Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Person's Trash Is Another Person's...Trash.

Yesterday morning Opie and I decided we needed a little quality time away from the mongrels and we thought it might be fun to go out and take a look at garage sales.

Well, to be perfectly honest, one of us thought this would be fun. The other one thought “we have enough crap of our own in the house; there’s no need to go looking through other people’s crap.” This person thought our time would be better spent sitting on the back porch imbibing adult beverages and waiting for the Stanley Cup playoffs to commence. But since this was SEVEN-THIRTY IN THE MORNING, garage sales were chosen as the more sensible option.

It is interesting to note that this nameless one was the first one to actually make a purchase saying “I’ve been looking for this book forever!”

The observation that over half of our “crap” is our book collection was left unremarked upon.

In any case, it is also interesting to note that garage sales in small town Oklahoma are very different from garage sales in St Louis…and one of the biggest differences, believe it or not, is advertising. When you are having a garage sale in St Louis, you go to the busiest intersection in your neighborhood, slap up a few signs and call it a day. When you are having a garage sale in a town the size of ours, you go to the busiest intersections IN TOWN, slap up a few signs, give directions with landmarks instead of addresses, and call that a day.

Which means if you live next to one of the busiest intersections and you walk up to read the garage sale signs—intending to get your exercise and walk to these alleged sales—you may well discover that some of the sales are 15 or 20 miles away.

This can, of course, cause some people to reiterate a preference for adult beverages and hockey but if it’s only SEVEN-FORTY-FIVE, you go back home, get the car and press on to the garage sales.

I don’t know if my expectations were too high or if it’s too early in the “garage sale season” but the sales themselves were, well, a little weird. Basically, they can be filed into one of the two following categories:

Sale Category 1: Realize that you have 10 or 12 things you want to get rid of, throw up ten or twelve signs (especially a nice big one at the busiest intersection in town), overprice everything and call that a sale.

At the first of this type of sale, the woman literally had 10 things in her garage each of them with its own separate tags like “Fancy, fancy—only worn a few times! $25.00.” Even odder was the fact that she also kept promising “I had lots of stuff last time” like we really cared about her sale last year. But, far strangest of all, I’m not convinced she wasn’t just having the sale to meet new people because when I commented how pretty the lilies were in her front yard (just making pleasant conversation!) she started saying “That’s nothing! You should see the ones in the side yard…and the back!” And then walked out of her so-called sale like she was going to give us a tour.

We were halfway to the car before she knew what hit her

Sale category 2: Spend 15 or 20 years stuffing every strange bit of crap you can put your hands on in your garage, wait until there is an avalanche of the stuff spilling out into the yard, then throw up ten or twelve signs (especially a nice big one at the busiest intersection in town), put price tags on NOTHING and call that a sale.

The worst of these was, according to the sign, “just past the armory.” What the sign should have said was “Go to the armory, follow the arrow signs for five more miles, cross the 1 lane country bridge while praying out loud, pass one sign that says (I swear these are true!) MISSING TEETH REPLACED HERE and another that says NO DEAD ANIMALS (I don’t even want to imagine the scenario that could cause me to put up that sign), wait until you are right smack in the middle of Deliverance country, follow the sounds of dueling banjos and roosters until you see a strange old woman wandering around dusting things that haven’t seen the light of day for a good ten years.”

I also think that, instead of saying “Big Sale,” the sign should have said “Big Collection of Stuff Goodwill Wouldn’t Take” Seriously, you wouldn’t believe what these people were attempting to pass off as merchandise. I mean, I could deal with the chipped plates. I could also handle the broken Barbies—although they were a little creepy. But then there were things like this white eyelet bedspread that had BURN MARKS all over it…like it had been pulled from a fire. Which means that, at one point, they loved this bedspread enough to keep it even after it had been irreparably BURNT but now were comfortable throwing it on a table with a one-handed clock and seeing what kind of offers they could get for it.

I’m not going to lie, Opie and I both got an attack of the giggles and had to run from that place like we’d been shot from a gun.

But we are safely home and it is now my mission in life to see if I can put together a worse sale. So far I’ve collected a half-chewed rawhide bone, a t-shirt I use as a dustrag, an African violet the cat killed by peeing on it, and the cotton balls I took my make up off with last night.

I smell a million dollar business.
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