21 October 2006

Garage Sale Experience

The day starts out cold, rainy and dreary. Our worst fears have been realized. A steady rainfall begins shortly before the garage sale is scheduled to begin.

We brainstorm alternatives. Keep garage as is and plan for another day? Sell as much as possible on eBay? What can we do?

GLH leaves to set-up the signs while Marian Librarian and I do the final preparations with the cash drawer, newspaper print wrapping and small plastic bags. We open the garage door at 7:30.

At 7:45 our first customer arrives. The next two customers arrive immediately after. "How much for the riding lawn mower?" Our first sale is made without any need for negotiation. And it's a big ticket item!

An argument ensues over the telescope. Woman stares down Man. "I was here first." Man backs down, then gets upset and petulantly hides the telescope's instruction manual. After 15 minutes of searching, manual is found on opposite side of garage. Woman triumphantly carries telescope (and manual) to her car with one final sneer of victory towards Man.

A steady stream of people continue to arrive. GLH, Marian Librarian and A Librarian (who needs a much better screen name) and I are running. Question over here! Question over there! There is little negotiation. Must buy before someone else does! All the street parking is full and drivers begin to leave their cars in the middle of the street. Double and triple parking creates chaos on our quiet, residential street.

And still they come.

At 9:oo am literally half of our possessions are sold. Cash and carry. No returns allowed.

By now the steady shower has become a downpour. The temperature drops 20 degrees and there is a cold, bitter wind.

And still they come.

There is finally a break around 10 am. We gratefully sit down and rest. But our rest cannot last long.

And then the second wave begins. The first wave was distinguished by their eagerness and the way they hurriedly grab, grab, grab. They were also distinguished by their overstuffed wallets full of hundreds and twenties.

The second wave include those who sleep in on Saturdays. They are much pickier. They bargain more and turn their noses in the air. Our selection is beneath them.

And still they come.

And still they buy.

"Can I have this two for the price of one?"

"If I buy this, will you include this for free?"

"I borrowed money from all the friends I could find. Is it enough?"

At 1:09, we close the garage door. Most everything is gone now. Just a few pieces of furniture waiting for people who needed to find a pick-up truck. We gratefully go inside to warm up and eat pizza.

Ring, Ring. "Can I pick up the couch?"

Ring, Ring. "Can I pick up the wine rack?"

Ring, Ring. The truck from the charity organization is here to pick up all that remains. We are slightly embarrassed to be giving so little. We had told them it would be more. We didn't imagine so much would sell so quickly.

Ring, Ring. The young student with the thick African accent is back. We had sold him some furniture earlier and loaded his very old, very rusty Toyota Corolla. He is back to pick up the rest. "Do we still have it?" Yes. Yes. I cut him a very deep discount. It is obvious he doesn't have much and could use a break.

Close the garage door one last time. The sale is done.

We are still counting the money. It is in the thousands. Tomorrow we will be happy. For now, we just want to run to the bank to safely deposit the cash. And then take a nap.

Much thanks to A Librarian and Marian Librarian for helping with the sale and set-up and clean-up. Also thanks to DJ Clem, Marian's husband, who helped load boxes into the charity truck. We couldn't have done it without you!

Garage Sale at 8:00 am...

Garage Sale at 2:00 pm...

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