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.
Funny. I hate garage sales too. So much so, that I “forgot” to get the permit from the city to have one this past weekend. My mom wants to wait until she moves out, so she can go through all her stuff and get rid of her crap too. 🙂 Gotta love family who stands behind you!
Definitely! And I barely let Jer get in a lunch break. That man sat outside at that garage sale for two days straight. Thank goodness. I needed a witness in case I was compelled to cause bodily harm to somebody. 🙂
Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says
We had a garage sale last year, did not sell anywhere near the amount of crap we hoped to sell (who didn’t want a Krups espresso/coffee maker for $10???)
But yes, the one that got me most was, “Do you have any other clothes?”
As if they were hoping I’d invite them in to peruse my closet.
Bargain hunters can certainly be ridiculous. I have no problems with finding a good deal (although I really suck at it) but I’ve seen a whole new level of humanity this weekend. Geesh. 🙂
You are very, very brave. But yes, walking away with a handful of smackeroos does make a big difference.
I need to do that next summer.
Remind me. 🙂
Will do. Maybe. Unless I get rich between now and then. And I’m so rich the idea of throwing a garage sale is entirely ridiculous. Then you’re out of luck. 🙂
I feel your pain, am so glad you got some green to ease it! I detest garage sales, giving them or shopping them,,,people are MEAN at them!
The fact that I was drinking a beer at 11:00 a.m. to calm my rattled nerves is very telling. 🙂
I was pretty impressed with our haul as well. As you can see from the picture, I shamelessly plugged my Web sites at the garage sale, and even sold a few PTO shirts.
Yep…my hubby is nothing if not inconspicuous…or shameless.
I love the ‘pop-up’ ads behind the checkout counter. I noticed that from our window. Excellent use of a shameless plug.
I hate garage sales. Hate to attend and to have one or participate. I cant stand haggling over something that’s a freakin quarter to begin with and I want to chase people to their cars yelling “What?” “My craps not good enough for you”?
Okay I guess I’m the only one…I love garage sales! Although i have never thrown one, so maybe there is a whole other side to it. I am not one of those hagglers, I have seen them and I think their behavior is awful. I think..if it has a price on it, then that is the price!
I do know why folks ask the dreaded question about more clothes. Generally at smaller sales their space is limited and sometimes they have boxes of clothes that there was no room for and didn’t make it out yet. I personally don’t buy clothes for myself at garage sales.
Glad you made all that money, made it worth while after all.
I agree. Garage sales are a PITA (our acronym for pain in the ….). I refuse to do them now. But then again, $300 sure sounds nice. But you spend so much time putting them together. And if you get rude comments like that…is it really worth it? I dunno, $300 might be worth a few crackpot comments.
Angelia Sims says
I hate garage sales too. I got ripped OFF. Seriously! The dude bought 2 t-shirts for $2 and gave me a $20. I gave him $18 dollars in change. As he drove away, and I fingered a very crispy bill. I realized, to my horror, it was PAPER money. They had just copied a twenty and cut it out. STUPID!!!
Haven’t had a rip-me-off sale since. Bet THEY made more than $300 that day. 🙂