash lights and chemical sets and self destruct computers and transformation spells. It all cost thirty cents. Who's buying?

100_4675.JPGFinally, a blast from the past. There used to be a video playing device called a "Laserdisc" player. These were huge mirrored record sized discs that played on newly designed "Laser" players. They didn't wear out, but they could only hold 45 minutes a side so you had to "flip" your movie half way through. They had great analog video and amazing "digital" like sound. Yes, these were around a year or two when someone said "Hey, we'll miniaturize these and put 66 minutes of digital audio on it, and it will never wear out." They called it a "compact disc". The rest is blooper giggling history.   I was a big "They Might Be Giants" fan before their "Flood" album brought them to a more mainstream audience. My friend Bill was a HUGE fan and the guy that got me into Laserdiscs. He had one of the first VCRS and has the FIRST commercially available Sony CD players. So, for him , for Christmas, I ordered a mini LD of "They Might Be Giants" from the biggest Laserdisc reseller in the country, Ken Cranes. It was so big for a few years, it was their name. I guess Ken Crane sold electronics but they cornered the market on Laserdisc software. Of course, I could have purchased "Termiantor 2" on LD, but it was probably a porn parody of Terminator 2. Ahhhhh, the days of analog, catalog based  ordering just seems so quaint. Junk Blog. -Ric

Screw It

100_3640.JPGHere is the bottom of the basement junk well. You're asking, come on! This isn't junk! This is full of all sorts of useful random hardware! It is filled with left over wood dowels used to put together years of pressed board furniture. It's screws and bolts that don't fit together. It's odd sized washers and old nails and even drill bits even though I don't own a drill. Therefore, it could be described as a piece of junk. It's not. However, for the blog, it's a good place to talk about something I've had forever and will likely continue to have forever.

100_3642.JPGHere's a reason. It's my classic retail senses tingling. As I grew up, we had one place where we could get hardware and appliances. Forest City. An evil chain seller. Sure there were independents, every city had one. We had independent appliance and electronics stores. Every city had one. However, all I remember was going to Forest City when we needed above. Of course, the big box revolution came along and we soon had three big box chains selling same and lots of electronics and appliance chains as well. Forest City got bought by a bigger chain, Handy Andy. I worked for them for a bit and I worked for the eventual killer Builders Square.  I bought this before they changed to Handy Andy mainly to house the bags of hardware culled from my grandfather's garage when he passed.

100_3643.JPGIt's typical. Believe me, I've worked for chains about to be bought out or in bankruptcy, and if you wanted to sticker something twice, by gosh, you stickered twice! Woooooo! Wow! Civil disobedience! Attica! Attica! Whistle blower!

100_3644.JPGIt's meant to be hung on the wall. I think my brother took his hardware and did same. Actually, the back of this kinda looks like an apartment block somewhere in the Soviet Union. Where am I going with this? If I had any 70's era Fisher Price little people, maybe I could play apartment with them. Some of this is useful right? Didn't I say that already? Let's have a look at some of the hard wares... If anything, some of it could be over 60 years it's antique junk...waiting to be used....

100_3647.JPGDowels. Actually, these aren't the surplus mentioned. These were purchased for something and you couldn't buy just one. Gee, wasn't that what a local hardware store would be for? One wooden dowel, .6 cents. In a tiny bag. These may come in use again when I strip a big screw in some of my cheap press board furniture and need to make a new screw hole. Um...junk.

100_3646.JPGActually, for years and years, this has been the place to look for a screw or a nut that "may" work or "may" fit. It's also a place for anything I may have taken apart or screws from a tape recorder I've tried to fix. It's a junkyard for hardware that may get reused if it will fit. Too bad none of the screws are those "micro" screws for the electronics or cameras. I know a few of these screws came from my furniture. The little black wheelie looking thing was likely from a plastic choo-choo from way back when in my plastic choo-choo appreciating days.

100_3648.JPGSo, even though I took a few more pictures of this storage device, and I could wax poetic on all of this junk that may be used tomorrow or in 5 years, I think I'll end on this one. I remember giving half of this hardware to my brother which meant, yes, I had to make an exact split of stuff. Which meant the copper nails, the screws, everything. My grandfather was a bit of a handyman and could fix anything around his house or his car. My brother can pretty much do same. Me? I need a nail to piece together a split stereo cabinet. I need a bolt to fix my Monza door when the latch fell inside the body. I needed the plastic choo-choo wheel for when my plastic choo-choo went off the track, to which the engineer, naturally, started pulling back. Get DOWN to your ROCKIN' SOUL.

Junk blog.


Button Panel #2

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100_3489.JPGYes kids, that is Oprah right smack dab in the center of this, just underneath the pic of Morton Downey Jr. after he said he's been "attacked" Nazis and they painted a swastika backwards on his head. These two buttons have no relation to one another, other than they were created at the radio station when we had access to a button maker and a lot of magazines. I don't even remember what kind of buttons the radio station was making to give away. 

