Monday, February 28, 2011

Thrift Haul: Yard Sale Deals on a Lovely Day

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How was the weekend weather where you live? Here in Florida the temperatures have been heavenly- it was the perfect day to check out the Dr. Sketchy's 2nd Annual yard sale (coverage of last year's sale) where my friend Chris gave me an amazing deal on stacks of books and dvds.

[A Dirty Shame was actually loaned to me. Hilarious movie!]

Now I have a new stack of strange kitschy dark comedy and horror movies to torture my friends with. They're constantly subjected to the strangest and most disturbing movies...sometimes I wonder why they still come over...

 [All books, movies, and the gameboy game were $6 total. Thank you Chris!]

Movies include the hilariously over-the-top 90s Dracula, The Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho Beach Party (Drag queen Charles Busch is my hero), The Aristocrats- documentary on "the world's dirtiest joke", Jawbreaker, Hairspray, and a couple of those terrible horror movie dollar DVDs.

I received a damn awesome selection of books I can't wait to tear through as well. The two game guides and the financial aid book are for my friend, La Florida was purchased for being hilariously dated (love all the student's doodles in it, too).

The ecology book has stunning illustrations and the Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies is hilarious. Not pictured, The Long Dark Team Time of the Soul. With a title like that, it has to be good...

I planted this cute telephone planter (home made pottery type planter thing from Goodwill) with the intention of adding it to my antique store booth, but I think it's grown on me. I love how it looks in my small kitchen, perched atop the fridge. It's my favorite shade of orange.

I'll have to cover the recipe cards I found in detail in a future post. My mom had the same 1979 Betty Crocker set (probably from a thrift store). I used to love sitting in a tall stool next to the kitchen counter and admiring the photographs on each card while she cooked. This was more than a nostalgia purchase though, I'm always out of cooking ideas, so these should help out with menu planning. I think they'll be worth the inflated thrift store $5.00 I paid for them.

What did you guys find this weekend?

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cari Cucksey of Cash & Cari Answers Your Reselling Questions

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited to participate in a Q&A with Cari Cucksey of Cash & Cari. From our conversation I learned Cari is not only the real deal and a consummate professional, but also just as passionate of a thrifter and hunter as the rest of us.


What do you see as future trends in collectibles?

I'm observing that more and more people are buying vintage and antique books. More trends - retro & kitschy kitchen items are hot and will continue to be hot. Vinyl albums and turntables...I can't keep vintage audio equipment in stock or at estate sales for very long. Tools and old musical instruments are popular. People are also looking for silver, clocks, lamps, vintage clothes and anything art deco.

What age group makes up the majority of your customer base?

The people who come to my estate sales and my RePurpose™ store vary in age from 30-somethings to middle aged and more "seasoned" collectors. The state of the economy has been a factor in the increased number people looking for deals on quality used furniture, dishes, etc. Moms and Dads are looking for pieces to help furnish their kids college rooms or a first time apartments.

 Then we have the "green" and "repurpose" minded couples who see collecting and furnishing their homes with antiques as good for the planet. And, of course we have collectors who want to add to their collections and dealers who are buying things to resell. We also see an increased number of younger women looking for vintage clothing.

Can you tell us about your success with online sales?

With the increase of home computers, laptops, iPads and Smart phones, more and more people are buying online and research shows this increases each year. Many people do much of their shopping and price comparisons online. This includes looking for deals on antiques, as well as, searching for collectibles and items that can be resold for a profit. Online shopping saves them time and money and with today's current gas prices, it helps them save even more money.


Any advice you may have for some fellow hand re-crafters looking to open shop would be great!

Start small! Listing things on craigslist.org, kijiji.com or Ebay.com. A booth at local antique mart or shows. Research prices on line, subscribe to magazines, like Country Living, Martha Stewart, Victoria, etc. as publications like these tend to drive styles and trends.

What do you do with “leftovers” from estates?

