Estate (2014)

Transcript

Time 1:20: Jeannie Krause: It's the majority of one person's content of their home or their collection or their life. And, so, it could be a moving sale; it could be a relocation; it could be they went in a rest home or they downsized or they died, or they moved to Europe, or they foreclosed on their home: that's what I call an estate sale, it's enough to be an estate; a complete, you know, sellable estate. The content.

Time 2:08 And we don't let any of that stuff get by us. I mean, any of the pornography, any of the humiliation, any of the bloody underwear, bad diaries, or the mean letters from the kids, or the threats from the in-laws; we don't let any of that get passed us. We make sure it's all, you know, amicable, and kind, and loving, and generous. When the neighbors go in there, instead of making fun of them and saying what a pig their neighbor is, or, you know, shaking their head at him, or being embarrassed for them, we make sure the neighbors are envious. And that their impressed, and they're respectful, and they feel really lucky and honored to walk into that house. And by the time they leave the estate sale, if we've done our job right, they're envious that they didn't have that life of Alice, or Rob, or Bill, or any of the people we've done this week. Those people walk in and they feel like this is how they must've lived, with all their stuff clean, and everything cobwebbed, and the windows shiny, and flowers on the hearth. It's just beautiful, right?

Time 3:22: I used to write a letter by hand to every person that was invited. I had about 100 people in my mailing list. It was mostly friends and collectors. And I'd hand write all the envelopes, and I'd handwrite: "Hey you guys, Come on over. This is wonderful, it's magnificent; this lady's so amazing. She loved flowers, and she had China cups, and she had beautiful slips, and wonderful purses, and you're going to love this place. Come over Thursday, and we're going to have, like, coffee there and I'll make you some ice tea and we'll shop through her house. And then it got bigger. And then I had to send an email. So now it's so mass-marketed it's almost embarrassing. There's like 9,000 people that get my email twice a week. And I try to make it personable, but it never feels personable enough.

Time 5:12: You know my clients that buy that stuff, are actually, those are my friends. Those are people I know. I don't care what they do with the stuff I sell them; they may make a living with it. But I love those people. And I really have gotten to know them, even the ones who are pricks.I know they're a prick, and I kind of like them; they're kind of like a prick! That guy's a jerk, you know. But you still like them because there's something good about every person you meet, right? You know that he's just difficult to get along with; he's just cantankerous, he's kind of unfair, he's always trying to cheat you, but his mom's sick and he's got, like, a boil on his leg cause he tells you that, right? He tells you what's going on in his life. He's not, he's not one of your fairest clients, but he's still a human being and you still get him, right?

Time 6:05: I've had to teach myself and jar myself back into reality over and over that these things are not what I think they're worth. And they're not what you think they're worth, if it's your mom. And they're not what the woman who passed thought they were worth. They're just what they're worth to the person who wants to buy a black blouse, or a suit, or a bracelet, or a cup or a saucer, that's all they're worth. Oh, I could make ten times the money that I make, I could make so much money, I could jus be so greedy and make so much money, but I don't see the point. What is the point? People come up to you and say "I really like this microphone and I could use this. I would really love to have this microphone, but I only have $7.00." And you can tell that they're not lying, they're telling you the truth. And you have $20.00 on it, and nobody's wanted that microphone, why would you not give it to that lady for $7.00? I mean, you don't want it and she needs it, so let's get it on; let's just move this on. You know, this should be a really fun process. This should be like, you're making a living ... I'm supporting my daughter by taking these things--and you know how much I love things, i have a great respect for things--but you're taking these things that this family, or this person, has no use for and they don't want and, more than that, they need it removed. They need it gone. People have paid me to empty houses, where they didn't want anybody in it; they just paid me to empty them. So, then, you're taking these people that you've coddled and loved and cared for and given donuts to for years, and given coffee to, and listened to stories about their grandkids, and watched them grow old, and seen them have strokes, and seen them graduate to walkers, and watched their wife die, right?, over the years, and they want to give you $2.00 for it: great. Take it from this guy who doesn't want it, give it to this guy who can use it, and have a good day. You know, it doesn't need to be more than that.

Time 8:15: And I think there's enough stuff. We've got enough fucking stuff. We don't need anymore stuff, you know, anywhere, right? You need your food, and you need, you know, your baby stuff, but that's about it. There's plenty of stuff if you look around, right? And it's not going anywhere. It's not like it's going to fly up in space. It's going to go in our dirt, and then they're going to have to make more stuff. But I think people get too connected, and they get too engulfed in, owning anything; it's just stuff. And people get carried away. I've seen.... I've seen...let me tell you the extremes, ok? I try to stay away from this, but you never know when it's coming; sometimes they blindside you. I have seen families never speak again over stuff; I have seen families beat each other up over stuff; I have seen families alienate themselves from their parents over stuff. And it's just stuff that the universe lets you enjoy, right? And then you retire, and someone else babysits this stuff. And you hope, you only hope, while you're alive, that when you die someone else is going to respect it enough to dust it, and love it, and photograph it, and enjoy it, and hold it, and drink out of it. But you know what? Somebody might just throw it all away in a landfill, and there's nothing you can do about it. Cause you're dead.

Time 9:53: Karlos: Do you want an estate sale when you pass? Jeannie Krause: That's a funny question. i would love it. That's a great question, that's such a good question. And you're going to have to play this back to Sophie [Jeannie's daughter]. So, I would like an estate sale for myself to be only people on my email list, and my neighbors, and my friends, and I would like to have nothing sold. So there's no prices or no value on anything. And it would have to be like a lottery thing where you all line up and everybody gets one thing. Everybody gets to pick one thing; in line, in order of how they came. And then when they get done with it, they get back in line, and they pick another thing, and everybody just takes what they want. That's how it would have to be done to make me happy. Everybody takes what they want, they just clean out the house. That would be so fantastic! What a great question! i would love that, and you know, since you asked me that, I'm going to go up there--she came for me to do her hair---I'm going to go up and tell her while I do her hair that that's what I would want. That is exactly what I'd want.