As for Oprah, this was the late 80's. Daytime TV talk shows were taking over the TV. I don't think she was that popular, yet, but she had the reputation for the weight so I couldn't fit her head on a button. See? 80's humor. As for Morton Downey JR., I was a fan of his for a hot minute while he had that talk show with the big spittoon filled with cigarette butts. I even bought his book "Mort Mort Mort" for no apparent reason. After he was off he tried what is thought to be a publicity stunt that even got mentioned in a song by The Impotent Sea Snakes (or GWAR or Insane Clown Posse...I don't know, it's all blending together.) So, now that we got those two pieces of KAHMEDY out of the way, lets get to the rest...

100_3491.JPGCavs! Yay! Of course, when I got this button, likely from the AM station I worked for, we were not the greatest team in the world. In fact, have we ever been? No sausage. Trivisonno.  The big BOSE button I got from working at Nofeast Appliance. It was always an option to even wear name tags, so hell no, we wouldn't wear big advertising crap buttons. We would take them home, not wear them.  Next to it is a novelty button. I used to buy buttons every year for the people I worked with. Back when they had a "Just Buttons" store with thousands of wacky buttons to choose from. Future dead store at a dead mall that would be a future lifestyle center. 80's fun.  Then, jr. high school fun. No button maker here kids. I covered this in a previous post, but here was another handmade button I made when I was a team member of a jr. high school "academic challenge" sort of contest. We did totally suck as I didn't know nuffin. "What is the state of Arkansas called?" "Philadelphia?" Public schools. We just want you out of here. Then, if you wanted to get beat the hell up, you would be DUMBASS enough to wear the freshman button in your high school. Could be worse. Could wear your McDonalds work uniform on Halloween and say that you work at Burger King. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

100_3490.JPGSpeaking of McDonalds, we were part of the great BURGER BALLOT of 1988. See, that was an election year, and those whiz ad peeps over at my on-again, off-again part time gig decided that it was the Big Mac Or The Quarter Pounder that needed the decision.  La la la. I preferred the fish. Then, another radio station button making party button. It was part of the lore that our friend Trevor would portray on the air "The Lightning God" Der Blitzengott. He was the supreme leader over all living things and since he created currency, he had it to burn. Then comes a button I would wear on work aprons. This is Builders Square. YES. I might have been asked once at my tenure there, "I'd like to have this water heater installed by you guys..." SERVICE DESK!

100_3492.JPGGarfinkle The Cat! Yep. In the 80's, a big splash was made whenever a popular weekday comics character would be added to a newspaper's lineup. We were still a "two newspaper" town. We had The Cleveland Press and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. My step father preferred the Press so that's what we got, and when they added a rising star "Garfield The Cat", it was a major news to a drip like me that was getting a taste of early MTV and seeing boobs on the scrambled "Prevue" channel.  I had posters, sheets, pencil toppers, and books. Garfinkle books.  I thought I could save my allowance by taking every Garfield strip out of the newspaper and making my own book with them. I guess after two years, I did something else with my time and money, I MOVED ON. Whatever became of Lymon? I think Nermal was still around...

Then a little later for another hot minute I was a big fan of Ren and Stimpy. Again, I was cable free so I had to rely on my friend Bill to once again be my Ren and Stimpy dealer. "Psssst, hey fat TV salesman, want to see something funny?" I watched the first two seasons over and over but when they fired John K. (the creator of the show) , it went to all fart jokes and ceased being adult and funny.  Come on! Frank Zappa as the POPE? Powdered Toast Man gets a chill and burns the Constitution to warm his ass?   That was comedy :)  Plus, there's my badge when I played the part of a cross walk guard when I was really young. I was pretty good at it too and I shouted "Walk It!" a lot. Only three injuries during my tenure...BOP! Now THAT'S COMEDY!

100_3494.JPGFinally, what every blog owner asks his/herself.  There was the Cosi Toldeo button that I missed as well. I got it when they opened and then dropped a $300 minidisc 50 feet to the floor while doing a bit for WIOT. You see, I was up on the balanced bike on a high wire and well... Plus, it isn't easy being weird. Once again, ask yourself.........


Name Tag Time

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100_3448.JPGYep. We all had em, some still do, and my sweep and mop of the lobby goes out to you denizens of the hourly wage and the name tag. I'm nothing special. I was in radio, doing what I wanted for my career, but still wore several name tags. Believe me, since I'm not in my career choice but something where I make a living, I'm only steps away from a name tag gig. Question is, why do I have so many in my collection? Aside from the few I had where my name was actually imprinted in it, most were just cheaply done with one of those old style Dymo labels. Of course, the names have been removed to protect the 3.35 an hour.  Mud and Fudd were the names of choice.

100_3453.JPGWe'll start with a home made one from Jr. High school. We had an "Academic Challenge" style gave in house.  We were put in teams and we could walk around and bad mouth other members of other teams. In the morning, they would have two teams fight it out during the announcements and the winner went on and the losers were out. We were asked grade appropriate questions. History, Geography, Math, I had a smart guy on my team, the rest of us were typical products of our school system.  We were the "R-Team" and I was Muscleman T (Torture) because I couldn't be Mr. T. If you saw the weakling that I was, you'd agree with not calling me Mr. T.  I would have been called "Muscle Milk T" or "Mouseman T" or "Muselix T" or even "MST3K" (Kick starter, bring it back, just look for it on the weeb). We lost after the second round and I didn't answer any questions at all. "What two countries are attached to the United States?" "Um, Cuba and Texas?"

100_3459.JPGHere's a brand you may remember. Or not. It was a pimple on the 70's mall ass. When I first moved to MALL CITY U.S.A. I remember this store being in my mall. They always had a massive projection TV just outside the store playing the video of the day. Big screens started as "Projection" TVs. There was a huge concave white screen and then a huge box with red, green and blue lenses that made barely a picture. Of course, they were better in a dark room. Plus, they were hugely expensive, got dirty really fast and were always needing to be focused. Sure they came out with all in one cabinets by the time I was shlepping screens. My friend and band mate actually worked at the store for a bit in his earlier days. I didn't know it was a Radio Shack company until he told me. The chain folded and a few years later Shack would try again with "Incredible Universe", which also failed. Can you believe that a 2 hour VHS videotape used to cost $10? (This was before EP speed!)

100_3445.JPGHere's one of the electronic stores that I was longest tenured at. This was Northeast. When someone asked us what A.S.A.P. meant, (I think I was asked three times in almost two years) we just made up an answer. Why? We were never told what it meant. Er, check that. I believe it stood for "Appliance Store Assurance Plan". Yep. Northeast's parent company the Appliance Store was too damn cheap to get Northeast Appliance badges made up for us. We just said it was for "As Soon As Possible" appliance delivery. Of course, "All Sh*tty A** Products" was a favorite. "No Highs, No Lows, Must Be Bose" was another favorite. When a salesman got in trouble after he said that to a Bose secret shopper, we all heard about it from our managers. I dunno, I think they sound great. I bought a system...but it was mostly free from the Bose points I earned from selling them pieces of wood.  I wouldn't actually buy them. Now that I've had them for 20 years, maybe I would.  Turn the name tag over to see how we really felt. :)

100_3444.JPGI was always known as a little odd. I always said that if I was at a party wearing a toga, I'd dump a big jug of mustard all over myself for no reason (just like Brother Bluto from Animal House.)  It was a small hell we lived in for the time I worked there, but we were a band of brothers. Our store was so empty, the assistant manager and I worked out a game where we would toss a roll of packing tape up at all our portable stereos and other crap behind the counter and score by the number of things we knocked off.  I still have the chair I sat on all those hours. When they closed our store, they tossed the chairs, and well, my junk.

100_3452.JPGHere's a tag from Bess Buy. I had two tenures working for this company. Likely this was from my first. All of the stores I had worked for had gone under because of this behemoth. So, being the out of work dumbass I was, I went to work for the company that killed the traditional "you make lower" business model that I'd know and hated. I was assigned to the video department as that's what I felt my strongest expertise was. Well, not really, but I did know the ins and outs of a "flying erase head" and "Diamondvision". I could sell on the floor and talk product with my customers and say "this one is better than" without thinking "I'll make x on this one if I sell it as opposed to Y on the one I think I'd like for myself." Actually, that wasn't true. I had been through the wringer and lost on all ends. I never sold a TV based on the fact that it had a $10 spiff.  I sold that 25" Zenith Hotel Style TV for $299  because it was a good deal if you didn't mind not having fancy stuff like on screen junk and inputs. No, Best Buy was worry free selling. I was paid by the hour. I could flip burgers or make another dollar to not have to wear a polyester uniform, paper hat, and smell like dehydrated onions for a day. 

Of course, they just wanted to blow out all the peeps like me that had mad skills at knowing the difference between "Scandium Oxide" tubes and "cable ready" as opposed to "cable compatible".  So a few days after I started working there, they asked me if I'd help with a truck. Then they would ask more and then I'd be handed a dolly when I came in.  No use complaining. Bye Bye Blue Shirt Crew. I had mad skills. You want fries with that? Would you like to get a coffee with that bagel sandwich? That's 10.63 for those three bags of manure. Repeat.