We give them to local charities, like Salvation Army, Purple Heart, Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity.

What was your largest ticket item?

Largest ticket item I've ever sold is a limo that was shipped to Russia....$42,000.

What's your favorite aspect of reselling?

One of my favorite aspects of reselling is learning the history of pieces, their value and their story. I also love the twinkle in customers eyes when they find a treasure they have been hunting for.

I love to RePurpose and then resell...RePurposing items, and giving them new life is the ultimate green. Each piece has a story and I love the fact that something used in the past can find a new life in the present. It is also rewarding to be able to help people make money by selling their things and on the flip side, help a buyer add to their collections or find something they can resell to keep the cycle going. It's a win-win-win! I like to say, "RePurposing is my purpose!"


I know you started reselling at 12, but when did you become a full time professional re-seller? How hard was it to become one?

Even though this is my passion, and it may look glamorus, it is hard work. Like any business, it takes time and energy for success. I started part-time online and kept my day job and did research on trends, and the items I was drawn to.

Is there any advice you have for reselling beginners?

Do your research and learn from an established seller. Ask questions. Start small, subscribe to trade publications. I have just begun work on an e-book - RePurposing and Estate Sales from A-Z which will provide insight based on my own experiences and success. More information about that will be posted on my website - http://www.repurposeshop.com/.

* * *

Part II for this Q & A with Cari of Cash & Cari will be coming up next week. Thank you everyone who had questions for Cari via Thrift Core's Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail

You can interact with Cari on her HGTV Website, Business Website, or Follow her on Twitter.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thrifters Around the World: Thrifted Treasure's Alice From Australia

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 [Van's Note: I love Alice's Blog Thrifted Treasure. Her finds are amazing.]

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Alice.

Hi, I'm a stay-at-home mum of 3, originally from Ireland, living in Sydney, Australia. Before giving up work to stay home with the kids I was a graphic designer. I started up this blog (Thrifted Treasure) as a way of finding other thrifting enthusiasts and sharing my finds and love of all things vintage.

My husband doesn't exactly share my retro enthusiasm so I love getting feedback and comments from readers :-)

When and why did you start thrifting?

As a kid my Mum used to drag me around charity shops (Irish name for thrift stores). I eventually inherited her enthusiasm and as a college student loved buying old retro clothes and furniture. I stopped for a while but regained the bug a few years ago when I saw just how great the shops are here in Sydney.


What do you think makes thrifting in Australia different than thrifting in the United States or other places in the world?

I think thrifters in the USA and Canada live in some sort of Thrifter's Utopia, I am in constant awe of the finds you guys share from Garage Sales, Thrift Stores and Craigslist. I would nearly move there just for the shopping :-) I think the huge estate sale and yard sale culture in the USA lends an lot of opportunity for great bargains to be found.

What are the names for "thrifting" in Australia?

Generally the term "op shopping" is used. Op Shop is short for Opportunity Shop, basically a store where second hand goods are sold and the proceeds go to charity. I use the term thrifting in my blog as most of my readers are from the USA and Canada.


Is there a large thrifting/junking/second-hand shopping culture in Australia?

Definitely. Almost every suburb has at least one op shop and there are plenty of second hand and vintage markets. Aussies love a good bargain and with the standard of living having gotten so expensive here a lot more people are turning to second hand shopping as a way of saving a few dollars.

Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in Australia? Is it seen as dirty or something for low-income families?

Not at all. In any culture there are going to be a few people who turn their nose up at second hand goods but generally Australians can see the benefit of buying second hand, both for the environment and the pocket.


Are there any flea markets in Australia? What are they like?

Yes, I'm not aware of any enormous ones like there are in the USA (I daydream about the world's longest yard sale I have seen mentioned on so many American blogs). I visit a local vintage market once a month, my local church has a twice-yearly rummage sale which is a goldmine and there is a great monthly carboot market in the suburb I used to live in that I still go to sometimes.

