16 September, 2006

Why I'm Dreaded My Yard Sale

This is only the third yard sale I've participated in as an adult. In the two weeks since we've known about it I've been thinking of it solely in the realm of the possible cash we'll net and the clean spare-bedroom closet we'll be left with. The magical thinking of my happy little mind completely skipped over the heavy cardboard boxes and piles of price-tag labels as if they were a high school cafeteria vegetable medley.

Now here I sit, mere moments from the (too early) arrival of the first Professional Yardsaler of the day. I'm steeling myself against the inevitableness of the next 8 hours.

If the past is any indication, our first customer will look like a cuddly grandparent but act like an IRS agent-slash-appraiser. Expensive leather photo albums that I'm selling for $3.00 (they retail for about $28) will be manhandled and scorned. Grandma Herbert Hoover will then look at me and say "I'll give you five dollars for 3 of these."

I fell for that the last time we did this. I was so enchanted by the thought of someone handing me a five dollar bill for some crap out of my spare bedroom that I said "sure!" This time I know better. This time I'm biting my tongue so I don't say what I want to say.

So I'm allowing myself to say here what I can't say to the people in my driveway this morning.

1. This is not Marrakesh. I've already priced these things ridiculously low. I've already dickered with you in my head and put my rock-bottom price on the tag. Suck it up.

2. Honestly, if you cannot come up with a full dollar for that brand new package of $12 stationery then just walk away. I won't starve if you don't give me a buck.

3. Why would I sell you my lawnmower? Look around, Oppenheimer. Do you see even one other mower in this garage? Better yet, look at that lawnmower. See how it's pushed back behind several shelves, has a smattering of grass clippings stuck to it and has no price tag? Those are all firm indicators that it is not for sale.

4. I know you've been to my neighbours' houses already. I know one house in particular puts their literal actual physical garbage out and asks outlandish prices for it. I understand that you don't want to pay $10 for a child's old push toy, especially when the handle is broken and you can reach in and pull the little pop-up balls out from the plastic dome. But the stuff I've put out is good retail merchandise that I have from when I worked in that industry. Don't act like I'm a draconian money changer for asking more than a quarter apiece.

5. I hate you.

6. If you have to wear one of those allergy masks, then maybe going to yard sales shouldn't be your primary hobby. Things at yard sales can be dusty. I myself have bad allergies. You can not con me into giving you things cheaper because you "feel an attack coming on."

7. Seriously. I hate you.

8. This yard sale ends at 2:00. Your chances of me dickering on price are greatly increased if you are here at 1:30 and I don't feel like hauling the boxes of stuff back upstairs. It is now 5:30 am. This is a dicker-free zone.

There. I feel better. I'm still probably going to end up selling things for dumb prices. But at least in my head I'm happy.

UPDATE Just look at that title. What?!? Lovely "pick whatever tense you want" writing, huh? What can I say? It's 4:00 in the morning. And Blogger doesn't have a Grammar check. Not that I'd use it if it did. Speaking of grammar check, you know who's always finding the grammatical errors in my post? My mom. And she's a grandma. So it cracks me up that I get a real Gramma Check from time to time. Gramma, trust me. You can try and try but I'll never be able to learn the difference between lay and lie. (See! It rhymes!)


At 7:35 AM, September 16, 2006, Anonymous sista said...

I hate yard/garage sales. I hate them. I will not go to them nor will I have any. I had one once. Never again. I'd rather give the stuff to an organization that will give somebody a job.

I really, hate yard/garage sales.

At 8:00 AM, September 16, 2006, Blogger newscoma said...

I have a policy as I really love yard sales because you visit with people and look at their stuff, touch their stuff and then occasionally buy their stuff.
If it doesn't have a price tag, then I'm not buying it.
I have found pink flamingos at yard sales, a little tv lamp where a hillbilly pees and it spins to Ponce de Leon (a classy thing I assure you.)
As for having them. Nope.

At 8:43 AM, September 16, 2006, Anonymous brittney said...

I would buy your stationary for a dollar, K-Co.

At 9:53 AM, September 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katherine, I'm with you. I kept thinking of you last september when we had our last yard sale (nobody's getting in MY garage... no, that jointer isn't for sale. Don't make me break out the Red Rider).

The $300 we made was a nice balm, but it almost didn't make up for the fact that we had to put up with the Scary Garage Sale People. *Shudder*

Persevere. You'll have the green soon and can return to shouting at people who walk on your lawn.

Garage sales are penance for living the American Dream.


At 10:18 AM, September 16, 2006, Blogger John H said...

how much did you say you wanted for that lawn-mower??

When we moved from the great-Green-Hills area (albeit the poor side) from a larger house to a smaller house here in S-town, we had a grand-big-ass yard sale that was a major pain in the ass..we had tons of sh..stuff. After all was said and done, we made $50 stinkin' bucks and pretty much spent our profits haulin' off all the crap that was left that we didn't wanna move..

I'm either giving it all away if this ever happens again, or I'm burning it up in an illegal-but-fun bonfire or i'm putting it out with signs begging people not to steal it..maybe THAT would work!

At 1:28 PM, September 16, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

After today I think I'm in Sista's camp.

These may be fun to go to but hosting them....

not so much.

At 1:33 PM, September 16, 2006, Blogger Malia said...

I'm glad I'm not the only who has the lay/lie grammar issues!

I don't hate the actual yard/garage sale, I hate the preparation. If someone would come in, tag all my stuff and set it up for me, I'd happily sit back, negotiate with people, enjoy the day and count my money! But I'd probably have to pay someone to do that and then I'd be in the hole!

At 8:59 AM, September 18, 2006, Blogger grandefille said...

At the last yard sale we had, some yokel who looked like Tommy Lee showed up at 6:15 a.m., strode past the items we had priced and displayed under the carport, *jumped our big locked gate* and headed straight for our storage barn because he "wanted to see what kinda good sh*t y'all got out there for sale."

I followed him halfway out to the barn with my trusty aluminum Louisville Slugger and escorted him back out to the road, pleasantly informing him that if I ever saw him anywhere near our neighborhood again, he would indeed see some good sh*t -- his own, beaten out of him.

No, I was not nice that day.

Some people are frickin' crazy, and what little money you make on a yard sale is not worth the risk of having to post bond. We take our clean items in good shape to Goodwill or the domestic violence shelter or save them for whatever fund-raising event comes up. Gaaah.

(Disclaimer: I did stop by a neighbor lady's yard sale early this summer and score two excellent large silk trees for $5 each for the home and office. But I only stopped because she had them right out beside the road and I'd been pricing some at the store the day before. Love my trees.)


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