Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Notes from a garage sale

I love a garage sale. Shopping at them, sure, but having one at my house is my idea of fun. I know that this is pure insanity to some people, and I begin to even question myself when I'm inevitably up at midnight the night before feverishly pricing things, but I LOVE it. You get to sit outside and accept money for your old stuff all day long. How great is that?

The garage sale I had this past Saturday was a doozy. I was selling most of the clothes the kids have outgrown, as well as a lot of my old clothes, bedding, kitchen stuff, housewares--just everything that we don't use anymore (or never used in the first place) (oh, you know you have that stuff too) (yes you do--what about the waffle maker?) We borrowed 8 tables and two huge hanging racks from the church to put it all on. Again I say, how do people who don't have a home church survive in this world? I was out front before 6 AM, fully set up a little after 7 AM, and the last customers left at, astonishingly enough, 4:45 PM. During this time, I was allowed a unique glimpse into some fascinating human behaviors. Here are some of my observations:

- There is NO way to determine if something will hold value to someone else or not. We sold 2 DVD players that were broken, and marked as such, very quickly. I had some crystal pieces that we never used for sale for next to nothing, and no one touched them.

- Men love to play with stuff. We had a Diaper Champ out that drew men like flies. A Diaper Champ, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know, is a tall, garbage-can like thing that holds used diapers in a relatively odor-proof manner. Here's what it looks like:

Not a single man all day failed to go over and fiddle with this thing. I think they couldn't figure out what it was. Once my friend Autumn, who was helping me, noticed the trend, we laughed more and more each time it happened.
- While we're talking about men, never let one tell you they don't like a garage sale. We had lots of guys come with their wives, and though they made sure everyone heard them complain about being out "garage sale-ing", they looked around and bought more than the ladies.
- Parents who do not watch their children at garage sales should be shot.
- Having a cute 4 year old sell donuts for a quarter each is a GREAT marketing tool. Abby sold out of 3 dozen and could have sold more. Next time we're going to have juice and cokes, and perhaps a small breakfast buffet.
- Some people are just cheap, and they should NOT be accomodated. I sold bibs for ten cents each. I had some like-new, really nice bibs, and some not-so-new, not-so-nice bibs. Inconsistent, maybe, but they were a DIME for heaven's sake! A woman snidely pointed out that some were stained, and wouldn't I take less? I thought briefly about charging her 7 cents each and making her do the math, but finally just politely but firmly told her no. 20 minutes later I sold the entire stack for the full 10 cents each.
- If your garage door is up, they will come. We started trying to pack up a little before 3, but people kept coming and looking through things. I wasn't about to tell them to leave if they were going to buy stuff, so I'd stop and wait. It was almost 5 before there was enough of a break for us to get everything in the garage and close the door. I was half afraid that someone would ring the bell to see if we had anything left.
- I have WAY too much stuff. When you have a garage sale, and you sell a lot of stuff and make a lot of money, but over half your stuff is still left, you have too much stuff. Since everything is priced and ready, I've decided to repeat this event in the spring. I figure, what do I have to lose? I'll probably make some more cash, and besides--the Diaper Champ didn't sell and it will be fun to watch the guys try to figure it out again.


Anonymous said...

I might have an idea about the diaper thing and men. Here goes; Just like male dogs like to explore and stake out their territory. So do men at a garage sale. While the wives are shopping for wife things, this gives them a chance to look around, they see this diaper thing and think they've come across something new! They've usually never seen one before and therefore have to check it out, not knowing the garage sale operators are laughing at their expense. They take the top off and generally poke around thinking it's some new kind of thing to hold basketballs or something similar. When all of a sudden their wives tell them what it is and they walk away and act as if they were checking it out for the little wife.

Men, you can't live with them and you can't laugh without them! It's just a theory.

The one and most important thing to remember about all this man stuff is at least they come with their wives to the sale to begin with! Used to be, men didn't go to garage sales at all!! Maybe things should go back to the way they used to be.

Anonymous said...

I love having yard sales too. I have one at least twice a year. Maybe we could do it together next summer or spring....I may have some boy clothes you might want to buy!!!

Beata said...

Well said.