Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yard Sale Lessons

What I Have Learned About Garage Sales:

1. They are called different names regionally. Most are Garage (spelled many different ways); some are Yard Sales; Tag Sales in some suburbs; Estate Sales when someone has to die first.  Maybe what I normally have is an Estate Sale; I usually die before and most certainly after.
2.  Yard Sales (and I use the term indiscriminately) are hard work.
3.  I am an excellent Yard Sale attender, but a lousy giver. I never make any money.  In fact at most recent fiasco, I actually lost money.  Seriously.  I came away with less than I started with.  I blame Neighbor Nancy and Sister Lois for this. 
4.  I would love to watch someone who does this well so that I can learn a thing or two.  I am a pushover.  Someone merely has to smile at an object that they want, and I practically give it to them.  Sometimes, I even carry it home for them.  I have actually done this.  Last year, a Little Old Lady (probably a few years older than me.) drove up to the sale and explained that she didn't get around very well, and would I please bring over some doilies that she was admiring.  Of course.  So that day I witnessed my first Drive Thru Garage Sale.  To my credit, she did buy the doily. For a quarter.
5.  You should never, never, never hold a Garage Sale solo.  The Pits.  The 2G's mama helped on the first day till the Nap Monster overtook the 2G's.  And my Lovely Lillian came on the last day and helped with Miss Dixie and her fretful ways.  Their company was very helpful but for the rest of the time, I was dreadfully unentertained.  I read, crocheted and even (What?) weeded, but those pesky (see?) customers kept interrupting.  But nothing cures the ills of the drone of working three days for 12.35, like human companionship. Misery loves company.
6.  But there are Silver Linings.  Lest you think me a curmudgeon, let me regal you with some of more satisfactory moments:

a.  Sylvia the Sainted Girl:  This little girl about 8 years old simply fawned over my garden.  She noticed the bouquet upon my Checkout Desk and oohed and aahed for quite awhile.  It was then that I told her about Fairy Bouquets.  Fairy Bouquets are tiny little flower arrangements that I make with those tiny little Jam Sampler Jars.  Little girls and the occasional little man, love to see the teeny flowers in their own wee little GLASS vase; they love knowing that I trust them to have an actual GLASS 'vase'.  I love watching them leave, studying the weensy flowers.  Sylvia was a rare child.  I wish she would have stayed and kept me company.  I think we are kindred spirits.
b.  The Religious Lady with the Two Booklets.  I can count on her to come by and admire my garden as well.  I can count on her to buy things from me to extend her visit.  This time she outdid herself by buying a most questionable item which only further made me question things.  Despite being quite a character, she is an upbeat cheerful thing that makes me smile.

c.  People that will engage in a bit of conversation.  I had one little interchange with a lady that didn't see anything she needed other than the very tablecloths that were hiding my 'vintage' card tables.  That got us on a conversation about All Things Collectible that mama's collection does so well.  Very nice lady.  Good taste as well.
d.  Knowing that I have searched the nooks and crannies in my over packed home and have dispensed with quite a bit of the superfluous.  Even if it was for a quarter, delivered.

7.  Things I Kept Entertained With:  Worked on the next weekend.  Woohoo!!  Checked out lists and made a timeline.  Read Hidden Art. Perfunctorily looked over my new book that just came in the mail.  Crocheted  my jute twine market bag.  With three different types of twine, just to see which one I like the most.  Because I can.  Helped LL sell watermelon balls and lemonade; a hot weather alternative to cookies and muffins....

8. I have learned that I do not know what people want.  I know what I'm looking for and that will not be at my sales.  Those things are in my house.  No matter how varied the assortment, I get the once over, without a word then off into the sunset.  And speaking of that, just what is Garage Sale Conversational Protocol?  I always greet people warmly, but some look scared after that.  Do you prefer stony silence so that you can concentrate without the pressure of conversation?  I usually interact cheerfully with my Garage Sale proprietor with different reactions.  But when I am the 'host', I feel obliged to be very nice.  I do not know why.  It can get me in trouble, like poorer.  I interacted with one 'older' lady yesterday and thought second about it.  She drew closer to me and in a conspiratorial tone, she whispered, 'I am from here', I responded with that dog like tilt of my head. 'Excuse me?' I asked, thinking she meant from my back yard.  She smiled with a rather prideful look on her face, and replied, 'I am from Mitchell; I'm a Crawford''.  I responded like every transplanted Mitchellite does, 'Oh!' I say, having not a clue what that means, much to my disgrace.  This is a reason why I will never be considered as an actual citizen but as a foreigner; I just don't know all the history I need to survive.  Ah.

9.  And the worse part of Flying Solo is The Cleaning Up.  Aargh.  You are already hot and bothered and really unhappy that your three days investment in time and energy amounts to a negative amount.  So you go slowly, breathe deeply and reflect on the ongoing thread of conversation that ran through with my time with LL, a most mature of second graders.  But even time with Her Debbie can be exhausting especially watching  Planet 51 till 11:30pm.  And so she napped for two hours in a blissful summer morning nap under my canopy on my wicker love seat in the backyard.
And that made it worth it all.

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