One man’s junk is another man’s treasure – it has become a phenomenon that’s sweeping the land. Just turn on the television and you can find several programs dedicated to showing scavengers rousting people in their home so they can haggle for an old Schwinn bicycle. Yah, I watched some of this so-called entertainment and always root for the person that is oblivious why some city slicker wants to purchase his old rusted water pumper lying in a field of cow dung.
Garage sales give credence to this treasure hunting mania, which appears to be a habitual event for shopping junkies. My wife and I never staged a garage sale and always felt inclined to donate our tired unwanted belongings. We decided it was high time we get in on some of this cold hard cash. Maybe our junk was going to set off a bidding war between two crazed drooling shopaholics. Maybe I was going to finally get a taker for the National Geographic’s that were stockpiled for this very moment.
We planned the big event by going through all of the years of horded and stowed away clutter that we thought we could part with. This took days and days to accomplish because of the second thoughts on belongings such as things I bought off late night television. It is hard to admit that I got suckered in to buying the “Ab-Rocket”. My abdominal muscles didn’t turn into a washboard and I still can’t take my shirt off in public. My wife can’t seem to part with shoes. The deal with women and shoes is not something that men can comprehend just like they don’t understand why we love cars, boats, tools, guns, gadgets, cigars, booze and floozy women.
The day arrives and it’s early, real early, pitch dark early. We haven’t gotten out of bed yet and we hear a knock at the door. The dogs are barking and I stagger to the door in my underwear. Standing there is a bright-eyed couple and they politely ask me if the garage sale is open for business. I guess we under estimated the start time and 9am is not going to work. So for future reference we must consider the 5am crowd.
We scurried out of bed and went to work on our garage sale extravaganza.
As we were setting out items for sale, shoppers were already sifting through our stuff like prison guards. I had big plans to organize and display our wares for maximum curb appeal. There wasn’t going to be any curb appeal here, it looked like a tornado scattered our belongings all over the yard.
Unbeknownst to me was the pile of my old shirts that went up for sale and got snatched up by a savvy shopper. In that stack of shirts was my beloved flag football jersey with my name professionally printed on the back. There were many of storied and glorious moments tied to that jersey. Now some kid is going to walk around town impersonating me and taking credit for my heroics. Along with my treasured football shirt was a 1981 Rolling Stones concert shirt. I don’t remember much from the show and if I wear it my gut hangs out the bottom, but it was a sentimental reminder of youth and blowing all of my dough.
What we soon found out in garage sale negotiating is that almost every bid starts out at twenty-five cents. It didn’t matter if it was an old car alternator or a blender, the customer was first reaching in their pocket for spare change. If we turned down their offer for the loose change, they would next whip out a dollar bill like they were really sweetening the deal. This went on all day and we learned really quickly that never put a price tag on your items. If you do, that means you would be lucky to get half of the asking price. If the customer walked away from our counter-offer, we usually caved in to these sharks and their high-pressure sales tactics.
The garage sale came to a close when we sold almost everything including a box of used wooden soup bowls. My wife said, “give me a dollar and its all yours.” My wife turned out to be quite the Monty Hall. I didn’t get a buyer for the National Geographics, but I did get a lot of lessons in haggling, wheeling and dealing, and the fine art of garage sale negotiating.