At every gas station and convenience store up here in Maine right next to the register is a fat paperback available for $2. A snappy jingle on the cover that changes each week entices shoppers to flip through and find a bargain inside its pages. Since Maine is such a large and rural state with the Yankee notion of never throwing or giving anything away if you can get a buck for it, Uncle Henry's is the perfect means of selling anything from an antique car to old pallets to homemade potholders.
Thinking back, we haven't bought many things out of its pages other than a couple of pairs of ballet shoes and our farm. After a summer of scouring the MLS listings and seeing so much raw land with not an electric pole within 1/2 mile, I had about given up on finding anything suitable. Then I looked one week in the real estate/land section and found, "40 acres of fields and woods, driveway and well in place, electric 800 feet onto property." I hauled the kids up to look over the place and called Tim on my cell phone, "How much do you love me? I want this land." We made an offer without him even seeing the place.
Mary loves reading the pet section and we play "find the most expensive dog/cat" game. "I can't believe someone would pay $1000 for a dog!" she calls out from the back seat of the car on the way home. Then she tries to convince me to buy her yet another pet, "Free ferrets and cage. Pleeeease?" I like looking in the free section and wondering how many upright pianos are in the state of Maine when there is at least one available every week, "Heavy, bring lots of strong men, I'm not available to help carry," one ad warns. My friend Jennifer scours the digest and has brought home 3 pianos, one is now for parts due to not tying it down well enough in the back of a pickup truck on the way home. I also like reading the livestock section and fantasize about being able to purchase a Jersey cow and a flock of laying chickens. Tim likes to pull it out of the basket in the bathroom and read the farm section filled with 50 year old John Deere tractors available for under $3000.
All in all, the amount of entertainment we are able to glean is well worth the $2. Despite Craig's List popularity, I don't think Uncle Henry's has anything to worry about, even in the age of the internet.