A couple weekends ago, two friends and I had a garage sale. They had moved in together and, while combining two households, needed to unload about half a house. And me, I'm also moving. Into a house that is smaller than my current house, and also out of not one but two storage units filled with this and that. Some of this and a whole lot of that had to go.
Why do I somewhat habitually participate in garage sales in the unbearably hot and humid month of June? Why doesn't someone just drop a safe on my head the next time?
Garage sales always sound like a good idea at the time the idea arises. Visions of cash ran through our heads. Visions of more space ran through our heads. It's the vision of all that work and the heat and the negotiating over prices that escaped my mind. The week before, we painted signs. The night before, I advertised the sale on Craigslist. That morning, I eagerly got up before the sun, filled myself with caffeine, reposted the sale on Craiglsist, hammered colorful signs in the medians and stapled them to telephone poles. The sun barely up, we unraveled tarp and unpacked box after box after box AFTER BOX of stuff. So much stuff, collected in our lives like the accumulation of dust on the shelf or in my life like Cheyenne's hair under my bed. We had shoes, boots, clothes, mirrors, frames, vases, dishes, books, bed linens, towels, appliances, speakers, glasses, Christmas lights, etc. Boxes and boxes of etc. Not to mention the furniture. We set up four tables and hung clothes on heavy line strung along the fence. We also set up a tent and offered ice cold lemonade for fifty cents a cup. For seven hours in the blazing sun, we worked our garage sale and sweated ourselves into filthy, stinky messes barely resembling the people we were at 6:00 that morning.
During the morning, we met a handful of nice people, in particular the father who bought the chess board for his son who collects them, and the mother and daughter who were shopping for items for the daughter's first apartment.
We also had our fair share of the not so nice people. More than once, someone stole from us. Who does that? Well, I could point both women out in a crowd and those are just the two that I know. Although, happily, I caught one in the act and upon confrontation, she was all too happy to pay for the earings she'd just put in her purse and the necklace she thought she'd just wear on out of there.
Lastly, we had the something for nothing crowd. Our prices were not only below reasonable, they were great deals. $30.00 mirror? Five bucks. $40.00 dress, never worn and with price tag still attached? Two bucks. But whatever it was we were asking, more often than not our customers started their negotiating at fifty percent. Whether it was a dress for $2.00, a pair of boots for $3.00, or an antique dresser and two nightstands for $250.00. I can appreciate someone who asks if we'll take $18.00 for something priced at $20.00. That's a decent offer and the answer was usually yes. But $10.00 for something priced at $20.00? Or worse, $1.00 for something priced at $2.00, or oh yes it did so happen, fifty cents offered for something on the one dollar table? No, No, NO. Come back later and if it's still here, then we can negotiate.
Garage sales have a way of temporarily making me angry with the human race in general, except for that nice man and the mother and daughter.