I'm a yard sale, thrift store and flea market. Have purchased food gadgets... if CLEAN, cheap and somethiing I'd like to try but NOT spend good money on. Bought a gizmo that spiral cuts stuff. Not something I couldn't live without, works fine, not used much, but I'll keep it... for now. A few weeks ago, bought a Cuisinart mandolin slicer for less than $5 at a thrift store. Though blade appears to be undamaged and is definitely sharp, gonna stick with my inexpensive plastic on... it works better. Found a faded yellow, "vintage", crank up/down, KA stand mixer at Good Will. Had paddle, whisk & dough hook. When plugged in, ran just fine. Was a little torn... already HAVE a basic white, tilt-top model and price tag said $39.99. When I noticed it was half price that day, just couldn't pass it up. After cleaning it up (wasn't THAT dirty to begiin with), I taped everything off and spray painted it with flat black paint meant for outdoor gas grills. I like it better than much newer model... main for larger capacity. A few weeks back, found an EXTRA bowl for it at a thrift store... less than $. Last summer bought a yard sale bread machine... cuz it looked like it was never even out of the box, had all the instructions/recipes, and was CHEAP. When I tired of it, donated to a thrift store. Found a HUGE messa Feistaware at a yard sale last spring/summer. Spent $50... WAY more than I thought I'd ever spend at a yard sale. BUT came home with 12 dinner plates, 12 mugs, 12 salad/sandwich plates, something like 16 soup/cereal bowls and a few other odd pieces... creamer/sugar set and gravy boat. NO chips and microscopic evidence that they were even used.
Have purchased actual food at slightly odd places. Have purchased condiments/pickles at Dollar Store. Dates on packaging were good, stuff made in US, etc. Have a store called "Ollies" sorta in my area... stop in anytime I'm in the area. Kind of an odd-lot, irregular, discontinued kinda place. Have purchased several different extra virgiin olive oils there that have been very flavorful... from Italy/Spain. Don't have a Home Goods in my immediate area so stop in whenever I'm in the neighborhood. Have purchased evoo (man, I HATE that expression, but it was quicker) purely becasue of the BOTTLE... no fails yet. Was in a Dollar produce store in my area a few hours ago. Some of their stuff can be a little less than perfect, some $1 items not really a good deal, but 3 bell, red or yellow pepper for a buck works for me. Today there was a good sized jar of pickled veggies... little carrots, white asparagus, artichoke hearts and peas... all arranged fancy in an interresting jar. Figured for a buck... not much to lose.
If you're a yard saler like me, what are the BEST food/kitchen related finds you've ever made? And what actual food have you purchased in non-traditional places... maybe even soley becasue of container/packaging?