The Great Garage Sale

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First of all, I apologize for being absent from my blog for quite a while. I’ve had a visit from my brother, and just had a garage sale this weekend. With all of the preparations, visiting, and saling, time has gotten away from me. But I’m back!

It’s been a few years since I’ve had a garage sale. As you know, I’m very fond of them…both shopping at them, and hosting them. But the hosting perspective is very different than the attending perspective. This weekend I was reminded how unique a social scene the garage sale is. Two of my best friends and I joined forces, compiled our junque, and made it available to the general public. We had perfect weather…not too hot, not too humid, clear skies, gentle breezes…just beautiful. With my OCD flag flying, I worked with my pals to prepare signage, organize goods, and arrange tables, and as we prepped, I fretted over every detail. But in the end, it was all good…our combined efforts filled a garage and most of the driveway with quite an interesting array of items. We were ready for the customers!

When you are sitting at a garage sale all weekend, you have a lot of time to observe and ruminate. I was most thankful for the superb weather conditions, since you always have to worry about rain shutting down your sale, but I devoted most of my thoughts and observations to the people. I love people watching, and a garage sale is one of the best venues. There were several unique individuals who visited our sale, but there were also many who fit into what I refer to as the garage sale personalities.

First you have the Sure Shopper. This person knows what he wants, and it’s a very specific item. He darts in, may make a quick swoop through the area, or may just ask if you have that particular item, and then leave. He’s not interested in the sale itself. There is no browsing. No considering. No bartering. No musing over unusual items.

Then there’s the Quick Looker. Much like the Sure Shopper, this person is not interested in spending time enjoying the shopping experience. She stops in, maybe on her lunch break from work, and breezes through in about 2 minutes. You know there’s no way she saw most of what was for sale, but she seems satisfied with this cursory glance at everything, and skitters away. Again…not a person who really takes garaging to its fullest capacity.

The most removed from the garaging experience is the Drive By. This person pulls up and may either very slowly drive by the garage, or may actually stop the car for just a minute in front of the garage. He takes about a one minute look, and then pulls away. Sometimes, the Drive By doesn’t even position himself where he can see what’s in the garage, and surely there’s not much detail available from inside a car, at that distance, but this low level of interaction seems to be all the Drive By needs.

Next we have the Dickerer. The Dickerer is never satisfied with the price on the sticker. He may ask if you’ll take a lesser amount for an item, but sometimes, he even says, “All I’d give you for this is $1.” I’m all for getting a good deal, but some of these Dickerers are rather insulting in their delivery. It’s as if you didn’t really MEAN the price you put on the sticker, and you were just doing it to irritate the Dickerer and get him to tell you what HE will pay you. Some Dickerers even seem to have a well-rehearsed schtick, and do the really fast price to price dickering, hoping to trip you up and agree to sell a full set of your granny’s fine china for $3.

In addition to the garage sale personalities, there are many things that you see and hear at a sale that are amazing, amusing, frustrating, or downright touching. We’ve all heard the saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and it applies to garaging, as well. I like predicting what types of things customers will be interested in, and there are always a few customers who surprise me and purchase items which I never would have imagined they’d be interested in. Yesterday we had one shopper drive up and ask from her car, “What kind of sale are you having?” Hmmm…I wasn’t sure just how to answer that one! And another, who in less than 5 minutes insulted our pricing, as well as our goods, in a very direct manner. He was our least favorite customer.

But we were fortunate to have way more wonderful customers than the few who were difficult. My favorite was the lady who shopped a good long while, petted our dog, and took time to tell us of her many rescue dogs. Then she was off to visit her mother in the nursing home next door. In a few minutes, she returned with her mother. She wheeled her around the entire sale, showing her items, getting her close enough to touch things, and telling her what things were, if she couldn’t see them well enough. She brought her over to meet us, and meet our dog. I almost cried right then and there. It was a good sale, indeed.

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