“You find a lot of strange people at a yard sale”

“if this was a rocking chair, I’d buy it”

Saturday, September 16, the Wife and the Daughter held a yard sale. It wasn’t MY event, because I hate them. I hate pricing; I would be terrible on The Price Is Right. I hate haggling, which is why I’ve never been to Turkey.

So I had nothing to do with this event. Well, except schlepping things from the house to the front yard, and putting up some last minute fliers. Oh, and placing a free online ad a half hour after the event started when I realized they had made no sales whatsoever.

There were what someone calls the “looky loos”, those folks who drive up in front of the house and immediately ascertain that you have nothing of interest to them.

But we did get people. There was the guy who wanted to know if we believed in taking down statues, a snarky comment about our neighbor’s yard.

Then there was the woman who asked if “that man” was blind. The man was me, and I was sitting on the porch, wearing my sunglasses, which I often do when I’m outside. I was occasionally reading the newspaper, but evidently not then.

The older guy in the Harley outfit, vest, no T-shirt, with a beard that those guys from Duck Dynasty would envy, actually expressed interest in the headboard and bed frame we wanted to sell. But his “low rider” car wouldn’t have accommodated the furniture. Did he have friends who could help? They’re all “losers” with either no license or no vehicle.

One item we did sell was a desk that once belonged to the Daughter. My wife had brought it home in our previous car, but it would not fit in our current automobile. Fortunately, the woman with her two small boys lived only a couple blocks away. We put it in a sturdy plastic wheelbarrow upside down, and the Daughter and I delivered it to their tiny apartment.

But the most interesting person was the woman walking down the street carrying her high heels and a mostly-consumed bottle of whiskey. She said he had no money. But a minute later, she sat in one of our chairs and asked, “Is this a rocking chair? Because if this was a rocking chair, I’d buy it.”

Then she proclaimed, “You find a lot of strange people at a yard sale. And I’m one of them.” She was correct.

As it turned out, the Wife and Daughter grossed about $57. After spending $30 on an ad which may have generated few sales, they split the $27. Then, we schlepped the unsold items back in the house, yet another thing I hate about the yard sale, fortunately aided by our friend Jon. The home furnishings we’ll donate to a Habitat ReStore, the books to the local PTA.

The yard sale

Another thing I hate about yard sales: dealers, who come an hour before the stated time, then harrumph when the stuff you have doesn’t meet their needs.

yardsaleLet me state that I generally hate yard sales, garage sales, and the like. Specifically:
*I don’t like going to other people’s sales, especially when they put out things that are, to quote Oscar the Grouch, everything “ragged and rotten and rusty.”
*I don’t like having our own sale, because it involved going through lots of our own stuff. It’s time-consuming and enervating.
And most of all:
*I HATE bringing back into the house the stuff we decided to sell, but it didn’t.

Yet we (OK, the Wife and the Daughter) agreed (and I accepted the decision) to have a yard sale on September 6. The logic of that date was that it would be after school began, but before the fall got going in earnest. Soccer began the following week, as were her tryout for the Nutcracker and rehearsal for the church play about the Beatles.

To make it better, we thought we’d get our neighbors to do the same, and two of them agreed. But we didn’t do much advertising, since we were busy with prep. In fact no ads or posters, until three days before the sale, when I placed a free ad on timesunion.com.

The Daughter was particularly motivated. Her room was not as tidy as it could be, because she had so much stuff she had never gotten rid of. Tantalized by making money, she suddenly found books and stuffed animals she no longer wanted; indeed, a few of the books I kept myself. She also sorted out clothes that no longer fit her.

That Saturday morning, one of the neighbors pulled out. They looked at the forecast, which suggested that it would rain in the middle of our 9-3 sale, and that wasn’t going to be viable. Sigh.

Another thing I hate about yard sales: dealers, who come an hour before the stated time, then harrumph when the stuff you have doesn’t meet their needs; we had three of them, one especially rude.

In the first half-hour, we had no one. In the first hour, we made about $1.50. But as the day went on, we did better. This was improved by the addition of my brother-in-law’s family driving nearly an hour to add their stuff to ours. Separate accounting, but still: more stuff makes it better.

I got rid of both of my old CD holders, which I never liked; they opened like accordions and took up too much floor space.

At the end of it all, we made close to $100. More importantly, we got rid of stuff, and the Daughter’s room is far cleaner. And while the Daughter was disappointed that almost none of her clothes sold, we’ll be giving them to someone who can use them, so it’s all good.

Still, it will be a LONG time before we have another one unless I can hire Eddie Mitchell to run it.

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