Some of the dealers at these markets are way too clued-in to what their goods are worth for my liking (ahem) but there are always bargains to be snapped up.


Are there many dumpster divers and curb-side shoppers in Australia?

There are also regular council cleanups in Sydney where everybody leaves their "junk" out on the sidewalk for collection by council trucks.

People are very open and unembarrassed about stopping and having a good rummage to see if they can find anything. You can often see cars screeching to a hault and reversing to pick up a nice piece of furniture. I have found many items this way :-)

Is there a large thrift and craft culture in Australia?

Yes, I love finding other Australian bloggers and reading about their finds and just like in the USA crafting has made a huge comeback here in Oz, there is an Australian equivalent of Etsy called www.madeit.com.au.


What are thrift stores like in Australia?

Depending on the suburb they can be goldmines or ridiculously overpriced. They're not as enormous as the USA but I have found some fantastic vintage items in thrift stores. The stock varies depending on the store, some only stock clothing and others have large bric-a-brac/homewares sections. My favourite thing to shop for is housewares.

Where do people do their second-hand hunting where you live?

Generally in the local sop shops and a couple of local markets.


Where is your favorite place to thrift?

There is a Vinnie's (St Vincent de Paul) op shop a couple of suburbs away that has a great bric-a-brac section. They also sell furniture and I have found some real treasures there such as a vintage filing cabinet, a retro credenza and an Ikea expedit in perfect condition. Most of my pyrex collection is from this shop also.

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Photos were edited and provided by Alice. If you would like to be featured in Thrifters Around the World, shoot me an e-mail. I would love your feedback on this new segment, let me know what you think in the comments below. My next international interview will be online March 01, 2011.
 
Past Thrifters Around The World Posts

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thrift Haul: Love for the Ridiculous and Whimsical

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The curbsides and thrift stores have provided me with a plethora of whimsical and ridiculous finds in the past couple of months. Just look at that irresistibly creepy bear, it's part pedobear, part horror movie extra. Those eyes! They follow you everywhere, I say!



Remember This post about my need for a chore board? I may have found my solution. This one was a lucky dumpster find that needs some sprucing up, but it should do the trick.

59 cents bought me this adorable strawberry canister. It perfectly suits my antique store booth aesthetic. The graphic design and colors are perfection.

These fish cups are positively ridiculous. The iridescent finish takes them over the edge and makes them pure 80s-style ugly and silly. I rationalized they're worth the 99 cents each if they make me laugh. Also, love that sweet painted fish-face.

These  Mario Quiz Cards are a delicious curbside find. A gamer's fantasy find! Each card features plenty of unique illustrations. The caped Mario on the front looks like the version of him I remember from Super Mario Brothers All Stars on the Super Nintendo, but the characters on the cards are mostly from Super Mario Brothers 2.

I wish I had time to properly scan and document every single illustration. They are all so polished- and there are hundreds of them! Hopefully I'll make time to use these cards with my friends and nieces and nephews very soon.

Other finds this included:
  • Amazing camera case/bag for $1.99 (it's getting a makeover)
  • Super cute bear mirror (it shattered completely)
  • Framed I was going to use from art (also shattered completely)
  • Amazing Retro "Risk" game (trash find) I think I accidentally donated

I want to thank everyone for their amazing feedback on my dumpster diving post. A couple of you have sent me pictures of your dived finds, I'll share them with you all later. I'm incredibly appreciative that you've shared your finds with me, and I'd love to see more of them (maybe even make a link share to encourage us all to keep with it)!

What did you find this weekend?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dumpster Diving Tips for The Uninitiated and Helplessly Cheap

27 comments
 
Dumpster Diving takes innocent curb-side picking to the next level. You peruse the streets under a shroud of darkness. It's taboo, perilous, and an addictive good time! I've answered your top dumpster diving questions. These tips will help you determine if diving is right for you.

