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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shopping Lessons

I am bored with TV. The over-paid programming executives (except for the USA Network!) have ruined TV. There is nothing new and plenty of old that has been re-furbished to look "new". I watched the trailers on the new ABC TV program called "V" and thought I had seen all of this before. I did. About 20 years ago. Reality TV is cheaper to produce so we get to see races and hear the filthiest insults from so called adults acting worse than children. Why in the world would I ever want to buy their designs or eat their food is beyond me. And HBO, once my favorite place on TV, has grown old and wary. I am paying well over a hundred dollars a month for cable TV and getting little that really interests me. That is until I found the Sundance Channel's new series "MAN SHOPS GLOBE".

The program follows Keith Johnson (buyer-at-large for the Anthropolgie stores) as he goes around the world looking for antiques and objects that he can take back to the US where his company can either use them as marketing displays or as a prototype that can be reproduced for resale. He seeks out things that nobody has seen before or he creates new things by re-interpreting old things. Example: on a trip to Belgium he found a beautiful old wood headboard with lots of character. Nothing new about that. But he found this talented graffiti artist and told the guy to create. I know we have all seen painted furniture, but what this kid did was entirely different.

Keith Johnson tells the viewer the purpose of each destination and the general types of things he seeks. On his trip to France he wanted a few really grand one-of-a-kind pieces that could be used as major display items in the Anthropologie stores. He shared his frustration with over-priced items in Paris. He took us along to Avignon to the flea market and later to an artists studio. He gave up a lot of information on price negotiation methods. I'm not sure he really should have done that. His negotiating style was definitely worth watching.

The series' official website MAN SHOPS GLOBE has lots of helpful information about each destination Keith Johnson visited. There are useful links and some great photographs that provide more detailed information for someone like myself who was just totally taken by this series. You can watch full episodes ON DEMAND or when they appear on the Sundance Channel.

Keith Johnson is quoted as saying
"The flea markets in France are legendary. The best part of the Saint-Ouen Flea Market in Paris is the Paul Bert Section. It has the most decorative things. My advice on buying is to ask yourself, "How much is this worth to me?" Then bargain, be fair and be willing to walk away. The truth is that you'll only regret the things you don't buy... you'll never regret what you do buy. In the context of the market, surrounded by similar objects, a piece may not seem special. That's the hardest part of being a buyer - taking things out of context."
The thing I appreciate most about Keith Johnson is his collegial style. He's obviously successful but he does not come across like some know it all that talks through his teeth with disdain for little people. Instead he asks opinions of others and gives them the opportunity to create.

Go to the Food Network to learn how to cook something or watch DYI to learn how to fix something. But if you want to learn how to shop and get something you really want, watch "MAN SHOPS GLOBE" on the Sundance Channel and take shopping lessons from an expert. If you are thinking of buying a place in Key West keep Keith Johnson's admonition in mind "The truth is that you'll only regret the things you don't buy... you'll never regret what you do buy."

If you want to go real estate shopping with a Keith Johnson wannabe, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty Inc. in Key West, Florida.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Gary - I LOVE this program and wondered who else watched too! Bravo has some interesting reality shows such as Jeff Lewis/Ryan Brown and the whole "Flipping Out" disfunctional family and then there are Chad/Madison/Josh, the trio of spoiled rich kids of "Million Dollar Listing". I prefer Top Chef but these guys are really interesting to watch especially now that their own LA real esate high end market has also changed. Check it out if you haven't seen them before. And yes, my DTV subscription is way to high for the crap I am watching. TCM for me!

Gary Thomas said...

I really like Million Dollar Listing. I think Josh is really smart and a good negotiator. Madison should have a really good future. He seems well grounded even if he is confused...Chad is full of himself.

I missed the reunion show on Flipping Out. Don't tell me what happened. In the preview Jeff almost cried. I know that guy is a softy at heart. He comes across so damned mean to scare people away from his frailties as a human being.

I think Keith Johnson is a great new find. You gotta go to the website. Lots of good stuff there.


Anonymous said...

Totally different subject. Gary, what the heck is up with the listing for 3425 Flagler?! Are they trying to sell the place or what?! While I found it amusing, I have to wonder what state the listing agent was in when he/she did this? Is she/he just being brutally honest or is this reverse psychology?!


Gary Thomas said...

Diana, I showed that house in the spring of 2008 and I thought it had a lot of potential. Very nice backyard. Inside had been paritially redone. I saw some real potential for a couple that wanted a relatively cheap property that would be an easy fix and that could end up as a nice property.

The roofline and Flagler location put a lot of people off. Too bad. Their loss.

Place has been under contract since Sep 30th.



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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.