100_3457.JPGWhich leads me to one of the shortest tenures of any of these stores I'd worked for. Technically, this was the competition that put the old style stores out of business, but indeed the were no match for the store in blue. I had been on the "beach" for a bit after Northeast went under. I walked into my Sun store and found several retail "vets" (debris) working gigs at Sun TV. Now, this was a company that sold the cheapest of the cheap and advertised it that way. They were big in the new personal computers trend and pretty much ate the markets lunch for the appetite of new style IBM clone computers Windows 3.1. It was now "easy" to operate a computer and at $2500, it was cheaper than ever. *Cough* So, with a good word from one of the retail "vets" to the manager of the joint, I was in like Flynn but had to start by selling personal electronics. (Demoted!) I could sleep and sell a boombox. Of course I had to sell the computers as well. I steered clear of them. If it didn't have an Atari "Fuji" and a cassette drive to "Cload" "Bruce Lee" for 17 minutes, I didn't know anything about it. Then I discovered that, if I didn't work in appliances,  I wouldn't make more than my minimum anyway. No incentive to learn about computers, but only the most costly paid anything. I was taught about the importance of selling their "extended warranty" and well, that was what did me in. We had cashiers where people could come and get self serve stuff and they had to sell the extended warranty. Pretty sure even the security people had to suggest the warranty.  Another reason why there wasn't much money in personal electronics to be made when the phones could be picked up like a Wal-Mart and walked to the check out.

I actually made a BIG sale in my time there. ONE big sale. A $300 boombox that was nothing like the ones I sold a ton of a few years earlier. No, this was a deluxe, everything but a turntable boom box. So, here's how it went.

1. Sell the damn thing.

2. Carry it to the "sales desk" (sort of like buying a car.)

3. Get the info from the chump (er...customer), and then begin trying to sell them the extended warranty. Refusal #1.

4. Try to tell them all the things the extended warranty would cover and the advantages. Refusal #2.

5. "Fake" that something was wrong with the computer or the printer, grab another sales person, have them say they were an assistant manager and give the selling of the extended warranty another try, (Really, we had to do this! Of course, if that guy was successful, you split the sale.) Refusal #3.

6. Finish typing up the ticket, and then go to the cashier.

7. Wait in line for a checkout! (Yes, they made us do this as well. If it was busy, we had to wait. Everything went through a cashier when it came to payment.)

8. The cashier would ask again if the customer wanted to add the extended warranty!  Refusal #4.

9. Customer cashes out and then you would walk them to the central desk, where bigger items needed to be checked off and I'd have to hand them a copy to be signed off on.

10. Finally the customer had to be checked that they actually paid for it by the security guy at the door.

SERIOUSLY!  It honestly took ONE HOUR to sell a boombox from my introduction to the customer leaving with their purchase. Needless to say the next day I worked,  I had two friends visit and they were going to have lunch, see a movie, then go to the happy hour at a participating Chi-Chi's restaurant. I said I'd join them for lunch..... After the movie, I went back to get what little I had in my locker and left to stuff my face with nachos and salsa. Mmmmm. Happy hour. One week. Done. Hills is hiring!

100_3455.JPGThis one is quick. When I worked for the temp agency in Louisville, I was issued one of these so I could work at State Farm as a phone and file jockey for flood claims. The phones were hopping and overtime was had by all. Then we started to slow down. When I was one of the last temps there, I was told I could take this tag off as they knew us by then. Wow. Before 9/11.  Good times. My boss found a "pocket rocket" in the trunk of his rental car. Good times. Steemie Steul and the Irregulars. Good times. "Put that Photon laser tag gun away or I'm sending you home!" Good times.

100_3454.JPGLike Sun did to Northeast, Builders Square did to Forest City/Handy Andy. Bigger, cleaner, everything piled high to watch them buy. Plus, they were K-Mart! They had a huge buying power so they could get that $69 storm door or that $20 faucet.  I worked the last few weeks stocking shelves of this new hardware palace and then signed the 2x4 beam that they sawed apart when we opened to the world. A few weeks later, I realized I was just a cashier. Sure I wanted to know about Karlin boxes and the differences between wood and machine and drywall screws. However, as the weather became nicer, more and more I was working as a nursery department cashier and stock lackey. After moving pallet after pallet of fertilizer, I realized that, breathing, something we all as humans need to do, was becoming a chore. Coughing and sneezing and being stuffed up seemed the new normal, until I was a half hour later in fresh air. Hmmmmm. Ya think moving all that stinky chemical crap was having some kind of.... So, I was back on the front lines and "Telechecking" declined checks and the writing was on the wall.

100_3466.JPGHere is one I self created. It's how I would eventually feel over many of the retail jobs I held. There were a few more pins in the collection. The McDonalds one in the beginning frame is going to have it's own junk blog post coming up. I had an extra Best Buy tag from my second time working there in addition to a broken Northeast tag. There was also a bonus pin with "Do The Right Thing" style lettering advertising Pioneer car stereo. It was one of the few "promo" pins we had to wear at Northeast. I'll wrap up with this relic from the past. a Junk Blog BONUS.

