There were lots of sales going on last weekend. Ordinarily we’d have hit quite a few, but we both had some other projects to tend to, so the tally through the weekend was 7.
If you aren’t a religious garage sale goer, 7 might seem like a tremendous number, but if you just hit one or two en route to wherever else you need to go, they add up pretty fast.
Of the seven sales, two were absolute duds.
The first dud I knew was going to be a dud, but it wasn’t far off my path, so I went anyway just in case I was mistaken. This was the kind of sale that had bright, neat, easily followed signage and craigslist ads touting it as HUGE, SATURDAY ONLY, YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE. Just by the ads and the handwriting on the signs, I could have told you what to expect.
The sale is in a garage. A garage with nothing else in it besides garage sale stuff. I am consistently amazed by these places. Garages free of garage stuff have never been part of my existence. Where do you keep the lawn mower?
They have a lot of well taken care of computer accessories, electronics, and stereo components for sale. Each piece has a ziplock containing the appropriate manual taped to it, its cord is neatly coiled and bound with a twist tie. All of this stuff is dated and overpriced. Maybe there are people out there who need a copy of Windows95. I just don’t know any of them.
Other (all highly priced) merchandise sucks as well, and may include candlesticks, a ceramic cat, gaudy Christmas ornaments, hardcover Romance novels (really?), whatever Pottery Barn was selling ten years ago, an “art print” from Target, a lead crystal frame, a zzzzzz… sorry, I nodded off there for a second. Where was I? Oh yeah, sale sucked, I got nuthin’.
The second dud, like the first, was very well organized. That’s because there was one table with approximately 10 items on it. Wait, you had a sale for these ten items?
Another sale I hit was held by a regular garage sale haver. Like every weekend regular. I figure her neighbors must have complained about the constant flow of undesirables like myself in the neighborhood. They were obviously unaware her property is zoned dual use. Instead of backing off the yard sales, she got a business license, started charging sales tax, and has a garage sale whenever the hell she feels like it. Eff you, neighbors! You gotta love that go-getter spirit. About 90% of her stuff is trash, but you can find a few treasures if you’re diligent. I never leave empty handed, because I’m a sucker for a bargain. Anything plastic will generally set you back a dime. A board game 75 cents or a dollar. I got a mini Scrabble game made in 1948 and 3 Starbucks mugs for $1.05. Plus tax.
The next sale was just down the street from the perpetual sale. Since the perpetual sale has perpetual signs out, this sale just needed one sign. YARD SALE right in front of their house. I like these coattail sales. They’re disorganized, have a hodgepodgepodge of items, and since nothing is priced, you can usually get some deals just by catching the proprietor off-guard while they’re being bum rushed with questions.
These types of sales, it’s best to observe the proprietor as you approach so you can guess what at the sale might be his or hers, and what may be another family member’s. People tend to think their possessions are worth more than they are. Especially if they once purchased the items themselves new. Chances are, they remember what they paid for the item. It’s hard to correctly depreciate an item to appropriate garage sale price under those circumstances. All you know is you paid $100 for those shoes and only wore them once. They can’t really be worth $5 now, can they? At a garage sale, yes, they can, and most certainly are. This happens to all people, but especially inexperienced sale havers. So the key is to choose items that don’t appear to belong to the person dishing out the quotes.
This strategy worked. While the garage sale haver was explaining to a young woman why she couldn’t possibly accept less than $20 for a dress, I managed to skate out of there with an old baseball glove for Dee’s collection and a brand new pair of coveralls for a total of $2.
Rewind to Thursday. I drop Reece off at school and see a sign just a few blocks away. Not normally a neighborhood I’d get g-sale crazy in, but hey, it’s Thursday and I’m in the mood. I stop. I’m glad. The sale is inside the house, which is being moved out of. All that remains inside are items for sale. Not a ton of stuff, but I’m one of the first people there and everything is priced to move.
I’ve been needing a new rice cooker. I don’t do a lot of specialty kitchen gadgetry, but rice cookers are just so freaking nice to have around. Found one. $2
You may have noticed I mentioned Starbucks mugs earlier in the post. They are good sellers and seem to have a big collector base right now, so I pick ‘em up whenever I can get a bargain. Got one at this sale. A ceramic and rubber Starbucks travel mug for 25 cents
Also purchased an IKEA light. $1
Set of ceramic fruit in a plastic tote. $2
Friday, we hit two sales right next door to each other. The first was mostly kids clothes, but they did have some Star Wars stuff. I ended up with a Star Wars 30th anniversary coin collection. $1
The sale next to it was the sale of the weekend. Only a handful of items were priced or organized in any reasonable fashion. I started to browse but it was soon clear I wouldn’t be looking at anything I wanted to. Dee forgot his glasses in the car. And whenever he does that, instead of going to the car to get them so that he can actually see what he’s looking at, he makes me his personal seeing eye dog. What does this say? What is this? I don’t have my glasses, is there a price on this? He’s already labor intensive to sale with, but it’s a downright sale killer when he doesn’t have his glasses. Ordinarily I’d have gone to get them to spare myself the agony, but I was already irritated before he forgot his glasses.
I had about decided to just cut the sale short and get out of there before I even looked at anything more than a handful of jewelry, when I hear “Will you come over here and look at this I don’t know if…” He said some more stuff but I wasn’t paying attention. Because when I rounded the corner to see what he wanted and tell him I was ready to leave, I saw a giant old Troll doll behind his head.
Gleefully, I picked him up. His foot said 1964. Nice! Oh, there’s a price tag. $20. Damn, I was hoping he’d be less. But I had just bought 3 little troll dolls a few weeks prior and managed to turn that dollar into almost $40, so I knew I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t get him.
We also found an old tonka Army Jeep in great shape with a $2.50 price tag and a pocket knife for 50 cents.
When I turned back around, cradling the Troll, there’s a Pendleton Woolen Mills coat staring us down. One of the bright jacquard wool Indian Trade Blanket style jackets. Looks like it’s never been worn.
I grab that and an unpriced bag of old interesting lapel pins and we head off to find the sale haver.
“These weren’t marked,” I say, holding up the coat and the pins.
“Brand new Pendleton jacket… a dollar, pins, I dunno, maybe a dollar for the bag, and I really can’t do less than $15 on the Troll doll.”
I hadn’t planned on negotiating the price of the Troll doll, so that was a bonus. And did he just say he wanted a dollar for a brand new Pendleton coat, easily purchased for 300x that price?
I quickly handed him his $20 and skipped off to the car. Nicely done, treasure hunters.
So, what will become of the bargains we scored this weekend?
25 cent Starbucks mug already sold on eBay for $20, one of the ten-centers for $10
See previous post for what happened to the hairpiece
I made a fish light out of the IKEA pendant light, and it is now for sale at Heisson store
The Troll doll sold for $100
The rice cooker took her maiden voyage in my kitchen this evening and works like a champ
Dee’s been wearing the new coveralls while working on his mower project and playing with the Tonka truck
Most everything else is listed on eBay or will be soon
Not a bad weekend! Now it’s time to gear up for another. I just found out they’re having a big estate sale at the end of my road, starting today. I might have to have a coattail sale of my own…