On Garage Sales

2 minute read

I find the intersection of human behavior and garage sales fascinating. I mention this only because I just had one this weekend where I made a whole $46 dollars before subtracting expenses. I watched 5 people open the lid on a washing machine as if what they saw inside told them the value of said used washing machine. None of them bought it. It makes me wonder what they needed to see inside in order to swing them over to the purchase side of the transaction. A leprechaun? Pot of gold? What exactly were they looking for?

There are a variety of people who come to garage sales. I particularly enjoy the people who buy nothing but thank me for the privilege of looking at crap I no longer want. I do this too so it’s hard to be too harsh but still, what is it that makes us thank people for that privilege? For me it’s the guilt of not buying any of their crap as if I had walked into Tiffany’s but chosen not to buy anything after wasting the sale people’s time. Then there are those that seem to keep the social wall up so that they don’t have to feel obligated to buy anything. A cheerful good morning is returned with a mumble and a quick stalk around the merchandise.

Late in the day, people drive up but don’t stop, doing a roll through and somehow making a decision about the quality of your good based on the quantity left at 1 PM. What did they expect? All the hoarders and pickers show up at 6:45 am before the garage even opens. Do the lazy people who come at 1 actually expect to find bargains or do they just like the idea of garage sale-ing?

Speaking of hoarders, the same family of them show up every time I have a garage sale and they always find something to buy. The old lady has switched from Virginia Slims to a fancy electronic cigarette and I can always count on her to buy candles if I have any. The old man bought a flag pole once and we still see it at times on their house. This time they brought their son and I’m pretty sure he bought something though I can’t remember what it was. Probably a Christmas plate.

Some day, I’m hoping Jerry Jones has a garage sale. Or maybe an estate sale. When he kicks over, will Stephen put everything out on the front lawn? What do rich people do when they decide they don’t want that ugly Christmas sweater anymore? I think of garage sales as a combination purge and donation to those less fortunate but perhaps I overestimate the value of my crap. Still, it makes me feel good when someone comes along and buys all my shirts for $.50 each and says that her son is small and she can never find good clothes at garage sales. I’m glad someone can get some more use out of them. Now if only someone would take that washing machine.