Observations From A Garage Sale

June 14, 2010
Garage sale
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I had a garage sale this weekend, actually it started last Thursday and ran through yesterday. Well, sort of yesterday. By Sunday I had had it and opened my garage just long enough to move everything around so I could get my car back into the garage. Anyway, that is why I have been MIA for the last week. Sorry, I will be around more this week.

Garage sales are a shit load of work in case you have never had one.

My neighbor was the one who started the whole garage sale thing. Not the WHOLE garage sale thing but the garage sale thing in my neighborhood this past weekend. She convinced me and another neighbor that it would be a good thing if we had multiple garage sales. She was right but still, it wasn’t my idea.

The people who shop garage sales are freaks.

Not the ones who just happen on a garage sale and pick up an item or two, but the ones who knock on your door because they want to be the first one to pick through all your stuff that is basically junk.

The worst part about these people is that they want to bargain. I didn’t price anything over $1, I wanted to get rid of my crap and I didn’t want to negotiate. They did.

I had a pair of brand new leather Harley Davidson riding boots that cost me over $100, for sale for $1 and yet someone wanted to bargain them down to 50 cents! And they wanted to do this bargaining on the first day in the first five minutes.

I told them no thank you. I wanted that extra 50 cents dammit.

I had a woman show up in a Mercedes sporting diamonds and designer clothes looking for cheap furniture so she could stage her basement for the sale of her house. If I’d had anything that could have been used for the purpose I would have gladly bargained with her but I didn’t think she wanted an over sized chair that my son found on the boulevard that had been sitting in my garage for the last year.

She didn’t.

I told her to go to Ikea, which she did.

Most of the people who came to the garage sale were women, heavily tattooed women. All very nice but some were missing teeth.

I don’t understand the men in this world who wear dress shirts with sweat pants, and there are a lot of them, at least at garage sales. What’s wrong with throwing on a t-shirt? Why a dress shirt? Are they news anchors or something? I’m confused.

There are people in this world who think it is all about them. I can’t tell you how many people drove through the alley, parked their car in the middle of the alley and then left their car door open while they shopped. I was hoping one of the many many cars that wanted to get past them would take off their car door but in Minnesota we don’t roll that way. We wait patiently until the horribly selfish person, who is obviously not from Minnesota, finishes and leaves.

For the last four days I have done nothing but stand in my garage talking to strangers. I haven’t had time to write, I haven’t had time to read. I have mounds and mounds of laundry and the dishwasher has needed to be emptied for the last three days. I desperately need to go to the grocery store.

The garage sale was not a huge hit, it rained the whole time. People still came to it but I’m sure if it had been sunny I would have gotten rid of a lot more junk.

I’m off to the Goodwill today.

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  • Reply moooooog35 June 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I had a garage sale once and now I have to park my car in the street.

    Thank you. I'm here all week.

  • Reply JD at I Do Things June 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    My mother-in-law just took part in a neighborhood-wide garage sale. She cleared $300! I don't know if there were any tattooed, toothless women in attendance. I'll ask her when I see her.

  • Reply Comedy Plus June 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I've never had a garage sale and I never will. You've just explained why. If I've got stuff (junk) I just take it to Goodwill in the first place. Less work and then I'm off to the boat for the weekend.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

  • Reply MikeWJ at TooManyMornings June 14, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Hah, sounds like you won't be having another garage sale soon. Still, you say you had heavily tattooed women missing teeth and looking for cheap leather motorcycle boots at your sale? Where do you live, because this sounds like my kind of neighborhood.

  • Reply Surfie June 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Yes, garage sale people are notoriously cheap. I have never had my own yard sale for this reason. I'd rather give it away to Goodwill than have someone try to get it for a nickel because they're too cheap to pay the dime I'm asking. And you know that person wanting the boots for fifty cents were probably going to turn around and sell them on eBay for $50.

  • Reply Pricilla June 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    We are going to have to have one when we empty out the trailer and move into the yurt. There is a crapload of well, crap that we won't need in the yurt.
    I have been trolling yard sales lately to try and find some things I need for the yurt.
    It is not good to troll yard sales in a poor town.
    Not good at all.

    • Reply Margaret (nannygoats) June 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      I would say that you said “yurt” so many times in that comment that it doesn't sound like a word any more, except that to me, it didn't sound like a word in the first place.

      • Reply Pricilla June 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm

        I should have edited my yurts. I'm tired from moving stuff into the yurt.

  • Reply Margaret (nannygoats) June 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I don't get that whole garage sale behavior either with the wanting to be first and picking through your stuff BEFORE it starts and trying to talk you down at the beginning of the day. I always tell people to come back later if they don't want to pay $1.00 at the beginning of the day. Because I want that extra 50 cents for that hundred dollar item too!

  • Reply themother June 14, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    We can't get one of our cars in the garage, either, but it's mostly kids' paraphernalia. I guess I can't sell that…

  • Reply cardiogirl June 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Wow, tattooed women, eh? That's frightening and cool at the same time. I cannot believe someone tried to whittle you down to 50 CENTS! Damn.

    I was gonna use the politically incorrect religious phrase as a verb, but since I am not of that denomination it is not okay for me to do so. I am a quarter Polish, though, so I can tell you a Polak joke if you want.

    I can sense you nodding your head yes, you do want to hear a Polak joke. So here you go.

    A Polish guy wins a brand new sports car in a contest so he drives around town waving at the rednecks. One day the rednecks stop him, they draw a circle in the dirt and say, “If you step out of that circle, we'll kick your ass.”

    Then they pick up hammers and start busting up his new car. They look back at him and he's smiling. They hit the car some more, look back and see him laughing his head off.

    So the rednecks walk over to him and ask, “Why are you laughing, we just busted up your car.”

    He says “I know, but I stepped out of the circle NINE times.”

  • Reply Linda R. June 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    My family had a yard sale many years ago on a very hot September day. I made a little bit on some of my stuff. It is amazing what some people want. We used to go to auctions, or I should say my parents went to auctions and I went with them. Anyway, sometimes something they wanted came with a “lot” that included all kinds of junk. But it was all for one price so they got it. Most times the junk box stuff was more interesting to me than what they were bidding on. I found an old reading lamp that fit over the headboard. I sold that for a dime.

    I'd love to have one to get rid of some of our “treasures”, but as you have discovered, it's just too much work.

  • Reply meleahrebeccah June 14, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    yep. you just explained exactly WHY I will NOT host a garage sale!

  • Reply peedee June 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I consider garage sales a necessary evil that must occur once every two years. Either that or I'll end up on an episode of Hoarders. One good thing is I always make $500 for new stuff!!

  • Reply GuiltyMother June 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I've had a couple of garage sales and am usually left wondering why I bothered.

    You set out all this crap you've been hoarding for far too long, spend an age putting it out in an orderly fashion so that it is easy to see; you waste time putting price stickers on and then every blighter moves it all around, drops it on the floor and tries to negotiate their way out of spending an extra $1 on a perfectly functioning, albeit daisy painted, fridge freezer.

    Plus, despite insisting you have no intention of opening your door before 8am, the street becomes lined with bargain hunters, waiting with eager anticipation the moment they hear the creak of the garage door. Some are even rude enough to turn up an hour earlier in order to rummage through your belongings, banging on the door and demanding to be let in like some kind of deranged zombie.

    Then after all the fun, you clutch the $4.75 you made, pack it all back up into boxes and traipse to the nearest hospice shop to donate it to.

    I'll probably have another one in the Spring.

    By the way, what the hell is a yurt?

  • Reply Nicky June 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Jen, I have a little secret to making a garage sale more enjoyable. Now, don't tell anyone, but it's called “alcohol”. The trick is to be on your second screwdriver or mimosa by the time the first customer arrives. By lunchtime, you're trying to haggle them down to 50 cents. Be warned though, you may mistakenly sell off something you didn't mean to sell off, like the car or a kid, but you don't really see the downside to that until the next morning.

  • Reply Linda Medrano June 15, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Garage Sales fascinate me. I love the things like the old used electric rollers for 75 cents. (I mean, does anybody actually buy stuff like that?) My neighbor had one and told me if I had anything to sell to put it out there. I had a couple of little things but don't think either of them sold. One was a lamp. I think I wanted $2 for it, and it even worked. Not a bargain. I bought a really pretty salt and pepper shaker at a garage sale. I use them all the time. My friend from Australia was here visiting and wanted to know if it was common for Americans to sell their garages.

  • Reply Mike June 15, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Some people have no shame when it comes to garage sales. If you priced anything for a penny they'll try to get you down to half that as well. Hell, I would have bargained UP for the moto boots.

  • Reply Katherine Murray June 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    How much did you make how much did you make? I know someone who made 500 bucks. They must have had a TON of stuff. Every year there is a neighborhood garage sale that my daughter loves. She goes off with her friend to a few neighbors houses and comes back with gifts. This year she gave me a puka shell necklace. A man's puka shell necklace. And it looks dirty and sweaty. I smiled and told her how beautiful it was and put it on. Later I took it off and she hasn't noticed it's absence since… phew!

  • Reply SuziCate June 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I did one yard sale (and also hosted one for Scouts) and never again. Seriously, people will try to negotiate a $1 (that is actually worth $30) down to 25cents, and storm out infuriatedif you don't give in. Much easy to run to Good Will. Funny about the sweat pants and dress shirts!

  • Reply babs (beetle) June 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Yard sales is not something that happens here (except for kids selling their toys sometimes) What we have is 'Boot Sales', which started off by people driving to a field somewhere and selling stuff from the boot of their cars. It very quickly became more organized and many people started setting up stalls. They actually make a living out of it too.

  • Reply Corrina June 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Once a year, in my city, homeowners can put all of their unwanted crap at their curb for pick up (furniture, clothes, old appliances, whatever) and before the trucks can even come and get it, a buttload of crazy strangers will have picked through, and left a complete disaster out of, the once neat pile. A yard sale sounds like a much better option. 🙂

  • Reply Langfordtools June 16, 2010 at 4:37 am

    It's sad but that's the way most “bargain” shoppers are. If you were giving the boots away, they would ask you to pay them to take them off your hands….how ironic.

  • Reply Seafoodpunch June 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    haha. I know how you feel. I didnt realize how many crazies there were in the world until i worked retail in schaumburg, IL for a few months. I quit the day someone decided to take a sh*t in the dressing room…

    The old ladies telling me to “JUST PUSH A BUTTON” to give them a discount didnt help either. THere's no magical discount button, lady! god…some people are so cheap.

  • Reply Kelly June 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I found that if I don't actually put prices on anything and someone offers me something, it's generally at least a dollar, because nobody has change in their pockets. Also, the earlier the better. When I started at 6am I had tons of people, but when I got lazy and started at 10 all the garage sale hunters were done and didn't stop by. Then I had to dump everything at Goodwill.

  • Reply dcr June 17, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I hate holding garage sales. Thankfully, there's eBay now. And craigslist.

    Don't like strangers rifling through my stuff. Not happy with the ones that think that everything in the garage that isn't nailed down is for sale, even if it's covered with old sheets or blankets or even marked with signs that say “Not for sale.” Just stay home and bid on eBay.

  • Reply GDad June 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I have a standing rule now that if GPop brings anything home from a garage sale, I will kick him out and change the locks. Also, if he suggests having a garage sale, I reply that I'd rather take all of the stuff and burn it in the yard.

    Needless to say, I refuse to shop at garage sales.

  • Reply Concrete Floor Polishing MIAMI October 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

    We wait patiently until the horribly selfish person, who is obviously not from Minnesota, finishes and leaves.

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