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Garage sale dishes

Warning! Do not go to garage sales. Things you buy there can create extra work for you.

My wife and I recently stopped at a garage sale late on a Saturday and found a set of Anchor Hocking milk glass plates with gold painted edges.

Even though the dishes were from the 1950s, they were in great condition and my wife was floored when the guy said he only wanted $5 for the set. We had expected him to say $15 or  $20 so we had no excuse not to buy them when he said $5 for this beautiful set of dishes with their gold trim.

We got them home and I started putting them in the dishwasher for a quick cleanup when I discovered why they were so cheap.

“Stop,” my wife Madeline shouted. “You can’t put them in the dishwasher. It will wear off the gold paint,” she explained.

“So, how will we clean them?” I asked.

“By hand.”

“Whose hand?” I asked suspiciously.

“The hand that has the dishrag,” she said, handing me a dishrag.

So, now instead of finishing a meal and putting the plates in the dishwasher for a quick and easy cleaning, we have to wash them by hand. And not just the plates, the cups and saucers, too.

That’s right. We have to use the cups and saucers that came with the set because we have them. I can no longer use my well-loved chipped mug from IHOP for my morning coffee, but have to sip from a milk glass, gold-trimmed cup that sits in a gold-trimmed saucer. And then wash them.

I also accidently discovered that gold-trimmed plates don’t do well in the microwave to heat food. The plates cause the microwave to spark and make mad scientist lab noises when being heated.

I asked Madeline how I’m supposed to heat up food now.

“Well, you just put the food in a plastic container, heat it, and then transfer it to the milk glass dishes,” she said.

“But then I have two things to wash instead of one,” I said.

“No you don’t.  The plastic container you can put in the dishwasher after you rinse it out thoroughly in the sink.”

“What about if I want to reheat some coffee?”

“You put the coffee in that crummy old mug you have. Heat it and then pour the coffee into one of the good cups,” she explained.

“Then I have to wash out my mug and put it in the dishwasher.”

“No,” she said.  “Then you throw that crummy old chipped cup in the garbage.”

So you see by going to that garage sale and buying those fancy gold-trimmed dishes we now have the convenience of a dishwasher we can’t use to wash our dishes and a microwave we can’t use to heat up food. And, I have a lot of extra work on my dishpan hands.

The only good thing is my wife went to a garage sale last week and bought a Malmac (plastic) white bowl with fake gold trim that matches our dishes.  It can go in the dishwasher without damage and reheat food in the microwave without burning down the house.

It’s the only thing I will eat out of now.  She should have bought two.

— Myron Kukla

Myron Kukla is a journalist, writer and owner of the West Michigan-based marketing company, Write Stuff.  He wrote two books of humor, Confessions of a Baby Boomer: Memories of Things I Haven’t Forgotten Yet and Guide to Surviving Life. He also has just published two e-books, Chomp and Something in the Blood.

Reflections of Erma