100_3463.JPGElectronic Fun With Computers And Games. A Wikilook and another click will get you to PDFs of the issues of this rag. I didn't have a lot of money back when, but I bought the issue of this with E.T. on it announcing that E.T. was "ready for X-Mas" and had E.T. playing HIS game (or something like his game) just 1 inch from the screen with a joystick in his hand. It didn't show that he took it back to Kiddie City and asked for his money back because it was such a crappy game. You can read all about how 1983 video game crash was pretty much blamed on this game. (Pac-Man was the opening salvo of the crap to come. However that title sold in huge numbers because it was the only way to have a crescent wrench that opened and closed on square dots while flickering pieces of digital dung tried to touch you and make you shrivel up like the eye on a Woolensak reel to reel tape recorder.) Whew! Bonus points to those who got that one. Reference Obscura (TM).  The only way I got this key chain is either I sent a letter in about a game or it came free with one of the magazines. I think the latter. I only got a few of the issues. The only ran less than two years. It was a good read at the time, with honest reviews of all the crappy carts I'd be buying for two dollars at Fisher's Big Wheel as all the video game companies crashed.  They tried to change their name and be more computer orientated, but "It's OVER Johnny."


It's why it's called the BUTTON BOX

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100_3138.JPGI guess I'm pretty much half way through the interesting stuff in my Button Box, I thought I would actually show some BUTTONS before I actually go to the final Button Extravaganza junk blog. My BB(TM) has always been a junk pile with special junk, a little too small or nice enough to keep with other like junk. I've waxed poetic about NOFEAST APPIANNCE, and well, this was going out in the trash as I helped close my branch. I had to take them. They are history to retail grunts everywhere.

100_3139.JPGThese were from an advertising campaign that ran for a month or two. The commercial featured a bull in a field and the announcer said  Northeast was the store with the lowest everyday prices. That was NO BULL. Now of course, you could always "dicker on the sticker". When the product was a "Nail" tThe lowest priced whatever in the category where there was no dicker to the sticker), we'd still get folks that  tried. They would say "You Make Lower" or "What My Price" or "Name's Stash, I'll take two." Some smart- as*ed sales guys would take the tag off the product and drop it to the floor and say, "now it's lower".  We had to wear these while the advertising was on the air.  I think we got a gross and were supposed to give them out. I got the rest of them.  Now you see what this blog is all about. Junk.  I'm the Fred Sanford of Angus. I'm the Lamont Sanford of "YOU BIG DUMMY! " I'm the Grady of...aww forget it.

100_3140.JPG"Cheap Thrills at the back of my car" FZ from the album "Reuben and the Jets." (It was FZ's take on 50's greaser music, and even fooled some of the deejays that thought it was a throwback band.) Toke was the joint I closed before I closed Northeast. I don't remember an advertising campaign behind this one. In fact, there was a pretty good pile of them in a nook and/or cranny. I took a lot of them. We really couldn't give them out as they had a long pin that stuck out from the side and did not have a latch. Cheap thrill indeed.

100_3141.JPGHere's a piece of real retail BULL! I was working as a cashier at home improvement store "Handy Andy". (They were the big box home improvement store that was the area leader before the final fight played out to Lowes and Home Depot.) This particular tour as a cashier was I remember, a sad affair. I stood at the counter all day and waited. Unless my manager said to clean the front or help in some department, I stood all day. The count room was a hell. I tried to be perfect. Telecheck machines ringing away. Skus that didn't match. Credit cards declined. I did this kind of "turn off your mind" job several times for several companies before and after I put three electronics chains out of business. All those years wasted just stumbling around. Adam Carolla was pushed. I had an apron and on it, I wore this. I think the "month long sale" was actually any time we were open. Had to keep the button. I think I may have the apron someplace.

100_3144.JPGNothing to see here. I got it from 3WE while I worked there and we made fun of the fact that the competition was running the Cleveland Browns games with no commercials. They went to weather and news reports at half time. Dog Gone was a slogan for the "Modell Sux and "Taglia-BOO"  crowd. (Cleveland Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore for those junk blog readers that may not know. We've been pissed ever since. )


Yet more buttons! There's a couple of repeats here, so we'll delete those and get to the rest. This was "Collection #2". Duplicate buttons. See? Junk. I keep lots of it. I'm drowning in it.

