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
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
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
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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