Would you take 50 cents for this?

No matter what you call it, I wish it was over.

It’s yard sale season. You might know it as garage, tag, rummage, or everything-but-the-dog (well, okay, the dog, too) sale season.

I’m not a fan of these anything-above-40-degree events. Why? Because I’m involved in an all-weekend, community-wide yard sale this weekend. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and I’d rather go to an insurance sales convention than prepare for and endure one of these “popular” pasttimes.

Some buyers make you want to apologize for your stuff.

Buyers can be ruthless. They arrive at least one hour before the beginning of the sale and are peeved that I’m still in my PJs, trying to calm myself while pricing the last 50 itmes I didn’t get to when I called it quits at midnight. They scan your possessions with hawk-like accuracy, having watched every episode of Antiques Road Show and Pawn Stars. If they find something worthy to swoop in on, they feign disinterest. “Will you take 50 cents for this?” they offer, never speaking directly to me. “But it was my grandmother favorite urn and she’s still in it.” Patina is mentioned as if it’s supposed to mean something–a Russian urn expert, perhaps? “It’s not worth more than $1.00 and that’s my final offer.” “Okay?” Hey, I’m still half asleep and my grandmother had many favorite urns. They’re gone 45 minutes before the sale is supposed to begin. Okay, most buyers aren’t like this, but I remember these.

The ideal yard sale seller: happy, organized, and even has refreshments. I hate her.

Other sellers make me look bad. Their shelves are organgized and labeled better than WalMart. They even have Friendly Associates to greet people an hour before the sale starts with coffee and homemake snacks. Everything they’re selling looks brand new. I think they went out and bought it at Walmart just for the yard sale. They have official cash boxes delivered by and Brinks Security trucks and can make change for a $2,000 bill. And they seem relaxed.

How am I supposed to know what my junk is worth? I'm in the middle of a colon cleanse and can't be bothered to scan ebay for the 900 items I have to price by Thursday.

I don’t know the value of my stuff. Not true. I don’t care about the value as I am putting little yellow stickers on the sea of stuff that has become my living room. I will care when some astute yard-saler negotiates my grandmother’s urn down to 50 cents and it goes for $5,000,000 at a Sothebys auction. I’ll only know because some well-meaning friend who keeps abreast of these things will mention, “Hey, Lorna, I just read a story about a rare urn that can be traced back to Jesus. Didn’t you have an urn like that in your house?”

After a while, I lose interest in making things look tidy and organized. If you want it, you'll find it. Give me credit for getting it out and pricing it.

If you don’t hear much from me this week, now you know why. I’ll be sorting, spiffing up, pricing, and displaying the things that don’t fit in my life anymore. Hopefully most of my stuff will find a good home. If not, I hope the local Humane Society Thrift Shop has more room than I do.

~ by Lorna's Voice on July 11, 2011.

21 Responses to “Would you take 50 cents for this?”

  1. […] all made perfect sense. I don’t use buttons anymore, but I didn’t put them in my yard sale. I just never know when I’ll need that special button. Finding it in the black hole of my […]

  2. Thanks. The sale is looming large and I have just a few more items to sort and price. So what have I been doing all day? Writing! Woe is me…

  3. Lorna,

    I’m with you when you say, ” Someone may need it more than you”. It is my motto when it comes to “STUFF”. George Carlin was so funny when he did a skit on people and their stuff. It always comes to mind when I hesitate(which is rarely) on discarding something.

    BRAVO to you …. Hope you make lots of money.~~~~~ : – )

    Very Funny … Izzy

  4. Hey, I spent 3 hours this morning sorting and pricing. There’s only so much yard-sale stuff I can handle in a day when I get up at 4:00am! I promise I’ll do at least 2 more hours of heavy labor before the day is done, Mon Capitain!

  5. You need to focus on the task ahead of you. I’ll be there to help soon.

  6. You are a genius and a godsend to people like me. I predict that you will be wildly successful. I predict that I will be in the looney bin by Friday…

  7. We’re going to go one better. We will pick up your “priced” items, up to filling a 6 X12 trailer and merchandise and sell it for you. You pay a flat fee and 25% of sales. This would run for a weekend or even several weekends and you can get your unsold merchandise back (or not). So you could have a garage, yard, sidewalk, patio, etc. sale without participating past the point of pricing the stuff and loading it in a trailer.

  8. Brilliant! But if I have my way there will NEVER be a “next time!”

  9. Thanks! I need a whole lot of luck and the National Guard for help. Oh, what’s that you say? They are busy. Darn.

  10. Thanks so much! I’ll be happy when I can talk about this even in the past tense.

  11. There was a community yard sale on my street this week. I didn’t participate, other than as a shopper. We found my boyfriend an accoustic guitar, and I liked it MUCH better being on the other side of the table : ). Great post!

  12. Yard sales at a lot of work. They will never go out of style I am afraid. As they say, “Someone’s junk is another one’s treasure.” Good luck!

  13. Seriously. Now I know why my mom let me run a garage sale every year when I was in middle school and we just split the profit. She could give two-shits, and I was a fierce negotiator. Win-win. Outsource it to your neighbor’s kid next year!

  14. My ex-husband was a collector (hoarder). I lived in fear that he would watch one of those shows and say, “Hey, we have one of those, don’t we?” just after I’d thrown a whole bunch of stuff away after looking at it collect dust for 15 years. Oh well, I’ve always landed on my feet. If someone finds the rare treasure in my pile of “junk,” so bit it. They must have needed it more than me!

  15. I love the idea of having an indoor, A/C space for doing this kind of thing. Would you also have people to help the garage-sale-challenged (like me) to get their you-know-what together? Now that would be worth the price of admission!

    Wow, you made that much money and people had fun? Are you just trying to motivate me?

  16. I like your culture more and more. I should be sorting and pricing right now, but here I am–checking my blog! I really hate these things but I need to make more room in my condo…

  17. That is so funny–I make the same comment each time I go by one of those signs. “I wonder how much they want for that yard?” Al, were we separated at birth?

  18. This is and always has been one of the worst “truth-in-advertising” scams ever. I have been to hundreds of these and no one has yet agreed to sell me their garage or their yard. What good are laws if we ignore them?

  19. Haha I like garage sales but I am not type of the girl who would organize them! 🙂 Who knows maybe once in the future… I guess the reason is also that its just not in our culture to do this staff… 🙂

  20. Lorna,
    You need to read my story “I Can’t Believe The Music Stand Is Still Here.” Although your story is funnier, mine is about how to do it right. We didn’t go as far as snacks and drinks, but we thought about it. We grossed over $1,600 in our two weekend event. And it was only unk from our garage/house/yard. We had people leaving the sale saying they never had so much fun at a garage sale.

    I’m actually putting together a business plan for an indoor garage sale business. A “Garage Sale Emporium.” The store will be a bunch of 10X10 garages arranged on a street with driveways and alleys. You pay $20 for a space on the weekend and have your garage sale indoors in air conditioning. We’ll have ice cream carts roving around and hot dog carts.
    Also live music in a park setting. You have from Wednesday to Friday to set up. Whatta ya think?

  21. This is funny. Now i’m thinking that one needs to have been a sales person to organize a proper garage sale. I hope you don’t let go of anything that might be precious. I watch the Antiques Road Show on PBS and it’s amazing how many people show up there with items they bought at a garage or estate sale.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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