100_3406.JPGSpeedee! I started my working career at a McDonalds near you. Believe it or not, it was more a "clubhouse" than a job. We had a African American store manager who was really funny and gave a damn. He had to deal with the then "upper middle class white bread" suburbanite kiddies that we all were. He tolerated our shenanigans and to this day, one of the managers I remember the most fondly.  I wanted to work at Mickey Macs and become a manager and go to "Hamburger U". I think this button came later in my tour. I must have quit and been re-hired at the same Mickey Macs several times. I still would go to work there. Yeah, now they don't make everything (I mean EVERYTHING, including MEAT) fresh to order. No, it sits in trays. It's "microwaved fresh" to kill off all the "odd bacteria". When I worked there for the microwave stint, the weird "blue liquid" inside the steamers that kept the meat warm was ..well... CENSORED. (Can't tell what it was as it was a secret according to the hazardous materials manual.) I digress. They had a nostalgic run and we had these buttons. Don't mean nothing to us kitchen grubs or drive thru schmucks. (More on Mickey Macs in another post. I have name tags to go through.)

100_3415.JPGHere's a button I'm a little baffled as to where it came from. I assume it was from yet another home improvement center that no longer exists. I think it's from my tour at Builder's Square as a cashier. I do remember that taking a Discover card was different from Visa/MC. It required a longer 300 baud modem powered approval process and a bit of a wait to take it. We had to wear these on our SMOCKS. I actually had a Discover card for a short time. I forget why I cut it the hell up. It may have had something to do with their bitchy collections people. I ran it to it's limit while working in Toledo and didn't have the funds to pay it off. I was a "scumbag", I know.  However Discover had the bulldogs of collections. Worse than the others. Bye bye worthless card.

100_3417.JPGThis is one I remember fondly. Maximum Compact! It's been mentioned before on this Junk Blog that my friend Bill was a genuine store owner. He had the first "CD Exclusive" store in the Cleveland area. His store had two "listening booths" where you could hear before you bought. CD's were pretty new and he was the ultimate knowledge in music. I gotta say some of my favorite bands/artists were introduced to me through Bill's knowledge and he became my "dealer". "Hey, here's a sampler cassette of Frank Zappa. I'll get what you like from it..." "Hey, here's the newest CD release from a band called Negativland. It's called "Escape From Noise". "Hey, they are releasing TRAFFIC on CD!"  "Hey, Todd Rundgren has..."  "It's really XTC, but they play authentic 60's music as The Dukes Of Stratosphere"  "This is Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age album..."  I thought it was so cool that I had a friend that opened a store! I even worked there for a few months until I realized that I had no musical skill and couldn't tell anybody about anything. However, our friendship didn't suffer. It should have, but to Bill's credit, he didn't resent the employee that stiffed him by not showing up on a few shifts. (Friends should never work for friends for a paycheck.)  Great logo eh? Digital bits.

100_3414.JPGYeah, I know. I should have blocked out this button but I couldn't. There was a flea market that I've mentioned on this Junk blog before. I bought this as my first "wacky" button from a vender that sold a whole lot of wacky buttons. This might be considered the first addition to my button box. Wow. This is when I was driving a Monza and working at the above McDonalds and didn't have a pot to piss in. Ahhh, but the message was important enough to me to fork over a 2 dollar bill for such a positive and yet sarcastic message. Doesn't he look a little like Speedee? I wonder if that's why I bought this? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Arf! -Ric

Forest City Auto Parts

It's one of the chains in Cleveland that I used to attend when I had cars that needed all sorts of cheap junk and more expensive parts when they broke down. My lack of car trouble began when I bought a 1994 Saturn SL. I stopped needed alternators, distributors, break pads and rotors and muffler parts. (The 1989 Dodge Omni I had was a stainless steel exhaust so that's the exception. Breaks and power steering pumps were another story.) My fondest memories are of those POS cars I had when I had barely enough to afford a ride from McWages. (Dime's worth of gas, up my ass.) Lookit at worthless junk I've saved from various years of car ownership.


Not all of this debris came from cars I owned. I have a couple of items saved because, well, lets get those out of the way first.

DSCF8529.JPGIn the olden days when American cars were either big guzzlers that fell apart fast or small sh*t boxes that fell apart within six months or a nasty Northeast Ohio winter, manufacturers cut costs in every way. You could get a Pinto or a Vega, radio delete or even a Chevette with no back seat. Of course the Japanese imports were pretty cheap as well, only they tended to run a few years longer. This is the shifter boot from the Honda Civic when it was barely a car. It didn't have carpet, it had a vinyl mat. The shifter was mounted on the floor. It was covered by this. It was my friend's car and the first we pushed it out of the driveway and went joy riding without a license. I don't remember how I got this, likely taken from the car the day it went to the scrap heap. Of course I couldn't drive a stick, but I had to have a memento. I couldn't use it on any of the stick cars I've owned because, well, cheap cars progressed a lot when I got a stick Saturn, so this stayed in my junk box.

