Saturday, May 03, 2008

One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure

I had a roomie once, who was black, and she insisted that one of the biggest differences between black people and white people was that black people would never buy other people's crap at yard sales.

I disagreed. I pointed out the owners of one McMansion who were hosting a yard sale, were indeed, African American. She pointed out that while the owners were black, everyone who visited their garage sale to buy their unwanted stuff, was white.

Whatever. No one can turn down a bargain. I don't care what color you are. It's like trick or treating for grown-ups.

Now, some people do have attitude against garage sales. I'm not one of those people. In my younger years, Mom and I used to get up BEFORE the butt-crack of dawn on a Saturday, and drive around town looking for the best bargain of the day. It was almost a sport. Get up too late, and all the good stuff is gone, and you are left picking over fake flowers, baby clothes, and 8-track tapes.

Today, the sprawling metropolis of Gardner had their city wide garage sale. Indy was also among the masses who was featuring a sale from their garage. So, Mom and I decided to pay him a visit and see what else we could find.

Gardner was crawling with bargain hunters, particularly Indy's cookie-cutter JoCo subdivision. We stopped by his place first, where he say perched at a table, eating from the largest bag of peanuts I have ever seen. After scoping his offerings (peanuts not included), Mom and I moved along to other houses.

My day's take included some snowman Christmas dishes, a John Grisham book, a caddy to use when I grill out. a Galileo thermometer, and probably the best item: a karaoke machine (which will come in handy when I entertain). Mom scored some tomato cages, a purple princess tree for Mr. Recommendation's daughter, a dryer plug, and some other odds and ends.

There are a couple peeves I have with some folks who host garage sales. One, would be people who only set out five items. No one is going to stop if you only have five items, because if you expect someone to go to the trouble of parking their cars and actually getting out, you'd better make it worth the effort. If you have so few items, make nice with a neighbor and see if you can add your crap with theirs.

Second, there are the people who are extremely proud of their crap. Realistic people have garage sales to get rid of the mountains of crap they have accumulated, to make room for more crap they will acquire in the future. Other people have garage sales in an effort to make money. You can tell this because they price used things close to what they paid for it brand new. They are very proud of their junk, and it shows with their pricing. Guess what? You're not going to get retail for your used George Foreman grill.

Another peeve would be those people who obviously put no effort into preparation. They just put their crap out in piles and boxes. Instead of any sort of organized sale, it looks like the garage took a binge, and then barfed it's contents all over the driveway.

You can always count on finding the same things at garage sales: barely used exercise equipment, odds and ends that were new in the 70's, and baby crap. If I had a baby, I could clean house...but I don't have a baby, so I'm not interested in the tens of thousands of car seats, as far as the eye can see.

At one point, I'm gimping down the sidewalk, relishing the purchase of something I will later think is the most retarded purchase ever, and I stumble over driveway, coming down hard on the bad wheel. Exquisite pain shot up my right leg and I let loose a string of profanities that would make Eddie Murphy blush. Bargain hunting was most decidedly over at that point. It wasn't until I got home and slammed my finger in a window, did I forget all about my knee pain.

I've been inspired by the garage sales to go and start preparing for my own. I have a ton of crap, as does Mom and Mr. Recommendation. We have decided to have our garage sales at the same time. If there is nothing better than a big garage sale, it's two big garage sales right next to each other.

And not one baby sock in sight!


Spyder said...

Maybe you should have looked for a cane or a walker.

Kristine said...

I was in Gardner Saturday! Not garage-saling but just driving through. Wish I'd seen you! I got a picture for my blog that cracked me up.

Nuke said...

Ugh, our city wide is (I believe) the 17th. My folks are supposed to be in town, and it will take them almost an hour to get the 4 miles from their hotel to my house.

I have talked to a couple of my friends, and it looks like we are passing on putting up a sale for the first time in 5 years. Which is good for me, because my corner lot on a major street would certainly have been the place to set up.

Oh, and Nuke's G-sale tip of the day... have a unique item that will generate interest and is visible from the street. Things like furniture, appliances, and the single best item ever a reconditioned saddle!

Faith said...

No baby socks at our garage sales either!

But I did sell my desk and chair to a lovely black family with a daughter heading off to college at our last sale.

And our kitchen table to another woman who blessed me so many times, I don't have to ever worry about getting into heaven again.

I also had a hispanic woman make fun of the size of my dresses I was trying to sell. I don't know much Spanish, but pretty much every white chick will understand what you mean when you say, "Muy grande!" as you hold the dress and look at it. I asked her to leave my yard. Bitch.