One of this week’s yard sales involved a number of family members who had all brought stuff. As is usual in these parts, no prices were marked on anything, and the sellers were all asking each other how much they wanted for an item. The matriarch of the clan had a lot of items on the driveway, but she wasn’t there to answer price questions, and one of the others asked where she was. “Oh, she’s in the bathroom,” was the reply. So they started going to the kitchen door and hollering to mom in the bathroom “How much is such and such?”
Further down the road I passed a young man pouring gas from a can into his van by the side of the road. Bummer, I thought, then noticed the skateboard by his feet. He must have resorted to this mode of transportation when he ran out of gas. Plucky!
At another sale a woman asked if there was any Pyrex for sale. There was a Pyrex pie plate on the table in front of me, so I held it up. “That’s where that is!” the seller exclaimed. “That’s not supposed to be out here, I told my daughter I had an extra one for her and then I couldn’t find it.” Her sale apparently was an estate sale of her father’s things. I unearthed a stash of shoe horns, and she told me he must have picked up a new one nearly every time he bought more shoes. If he bought one of something, she said, he bought six. Her sale had started on Tuesday and there was still a lot of stuff in her yard. A strong argument for decluttering as we go through life!
At the last sale of the morning I got into a conversation about selling on eBay. Like a lot of other folks I'm not real excited about what’s going on over there, all the new rules, and combined with low sales because of the economy I'm pretty much giving it up for a while. This guy told me he sells antique books about fishing. Talk about a niche market! He said it’s just a little sideline, he only makes about nine thousand a year. Nine thousand! This must be a new definition of little, if you ask me. We both agreed that sales have been awful, that items that would have sold in a heartbeat a year ago get no bids. Then he said that his real concern is his portfolio, and started talking about his GM stock and T bills, and I'm standing there nodding my head wisely like I know the slightest thing about any of this (well, maybe the slightest but not a heck of a lot more). As I headed back to the car I was thinking, weird—I don’t think anyone has ever spontaneously started talking about their portfolio to me before. I mean, the year I worked in a business specialty library it would come up, but not on a driveway on Saturday morning. Then I got a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror and realized I was wearing the sun visor with the Adams Golf logo that I picked up for fifty cents a couple of weeks ago.
People who golf and people who have portfolios often overlap. If it happens again maybe I should dangle a tag from it like Minnie Pearl always had on her hats, with a disclaimer “I bought this at a yard sale and have never touched a golf club in my life.” Or maybe I could just start giving investment advice—like “shop at yard sales, you can't go wrong.”
My personal investments totaled $5 this week; my return on that investment:
Two DVDs, a replacement for a video tape and one I didn’t own. I think it's interesting how fast DVDs have reached the yard sale price level of about a dollar apiece. Evidently people equate them with paperback books—use once and get rid of. And given the price of new paperbacks these days, that makes sense.
Another wallet for a gift. A friend saw the one I bought recently and said it was exactly the style she was looking for. So Marcia, I found you one!
Five wine glasses for our annual Christmas open house. I abhor wine from plastic glasses and hate to throw away unnecessary plastic, so I start buying yard sale wine glasses this time of year, use them at the party, then donate them to the thrift store in January. Last year I managed to break about 6 of them on the way home, so I'm being much more careful this time around!
On one street, two sales were across the street from each other. I went to the one that I parked by first, even though there was loud laughter coming from the other. There was nothing to buy, but I noticed this poster, and it looked as though they were really enjoying the woman at the other sale who was laughing so loudly.
I commented that the Rat Pack looked like they were having a good time, and the seller said, “Yeah, that’s how I want to live my life.”
And speaking of sisters, I want to say thanks to my sister Marilyn for the fabbo QOFC picture she sent me. I made the logo for her site and now she has returned the favor!