DSCF8535.JPGThis is true junk. Really. I was out with friends, but I had my first Hyundai Accent (more on that in a moment.) We were out walking and went to cross the street when I saw this by the side of the road. My guess, it was the center hub cover of a Hyundai Elantra, or Hyundai sCOUPE. They used such covers on more deluxe wheels. This came off of a car either from a pothole or an accident. It was chewed to bits, but it had the Hyundai logo, so I kept it. *shudder* Maybe it was a bad omen...

1979 Chevy Chevette Emergency Brake BOOT

Chevette 2.jpgAin't she a beauty? What a machine. Cost $1000. Immediately started to show why. From small things like the mechanical ventilation controls breaking to the electrical system failing to the main crankshaft pulley falling off. This car was a disaster. It had been in accidents before I got it and it was junk when I traded it for a "step up" car. I got a few things of debris before I traded this car in. One in my junk box is:

DSCF8530.JPGA cheese ball vinyl emergency brake cover. I did get more use out of this on my next car. Hmm, maybe this is an oil cozy? A male splatter guard?

1979 Chevrolet Monza Crap

Monza Ad.jpg

A drunken American autoworker built this! It's a vehicle! It's the good side for this little brown nugget. The stereo was a previously mentioned UNISEF $10 Tokyo Shapiro special. This was what I traded in my Chevette on. Never mind that my brother had owned a 1976 Monza 2X2 that was all Bondo and about as reliable as the Yuengling tap at my local. No, mine was a later model. Mine was different! Mine was 2 years of $200 payments.

Trouble began when the bad side of this car which was not in the ad, was the body damage caused when I was hit and run. Then, every system broke. Alternator, power steering, air conditioning, brakes. Then the rust came. The doors rotted out and would keep shutting once shut. The door latch rusted and fell into the body. I needed to go to Builders Square and buy oversized washers and bolts and hack saw a solution. Two mufflers and pipes later including one wrapping around the axle when backing from a friend's driveway, holy hell was this thing a bucket.

Of course when this ad was placed in my local car shopper magazine, it still had a dealer warranty which paid for very little of the above. After deductible, I got rooked for it, but I could sell the car with it. $2000? What was I thinking? The doors were still in tact.  I resolved to keep it and ran it through all the issues until my hatch window was vandalized which lead to the eventual failure to my cooling system.  I sold it for $50 to be made into a "hovercraft" for a low budget "proposal" for a sci-fi TV pilot which was a half assed dream. To be fair, the guy that was producing that dream also put me on the air and backed me for being his replacement, and that got my first job hosting a morning show. $50 seems like a bargain for that chance.

DSCF8534.JPGFirst saved item? The door handle guard. Never mind that this had fallen off when the plastic around where it was screwed in had rotted away. This was CHEVROLET QUALITY. It's plastic, or it would make a good ashtray.

DSCF8531.JPGThe other thing I saved? The horn cover, which was the center of the steering wheel. No air bags. No stalk mounted horn button. It was in the center. You could hit it. It was a big target. When you took it off and pushed the horn, you got a nice 12V shock. Look at that fake plastic stitching. What's that sh*t at the top?

DSCF8532.JPGMore Chevrolet crap. This was a pin purchased from a flea market that was directly across from the GM Canada plant and was inside an old discount department store. I loved that place with the big plastic tarps hanging from the ceilings where the roof leaked and the gaping pothole filled parking lot. Same flea market moved a few times. I bought a few more cheap pins. Ahhh, it was the 80's. The crap goes on forever.


Here was more! These were the door locks that I bought from Forest City auto parts. The were supposed to be "theft resistant". They used to make door locks big and round at the top. Perfect to break in and steal your radio. These were tall and smooth. No way to get a coat hanger around it to pull up right? Silly me, with a bit of a crimp in the hanger, I broke into my car several times when I left my keys inside. I could have waited for my door latch to rust out...

Monza Finger.jpgFU cheap Chevrolet crap. Look at the space where there would have been an analog clock. Look at that giant gas gauge. Look at that cheap fake knitted padded dash. Space age silver. Warped plastic cowl. Aren't you glad they came out with the Citation? Um...


Hey, remember these? When I had the Monza, I worked for my first electronics store Olson/NWS electronics and we sold re-manufactured crap. Kraco stereos re-manufactured? Fisher audio equipment where you had to cut the "magic connector" (which hooked to other Fisher products) and screw on a power adaptor so you could plug it into the wall. I bought this "power doubler" so I could use my Hi Gain 40 channel CB and my new BEL radar detector.

