All sales final
Sales can be fun, both versions. I’m not talking about sifting through coupons to find the best deal. And I’m not talking about the red light that an employee at Hill’s would set off, used as a beacon to attract shoppers to a certain area of the store where an item’s cost was being reduced.
The sales I’m speaking of usually are associated with the words “yard” or “garage.” Sometimes “moving,” “family,” and even “porch.”
And versions are either being a buyer or seller.
Me? I was a seller last week.
Stuff was piling up in what had become my designated section of the garage, and I could sense my landlords were getting antsy about it spilling out into other sections of the residence.
So, my daughter and I took to pricing some of the clothing the night before the anticipated event. By 10 that night, we had tired of the monotonous peeling of the stickers, and decided to do the majority of the grunt work the next morning.
I figured I wasn’t officially opening until 10 a.m., so by getting an early start, say 7:30ish, we’d have plenty of time before the buyers started analyzing my belongings to see if they fit their own lifestyle.
Plans were to stock tables with items, then carry those tables out of the garage. I was going with the “driveway” sale, using the garage as overnight storage for my things.
Leaving things outside overnight, covered but not safeguarded, could mean the loss of a 10-cent pot holder. It’s a strange world we live in.
People enter abandon homes searching for copper and the like, so imagine an unattended box of plastic toys, which has no real value yet you ask 25-cents per item, setting out on an unsecured driveway.
By 7:45 a.m., one week ago today, I was soaked with sweat. It was hot, and all I had accomplished was carrying items mere feet from the garage out to the driveway.
Pricing then took place, and I was banking on the fact I was a “priced to sell” kind of guy.
I was peeling away – a 25-cent sticker on this, a 50-cent sticker on that.
It wasn’t even 9 when the first vehicle slowly rolled past the driveway. She turned her car around, stopped at the foot of the drive, where my trusty Blazer was blocking any easy view of the items, got out and entered my world.
You see, I had told everyone who would listen that I wasn’t going to allow any “early bird” to enter my domain. Nope. Wasn’t going to happen.
But it did.
She politely asked if it was OK, and I granted permission. I did shoot off the line, “I guess you’re what they call an early bird?” and her response didn’t make any sense.
When she departed, she left with $6 of my junk, so I was pleased.
If only every “early bird” doled out that type of cash, I’d been happy. But they didn’t. All told, I probably had about five “early birds” visit my nest.
By 10, my signs were posted throughout the neighborhood, hanging perfectly along Lisbon Street for the world to see. (I received at least two mentions from potential buyers about my signage – thank you very much.)
As customers made their way to the sale, I continued to add to my trash that I hoped would turn into someone else’s treasure.
I made roughly $60 Friday. Not good, not bad, I told myself. I looked at it this way – I eliminated some stuff and I made some cash. To me it was free money. And who doesn’t like free money?!
I also went through two shirts and several bottles of water on Friday. Did I mention it was hot?
Saturday I was doing that same 10 to 4 sale event, but this time the setup was made quicker thanks to some muscle – my son, who was a big help especially by allowing his dad’s “I’m not yelling” voice commands roll off his shoulders.
The day did bring some early rain. Just so happened it only started after everything was in its place – way before any “early birds” came looking for their worms.
We covered everything with plastic, tablecloths, blankets, even old shower curtains, as the rain fell. The first “early bird” arrived shortly after the light, but constant drizzle has subsided. We hadn’t even uncovered anything.
But again, I was pleased. She left after placing $10 into my hand.
After checking weather.com, it was determined the next round of rain was expected around 2 p.m., so I asked “the guy upstairs” if he’d give me until 2, and then I’d call it a day.
We made it until 1:50 p.m. The tables and other items were jammed into the garage within 10 minutes, and this driveway sale was officially over.
All told, the take was $120. Not great, but again it’s free money in my pocket.
The next few hours involved separating – I trashed some things, donated other items to the church for its next sale, and started snapping pictures of those items I plan on posting to Facebook.
Buy, Sale or Trade, here I come.
(Jim Mackey is managing editor of The Review. Reach him at email@example.com)