How Can I get Started?
1) Start small and check curb sides in your city near trash day. 2) Investigate dumpsters in your area. 3) Google "dumpster diving, your city name" with the quotations, making it an exact search. Other divers in your area may have written about good dumpsters to raid.

 [Mike & Cheryl, my dumpster diving partners in crime, going through dived treasures.]

How do you dumpster dive?
1) We drive behind the business, where the dumpster lives. 2) One person exits the running car and does a cursory hunt through the dumpster. 3) If it's picked over or there's nothing good, we move on to the next one. Just get out there and try a couple, you'll get a feel for it and establish a route.

[We find lots of perfectly good food too. I'll cover food diving in future posts.] 

Do you jump inside the dumpsters?
You don't have to. You can open the lid and gingerly pull out goods or jump in and dig deep. If you're grossed out by the idea, wear rain boots and bring gloves. I don't jump in myself, but only because I'm incredibly clumsy with the balance of a drunken toddler.

[Some of our favorite books from the dumpster. We kept some, sold some, and donated the rest.]

What supplies will I need?
- Boxes/Crates or bags in your trunk (for holding your finds)
- Bright flash lights or headlights
- Gloves and Rainboots
- A friend or two (to hold flash lights, help you haul stuff, and to fend off miscreants) 

[You know you wish you could dive into this pile of toys.]
Is it Illegal?
I've found no evidence stating dumpster diving is illegal in Florida, where I hunt. (This Miami Diving Pro couldn't, either.) If you're concerned, conduct some research on the laws in your area.


  [I Shared this on Monday: My favorite trash find] 

Final Tips for Good Dumpster Diving Karma

Be Courteous:
Leave the dumpster site just like you found it. Make a mess and business owners will find ways to ensure you never come back with locks, security cameras, and fences.

Take what you want, but use what you take: You'll be tempted to rescue every item you encounter; don't, or you'll soon be the next guest on Hoarders. Leave treasures for your fellow divers to enjoy. 
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Organization Thursday: Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

23 comments
 One of the more charming features of my quirky vintage apartment is the built-in glass front china cabinet in the kitchen. I finally gave the cabinet the attention it deserved with a mini makeover.I can't wait to address the whole kitchen with bright colors and added counter space.

1. I took everything out of the cabinets, measured the back of the cabinets, then cut the contact paper out to size.



2. Applied the contact paper. The wall hooks were screwed it to display my favorite coffee mugs for easy access.


3. I only put back in what we use frequently. The rest will be stored in a harder to access bottom cabinet or get added to my antique store booth.

In the end, I have a cabinet that's clutter free and visually appealing. No more struggling to use or find my favorite kitchen supplies! It only took as few minutes to make a big difference in my kitchen.




Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: Stage Your Booth Like a Pro and Increase Sales

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This weekend I smuggled my camera into Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie (sister companies). Both stores hire artists to stage a deliberate boutique experience, both stores project a thrift store/flea market chic aesthetic; and their sales are booming.

I browsed both of these retail giants and took note of Five Staging Tricks you should use to make your antique store displays alluring and successful.

1. Avoid Clutter and Group Like Items
Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are not trying to recreate a bargain bin or thrift shopping experience- if they did that they couldn't raise the prices in their Made in China wonderlands! These stores have uncluttered and beguiling displays where merchandise is easily spotted (and quickly purchased!)

2. Be Unique
Experiment. Be artistic and try something that hasn't been done before. People will be attracted to your unique display, so don't be afraid to let your true style shine through.

3. Tell a Story
I love how Anthropologie's displays tell a story. Show how your items solve a problem, tell a story your shoppers can relate to.

4. Switch it Up Often
Retail stores add new merchandise and change displays frequently, this gives shoppers incentive to come back. I switch up items weekly and add new inventory monthly to keep my booth fresh.

5. Be Cheap
Don't spend a dime on your staging efforts. Use scrap paper, fabric, and everyday items in your displays. This will force you to be creative and innovative while saving your cash for more important things. (Like rewarding yourself with an item or two from the antique store. And hell yes, I'm an instigator.)

[All Photos taken by me at Urban Outfitters & Anthropologie in the St. Johns Town Center.]

I'm going to apply these tips to my booth this week, and you should too! I'll report back and let you know if my sales improve simply from using these five staging tricks.

Previous Antique Store Wisdom Posts:

[2/02/2011]
Don't Underprice Your Items
[2/10/2011] Should You Rent a Booth at the Antique Store?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thrifters Around the World: Thrifting Pro Miss P From the UK

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Thrifters Around The World is a new series where I interview passionate thrifters across the Globe. Today I'm interviewing Miss P from The United Kingdom.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, Miss P.

I’m a 30 something (ahem!) mum of one (My Little Tornado!) and I live in a small town on the Essex coast, about 45 minutes from London with LT and my partner J. I attend college once a week to study garment construction and pattern drafting (another passion of mine) and spend a HUGE chunk of my time “thrifting” at local charity shops.

I guess you could call it a mild obsession! I used to sell my vintage thrift finds on Ebay for a living and am in the process of re-launching this “career” (post baby) by opening my first ever shop on Etsy called LoveMissP. I began blogging as Miss P in October last year and am totally addicted. My blog is a mixture of thrifting, sewing and broader crafts.

When and why did you start thrifting?

When I think about it I’ve been thrifting since forever! Some of my earliest memories are of the frantic hustle and bustle of local church jumble sales. I’ve loved it since I can remember. To me it was, and still is, like finding treasure. I never tire of it.

I bought my own clothes from the age of about 11, when I was old enough to get a paper round and then a Saturday job. My money went a lot further in charity shops than it did on the high street. Plus it was more interesting than the identikit “fashion” available in normal clothes shops. My teenage “uniform” consisted of thrifted vintage suit jackets covered in vintage brooches and badges, teamed with thrifted t shirts & hippy skirts, Dr Marten’s and an army surplus ruck sack. (I know, I know! Stylish right?!)


What makes thrifting in the United Kingdom different than thrifting in the United States?

I haven’t ever thrifted in the US so it’s tricky for me to answer this with any basis in actual experience. But as far as I can tell there are a couple of differences. Here in the UK individual charities will open and run their own fund raising shops whereas if I understand it correctly, “goodwill” is an umbrella network of stores in the US that benefit any number of different charities or causes.

I don’t know if that results in some consistency in pricing in the US, but over here pricing strategies can vary wildly from shop to shop. At one end of the spectrum, some pitch themselves almost as mini boutiques promoting vintage and designer items. At the opposite end you have the “pile it high and sell it cheap” shop mentality (my personal favourite since I revel in rummaging!!) and then every conceivable level in between.

We don’t have such things as Estate Sales, although these sound just like my cup of tea!

Is there a large thrifting/junking/second-hand shopping culture where you live?

I wouldn’t say large so much as growing rapidly. More and more people I speak to these days are open to a bit of second hand shopping or bargain hunting. Whereas a few years ago, most people couldn’t even fathom that you could get anything other than junk in charity shops.

Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in the UK? Is it seen as dirty or something that only "poor people" do?

This definitely WAS the case a few years ago. There was a perception that charity shops contained dirty junk that no one else wanted. Not everyone thought that way, but I’d say it was the view of the vast majority. Why on earth would you rummage through someone else's cast offs?? I suppose it’s the same as the idea of “hand me downs” in poorer families in times gone by.

I used to love the look of astonishment when, having complimented me on something I was wearing, I’d utter what was almost my catchphrase “what this? £3 from a charity shop...” Priceless!


Now though, thrifting is rapidly gaining in popularity. Partly due to the recession, yes. But I’d say largely due to the popularisation of vintage in the last few years. Vintage made it positively de rigeur to wear secondhand. This was swiftly followed by environmental campaigns to reuse and recycle. Suddenly it was not only OK to shop secondhand, it was fashionable and eco-friendly, and positively encouraged.