DSCF8538.JPGI remember this was my Christmas gift. It was the best radar detector out there for the price. It has the GaAs diode which was supposed to do blah blah blah. The leader at the time was the Escort radar detector which was $450. This one the next best in tests and was only $150. Good gosh, $150 for this? Indeed I never got a ticket while using it. Of course I was racing around at a speed of max 93 MPH with my 2.5 4 cylinder Monza. I used this in my Dodge Omni as well, and never got a ticket. Actually, the only speeding tickets I ever got were in my Chevette. I found the magic passing gear and got one for 43 in a 35. I did get one when I moved back to Cleveland and was driving 32 in a 25 in a Parma speed trap.  I'm sure this detector might still work, but it's like using a Citizen pocket B&W TV which reflected off a mirror and had a back-light and had no input for anything. See what I'm saying? It would go boop boop beep beep, and that is all.


Hyundai Accident 2.jpgWhoops! Look at this mess. It was my 1999 Hyundai Accent. See what I was saying above? Geeze, was I okay? Annie Annie are you okay? Help!

hyundai damage 01.jpgOkay. Here was the scoop on this car. I had no faith on Hyundai for years. I remember the EXCEL being the biggest batch of badly assembled bolts that it was a throwback to the cars I'd owned before. However, Hyundai pulled a Chrysler and decided to outdo them. 10 Year, 100,000 mile power train warranty. 5 year 100,000 miles on rust. 3 years, 36,000 miles on just about everything else. Suddenly, Hyundai was building a reliable sh*tbox and it cost a few thousand less than other imports. Plus, had better fit and finish than many of the cheap American choices at the time.

My 94 Saturn SL with no air and stick had run forever. $1500 was all I spent on repairs excluding tires and breaks. Nothing major failed. But, it was an accident magnet. Oh what the hell, here is a picture of when it started attracting damage:

Saturn Damage.jpgI worked at WIOT in Toledo and walked out of my apartment to go to work at 5:15am and found this. The police actually ran me to the Meijer nearby so I could buy film to take these pictures. Someone whacked me good, likely a drunk came around the corner at high speed and pushed my car into a rental car and up on the rise. I had to wait while they found the driver of the rental because I couldn't pull my car away without doing more damage to the rental. From there I had a hole put in my hood, a pole on the front and the back, and finally the car gave up it's frame for me when I got clobbered by a fully loaded lumber truck which destroyed a F350 which destroyed the back of my car which damaged the Thunderbird in front of me when I fell back in the seat and let off the break. Whew. Bye bye plastic car. I still have the floor mats from it.

DSCF8536.JPGBack to the damaged Hyundai. The only thing that went wrong with the car while I owned it was the radio. It left a "bonk" on the tape when I ejected it. That's when I learned that the dealer I bought it from really didn't give a damn about customers. Because it was a showroom demo, I got a "2000" Accent manual for it with a promise that I'd get a "99" manual for it. 6 months later... I got it. 6 Months. There were very few squeaks and rattles, and they fixed them all. The tape deck however, they said they couldn't find a problem. So, I had one of the service guys bring a tape of his own to play in my deck and sure enough, he found the problem. Ahhh, but the stereo was on "back order". So, I waited. I solved the problem by fast forwarding the tape until it ended then ejecting it. Another 6 months. Finally, I'd had enough.

I was visiting my Mom in Ohio and locked my keys in the car and called Hyundai service to get me inside. In the process they broke my door lock and I couldn't unlock the door from the outside. Because I was still waiting for my radio, I went to a competitor Hyundai dealer across the river in Louisville. Wow. They had taken care of a ton of people like me because  I had an appointment for a new radio within a week and it was better than what was in the car AND they fixed my door without me going through the claims process for roadside damage. They even shuttled me across the river to work. If I still lived in Louisville, they would always get my business.

DSCF8537.JPGA few weeks later, it was destroyed. I always thought if I got creamed by someone when I was driving a tiny, light car, I'd be a goner.  It was snowy, it was busy, and where I worked, the street let out 500 ft from a rise and a railroad crossing. I pulled out as someone came across at a high speed, and they slammed on the breaks as the came over the rise and slid into me. Let me say, if you never experienced the airbags blowing out on you, you're lucky. I couldn't breathe. I rolled down the passenger window to get some air.  Thankfully I lived through it. My insurance even found $500 to my advantage rather than $2000 to my deficit. Three days later I had bought a used 1999 Nissan Sentra and I drove back to where the accident had occurred and found the headlight. I did take the photos the day after the accident and got the hub cover. Oh yeah, and I also got...

DSCF8547.JPGMy bathroom mat. Although I don't consider that JUNK because it's used every day. Everything else shown above, is indeed JUNK.  I consider my Nissan as the best car I've ever owned with a close second my Saturn SL. But, I'm now a dedicated Hyundai owner. I'd own another Nissan in a heartbeep. Chevrolet? Hmmm. Saturn? Who? Were they a company? Hey, I owned a Grand Am for six months as well. Who? Pontiac? Oh yeah, Dodge. Um... Ford? Um....  Whomever has the best floor mats wins. :)

ARF! -Ric