Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Art of Garage Sales

Garage sales are just not my thing.

There I said it.

I understand why some people enjoy the experience. It is the thrill of the hunt. It's like an urban  safari and the weapons of choice are loonies and toonies. A giant Pokemon Go discovery/scavenger experience whereby the loot is real rather than virtual. There are treasures to be uncovered, bargains to be discovered, deals to be negotiated and consummated. 

Me? I simply don't enjoy that kind of procurement. I prefer to instead laser focus my purchases, attend to my needs in a timely fashion, and to not worry as to whether it works or has acquired bedbugs in a prior life. And...for every Pissarro that is uncovered under that picture of dogs playing poker or every piece of Limoges glass discovered in the "everything for a buck" bin, there are ten DVD players that are broken and dozens of purses with holes. Ya..garage sales are for those with a strength of shopping character that I simply don't possess. 

Also, the introverted me is just not that fond of conversing with strangers. In fact, the whole idea gives me a combination of the cold sweats and the dry heaves. So when it became obvious early on in the moving process that a garage sale would be one of the necessary steps in the facilitation of our junk removal, my panic attacks began in earnest. I honestly had no clue where to begin.

Thank God for competent help and that help arrived like manna from heaven in the form of Younger Son's B'Shert. An experienced garage "saler" and a natural conversationalist with a lovely outgoing and personable demeanour, she was our saviour. She came armed with an organizational plan and basically just took over the sales and bargaining. She intuitively understood each and every customer and I marvelled at her PR skills that came easily to the fore. This woman could sell space heaters in the tropics. I was in absolute awe when she made a deal for the obsolete technology that is a laser disc player and threw in the complete collection of discs with a guy who was clearly in need of ego-stroking. In short...she was remarkable and her dexterity allowed both The Husband and me to remain quietly in the background until needed for questions. My gratitude and love for her are off the charts.

But, it was the people that really made the day. The mixed multitude of personalities that visited was fascinating, at times a bit creepy, and always entertaining. 
  • There was the extremely early riser (Hello! 7:00am on a Saturday??) who came in search of fishing gear. Dude. This is the North Jewish Ghetto. The only fish we know of up here is of the smoked and gefilte varieties.
  • There was the millennial who showed up before 8:00 wanting only '70s era speakers and stereo components. Strangely enough, we were able to accommodate the lad. 
  • There was the gentleman who browsed for over a half an hour hoping to outfit his man cave. When he bought the tree shearers in order to help with his "manscaping" we could not contain our giggles. the words of Inigo Montoya "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."
  • There was the Aussie senior who absolutely loves these sales but was under strict orders from his wife to NOT buy anything. He was infatuated with the dog and playfully offered Younger Son a healthy sum for him. When he finally left with several unopened cans of Thompson's Water Seal, he invited us to attend his funeral which he figures will be held this coming Tuesday because his wife was going to kill him. People like this gentleman renew my faith in humanity.
  • There was the slightly off-centre young guy who perused ever single cheap item available, asked us if the movie posters were vintage-aged, (like we were descendants of The Warner Brothers) haggled for quarters over some hand-held games, and finally made off with a single issue of Mad Magazine. Younger Son, who figured he needed some fresh bathroom reading, came within thirty seconds of escorting the hombre off of the property.
  • There was the young married couple who bought the seven foot MGM movie poster for eight dollars and then realized that they couldn't fit it into their Japanese compact. The wife wanted the husband to walk it home, an approximately 45-minute shlep in the summer heat dragging a seven foot MGM movie poster. He looked at her with bemusement until he realized that she wasn't fucking with him. They heatedly argued about it in a language we were all grateful not to comprehend. Suffice it to say, we refunded the eight bucks. It's still here if anybody is in the market for a fabulous seven foot MGM movie poster. Free to the first taker.
  • There was the lady who bought the brand new pool noodles for her grandchildren for a quarter each but was insistent that she would only purchase two and not the third that still remains. Really lady? It's a fucking quarter. Couldn't you have taught them lessons in sharing for a fucking quarter?
  • There were the "window shoppers" who were either too lazy or too important to get out of their cars to browse. One woman actually drove onto the curb on the opposite side of the street because she wasn't paying attention to her driving.
  • There were the kids who came along with their parents who were so excited to spend allowances on games and toys. We went really easy on them because they were just so damned cute and polite.
  • There was the kindergarten teacher who bought all of our K'nex toys for her classes and complimented us on our choice of children's toys. I would have given her the entire collection for nothing, but that really isn't the point of a garage sale. We gave her a deep discount. This woman is doing God's work and spending out of her own pocket to do it.
  • There was the middle-aged absolutely not Jewish guy who bought the "Blessing for the Home" pewter plaque inscribed entirely in Hebrew without any knowledge as to what it was or what it meant. For all he knew it could have been a Wiccan curse.
By the time it was all over and we had packed up most of the flotsam and jetsam into the car to take over to Value Village, we were all at the end of our garage sale ropes. Even the dog looked like he had had enough of people for one day. A green junk disposal came to remove the trash and the rest is being repurposed at Toronto's favourite thrift shops. There are still some posters in the garage and we will give them away gratis to anybody who wants them.

I have a new appreciation for garage sales. I grasp the people who attend them with a greater understanding and a renewed compassion. I still can't imagine myself shopping at one, nor do I ever plan to hold one again, but I do feel a lightness of body and spirit for having shed pounds of stuff that simply wasn't being used any longer and will find new life in other's homes. I am also slightly less the consumer whore that I felt I was as we began to clean and purge in preparation for the move. 

A sincere thank you to Younger Son and His B'Shert for everything they did to make this happen; Older Son for his shlepping; my parents who came to donate even more stuff and to support us; Sister/Cousin for the delivery and hopefully the pick-up of tables; and to all the friends who came just because they love us. Your presence was far more valuable than any purchase.

There is still more to do before moving day, but a big step has been taken.

Less than four weeks to go.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I completely understand the work that goes into this and having people want to haggle to drop the price. It's a battle between value and the need/want to get rid of your stuff.