These days it’s no longer about the “achievement” or “status” of affording something expensive and designer. It’s about having the savvy to find a bargain. I hear people having conversations about how little they’ve paid for something instead of how much. People are haggling more and they are much more aware of the value of things. Consumers have definitely wised up and competition for bargains is definately hotting up!

Are there any flea markets in the UK? What are they like?

I guess “Boot Sales” (aka Boot Fayres/Fairs) are our flea markets. They don’t, as the name might suggest, sell only boots! The name derives from people gathering to sell stuff from the back of their cars. We call them car boots, you call them trunks I believe?

They’re usually held in car parks (parking lots) and otherwise unused land rented from local farmers or landowners. Sellers turn up early on a Sunday morning, usually around 6am, and line up all their cars in a row, one behind the other. They pay a fee of between £5-£10 for a pitch, and then lay out their “goods” on tables or groundsheets. Buyers begin arriving from around 7am and the sale usually finishes up around lunchtime.

Although recently I've seen an increase in the cheekily named "Lazybones Boot Fayres" That start at a more civilised 11am on a Sunday and finish later in the afternoon. Boot Fayres are always well attended on beautiful summer mornings. It is truly a lovely thing to do when the weather is fine and you're in no rush to get anywhere (and wearing comfy shoes and plenty of sunscreen! It's amazing how far you end up walking at one of these events!)

* * *
This concludes Part I of my Interview with Miss. P. Look for Part II on March 1, 2011.

Photos were edited and provided by Miss P. If you would like to be featured, shoot me an e-mail. I would love your feedback on this new segment, let me know what you think in the comments below. My next international interview will be online February 22, 2011.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thrift Haul: Trash Hunting for Treasure

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[Library Vintage Art Print (Book Page), Southern Crossing Antique Mall]

I didn't participate in traditional thrifting this weekend, and I probably won't for the next couple of weeks. My thrifting crew and I have a new habit; dumpster diving. We've been at it since December, and we've found so much treasure it would be too exhausting to document it all. This post will give you a sneak peek into some of our treasure hunting exploits.

[Japanese Kokeshi Doll, Southern Crossing Antique Mall]

But first, it's confession time. When you set up shop in an antique mall as a vintage lover, you're going to get tempted. I picked up three things from the antique store during my time there, and I know these items won't be the last. When and item speaks to me and its the right price, I can't resist...

The kokeshi doll and the library art print above were two items I'd been admiring since the day I moved into my booth. I finally gave in and bought them over the weekend, before they're gone for good!

[Collector's Edition, Jackson 5 Greatest Hits, Antique Store]

This is a gorgeous record, featuring incredibly 80s artwork on the front. The back features an early photo of the Jackson 5. It's a little heartbreaking that it's not factory sealed with the white glove and bonus poster it was intended to come with! It features an amazing selection of hits, including two songs I don't already have in my growing Jackson 5 Records collection.

[Going to Grandma's Vintage Suitcase, Dumpster Find]

I was incredibly excited to pull this out of a dumpster this weekend. The back features a cryptic note scrawled in a child's messy handwriting. It reads, "This is mine, mine! Don't you ever think of stealing this, ever!" I have to decide if I'll clean this up and sell it or find a use for it at home.

[Books, Trash Finds]

We found these books and many, many more as trash finds. We sold a few for profit. We've kept a few of the best ones, and we're donating the rest. 

We truly have encountered too more trash finds than I could document, but among our favorites from just this weekend were:

  • Big bag of clothes including four beautiful skirts and a trogdor the burninator shirt!
  • Sewing box and art supply box we're going to make over for my friend Mike
  • String of beautiful high quality blue lights
  • Unintentionally hilarious magnets
  • Long brown winter coat
  • And much more...

It's hard to believe someone would trash these perfectly good treasures, not a single book was damaged or mildewed. As long as people are trashing these excellent items, we'll be around to rescue them.
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