Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Saturday “steals” (deals) November 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:52 PM
old stereo system

The vintage stereo system in our garage.

new stereo system

The "new" stereo system.

WHILE I AM RIFLING through a cardboard box stuffed with old muffin tins, well-worn baking sheets and dull knives, he is eyeing a stereo system.

“Why do you need that?” I ask my husband, Randy, hoping he doesn’t plan on hauling this electronic system home.

“I need a new radio for the garage,” he says.


Then he is thumbing through his wallet for a $5 bill to purchase this White Westinghouse three-CD player/cassette player/radio unit he’s found at a yard sale.

“Does it work?” I ask, stooping to the ground to scoop up a speaker.

It does, claims the man who seems all too eager to load, or unload, this into our car trunk.

Hmmmmm, I think, picturing a useless stereo sitting in the garage, next to the old record player, the radio receiver and eight-track tape player purchased in the 1980s.

“How does your new stereo work?” I ask Randy later, after he’s set it up.

“Good,” he answers, cranking up the volume as if to emphasize his point.

OK, then, I’ll admit, he got a good deal for $5.

Fast forward one week. Randy arrives home from work lugging a bulky television set.

Toshiba TV

The 1990 Magnavox TV reflects in the screen of our "new" 1993 Toshiba television.

“WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?” I am incredulous. This looks no bigger, no newer than the clunker television we already have. I was hoping when we got a new TV, it would have a larger, and flat, screen.

He got the television from a sale at Moravian Church in Northfield, right next door to his workplace. “FREE—WORKS, but NO Remote” reads the masking tape message atop the TV.

Hmmmmm, I think. No remote. And does it really work? But this did come from a church, I remind myself.

The 1993 20-inch Toshiba works. Better than the 1990 20-inch Magnavox. The picture is sharper, the sound clearer. And, Randy and our son exclaim, they can even read the football scores at the top of the screen.

So, now I’m wondering, what freebie will Randy cart home next Saturday? A “new” computer? A “new” washing machine? Maybe even the kitchen sink…

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling