I’m awake. One minute before my alarm. My wife is not. Headed to the bathroom.
My wife is up and somehow already downstairs. She has not had coffee.
We’ll call this the “before” shot. Which one is not the morning person?
The first shopper shows up for our 7:00 start time. “Don’t let me get in your way,” he says. Don’t worry dude, I’ll just carry this table around you. Buy our stuff.
The day of our yard-sale-slash-great-purge-of-2014 came last Saturday. We had five folding tables worth of stuff, boxes on the ground, stuff on the sides, stuff stuff stuff. People were shopping for over 20 minutes and we were still pulling more and more items out of the garage.
The combination of our witty, simple, yet effective Craigslist and newspaper ads (“Come buy our stuff!”) and my wife’s penchant for fine poster skills made our yard sale the most hoppin’ place to be in the greater Moore/Duncan area. Our cul-de-sac looked like a used car parking lot and I even threatened to start selling off the cars.
Yard sales are a great opportunity to people watch. At least, I think some of them were people. Here are a few of the characters we encountered.
Brass Knuckle Tattoo: Yeah, Brass Knuckle Tattoo was a chick. The tat was very strategically placed smack in the middle of her thigh. The baby in the stroller she was pushing is going to love having friends over to her house one day. BKT hung out for a while, but didn’t buy anything. I don’t think we had much that matched her look.
All-Change Woman: I have no problem getting change. It adds up just fine. But, this one woman pulled out all her dimes on purpose. I’m not sure if she didn’t like the price, but she passed up several larger bills en route to making our cash box jingle-jangle. Thanks for always giving me something to count All-Change Woman.
Buy it Anyway Guy: The conversation went a little something like this:
“How about $5?”
“Well, this is $20 brand new and it’s still in the package. How about $15?”
“I don’t really need it.”
“OK, thanks for coming.”
“Oh, what the heck. I’ll take it anyway.”
Urine Stank Lady: Elizabeth and I both started freaking out when we caught a whiff of something. We both asked, “did the cat pee on something out here?” We sniffed around our garage, the driveway, looked in boxes and came up with nothing. But, there was one common denominator. Urine Stank Lady. I don’t know what kind of Irish Spring she was washing in, but I want no part of it. Much like Pigpen or the Pied Piper of Pee, once she was gone, the smell followed.
La Abuela Española: She will do her best to talk you down from your starting price…in another language. We usually have phases at our yard sale. The early birds, the old folks, the people with kids, but mid-morning is usually the time we see the Hispanic families. They all come together and file in with multiple vehicles. The families are as kind as can be and buy a good bit from us each time, but I’m relatively certain that the grandmother of the bunch relies on her language deficiency as a bargaining tool. I speak Español un poquito. I used my Spanish on mission trips and managed to get by pretty well. I know I answered her pricing questions efficiently in her main language. It wasn’t that hard to tell her that each pair of women’s shoes cost “dos.” Still, she cocked her head to the side, looked at her daughter and asked her for the price instead. We did this with four pairs of shoes. She paid uno.
Buys Nice Things Lady: Buys Nice Things Lady is a recurring character at our yard sales. We know three things about her. She has three kids. She has a daughter in college. She buys nice things. Anytime we have a designer brand by the time she arrives late morning, we know she will buy it. Some people will ONLY buy our really used, really crappy stuff. Like a nasty bed pillow with my head grease all over it or one utensil out of set of four. These people avoid anything name brand, even though it is in great condition and priced no differently than the rest of our stuff. But not Buys Nice Things Lady. She knows what she wants. Sometimes she wrinkles her nose almost like she doesn’t really want to buy something or doesn’t really know what it is, but she knows. That’s just her way of bargaining. But, this year, Buys Nice Things Lady wasn’t there. We were pretty let down. We had a lot of nice stuff for her that went to the thrift store. We were counting on you, Buys Nice Things Lady. You heartbreaker.
Trophy Husband: I know this because that’s what it said on his shirt.
$1-the-Next-Day-Guy: Our yard sale was Saturday. On Sunday I was trying to take a nap and heard the doorbell. A guy drove all the way back here because he remembered seeing something that he should have bought for a friend. The item was a brand new swaddling blanket for $2. He asked if we had it and we managed to pull it out of the thrift store stuff so my wife could consign it. She retrieved it from the garage and handed it to him. He gave us $1. No negotiation, just $1. He was so charming we hardly noticed. Perhaps I was caught off guard because he was wearing the shirt I sold him yesterday. It looked way better on him. Dang.
Bought-a-Free-T-shirt-Guy: $1-the-Next-Day-Guy has an alter ego as one who pays money for things that others got for free. I’d like to thank the chiropractor in Port Orange, Florida for giving me that shirt at that festival thing that one time. I got fifty cents for it. Boo-yah. I also gave a $50 shirt to the thrift store. Whatever, I sold a free shirt.
Second-Grader-Who-Bought-Shot-Glasses: Yep, I sold two shot glasses to a second grader. What? Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I bundled in a bottle of Jack Daniels. We haven’t consumed any alcoholic beverage in many years, but we still had beer, wine and cocktail glasses that were given to us at our wedding or accumulated in wilder times. Our neighbor’s daughter came over to shop at our yard sale and wanted to get her mom something. So she left with a set of earrings and two shot glasses. I’m guessing she thought they were small, cute cups. Hey, a buck is a buck, right? (*Side note, I also gave her a beach ball and nearly passed out from blowing it up as a way to make myself feel better about selling shot glasses to a first grader.)
At the end of the day we made
$561.45 $554.29 plus two Sonic milkshakes and significant progress toward paying off the car and minimizing the amount of stuff we owned. We took a Jeepload (standard unit of measure) to a local thrift store, so we have a decent write-off coming our way. We have sold a shelf and a chair on Craigslist and have more things posted on eBay, Amazon and Facebook.