This weekend I was challenged by my own self-doubt, confronted by petty insecurities and reminded that the world is chock-full of diverse opinions.
No, I didn’t attend a self-help workshop or listen to a motivational speaker.
I had a garage sale.
Opening up your garage to the public affords you an amazing opportunity to reflect and marvel at human nature. Have you ever taken a moment to sit back and witness the human spirit tainted and fueled by the elusive “best deal ever?” Have you ever observed the roaming discount shopper and actually gazed into their wild eyes as they comb your driveway with a frenzied stare?
Well, I have. And it ain’t pretty.
Still riding on the success of the community 4th of July celebration, a few years ago my neighborhood decided to add an annual garage sale to its repertoire. A suburban neighborhood with two entrances and neon-pink “Community Sale” signs posted at each lures serial garage salers like a moth to a flame. This year’s sale was advertised to take place Friday and Saturday on what turned out to be the two hottest days of the year. Lucky me.
I should quickly insert here that I loathe garage sales, both holding them and shopping at them. I will go into more of that in a bit. But, given my overall distaste for the practice, my husband was able to convince me to participate only by agreeing to be my wingman. It was slightly less daunting knowing I wouldn’t be facing the wolves alone.
The night before the sale, about two minutes after I agreed to hold the garage sale, I was already regretting my decision. I had initially thought it would be a small affair given my obsessive compulsion to purge my home of all things unnecessary several times a year. I was very wrong.
I had so much crap.
If I didn’t know any better I would have sworn that someone had broken into my house and planted ridiculous candle holders and tacky picture frames in my closet. I have no memory as to how half of my possessions even got there and admittedly felt a teensy bit of shame at what I saw as an excessive attempt at home decorating. But, nevertheless, I started sticking price tags on all my tchotchkes and began the long process of organizing the junk.
Friday morning welcomed us early. Knowing that the sale began at 8:00a.m. Jeremy and I decided to get a jump on moving our merchandise to the driveway before people started entering the neighborhood. We headed out to the garage, coffees in hand, and hit the button to open the garage door.
There were cars lining the streets and women standing on the sidewalks sporting the requisite fanny pack and visor. At 7:30a.m.
It was going to be a long day.
And here’s where my own fear, loathing and insecurities come in. People can be so mean.
You see, there’s this mentality that attaches itself to some garage salers. They are out to get the deal of the century. They fully expect a markdown of no less than 115% of an item’s original value. Even if it’s brand new. And in the box. And really cool. They have no qualms with telling you in no uncertain terms that they can get that very same item two blocks away for at least .30 cents cheaper. And how dare you for not anticipating it being the year of Christmas place-mats and pricing accordingly. Quite simply, garage sales can bring out the worst in some people.
Allow me to list a few of the most frequently heard comments/questions over the weekend:
“Um…do you have any other clothes for sale?” Nope…my taste is truly that ridiculous.
“Man…they’re pretty proud of their coffee table, eh?” (snicker, snicker) That’s right…it’s very hard to part with this Target sauder table set. The $15.00 asking price will help numb the pain.
“Will you take $1.00 for this Swarovski Crystal candleabra?” (Okay, I made this one up as I have never owned Swarovski Crystal…or a candleabra for that matter. But, you get the picture.)
“You guys got anything else? Any power tools? Lawn mower? I mean…is this all you got?” Oh, no sir. We’ve got the really good stuff behind this curtain back here.
As you can see, I embraced a little humor to help me through the worst of it. I was emotionally and physically drained by the end of the first day. I barely managed to find the will to count our earnings, fully expecting to have somehow lost money in this endeavor. I sullenly pulled out the wad of cash and began counting. And counting. And counting.
Holy crap. We made $300.00!
Funny how a little green can raise even the lowest of spirits.
I can’t wait until next year.