My like for yard sales goes back to my college days. My mom and I attended estate sales almost every Friday to find treasure we couldn't live without and those we could sell at a profit at an antique store we rented space at in Orange County. I loved it. By Thursday nights I was craving the adrenaline of pushing past gray haired ladies at Leisure World to grab a great antique French cup and saucer. I could imagine the great pieces of furniture I would stumble upon and put in my apartment. I yearned for the treasured surprises the professional estate sale hosts would set aside for me because they "knew my tastes." The deals were like drugs and the sense of history behind the items we purchase thrilled me to no end.
My fascination with other people's junk/treasures continued when I got married. I maintained the estate sale love but had to give up the store because it decided to focus on "reproductions" instead of the real thing. My husband and I took it up a notch and started frequenting antique auctions and eventually furnished a lot of our home with beautiful things we had purchased together at auction and estate sales.
Once the kids came, we had to give it all up. You can't really take a baby into the tight spaces of an old person's apartment. Strollers to don't fit and small grabbing hands don't mix well with delicate pieces of crystal. Once in a while when we see an estate sale sign, we pull over so that I can do a once over inside and tell my husband if it's worth getting the kids out of the carseats to go in. And, of course, it's not the same. I'm not plotting my estate sale route the night before in the Thomas Guide and scouring the ads for what appears to be the sale with best stuff.Now our searches are passive and happenstance. We stop by yard sales and estate sales because we are in the neighborhood, not as a fun hobby.
And this leads me to having our own yard sales. Like I said, yesterday we had a BIG one that we hosted at our house with two other families. It was the first weekend in some time in which it wasn't raining; it was a gorgeous sunny day. The high hit 80 degrees and yard sale attendees were out in droves. And among those droves, we experienced all sorts of "interesting" people. Here are some of my favorites and not-so-favorites.
- You always have your bickering people--the people who want to fight with you and tell you your prices are too high. Those are the people you want to shout at and say, "It's my junk and I'll change what I want! You can't walk into Target and tell them you think they change too much for their sheets and you can't tell me that either!"
- I love the old guys who are clearly just "doing the yard sale circuit" so that they can get away from their wives for the morning. They are always looking for similar stuff--records, tools, fishing equipment, etc. They are totally pleasant to talk to and just happy to meet up with their buddies who also do the circuit. I love it when they talk about the morning's take and where they are headed next. It cracks me up.
- The people who pretend they don't speak English. You know 'em. This is how the exchange with them goes.
- Them: "How much (in a thick accent)?"
- Me: $1.
- Them: 50 cent?
- Me: No. $1.
- Them: Uhhh... 50 cent? (Accompanied by puzzled look.)
- Me: No! $1!
- Them: 50 cent? (Still unsure.)
- Me: NO! (And giving them my most disapproving teacher look.)
- Them: Pull out a $5 bill to pay for the $1 item.
- The people who try on our clothes at the sale and then wear them to their cars. So gross. Even worse...the people who try on our clothes and then leave them.
- Our friends were selling one of those whirlpool foot spas. It was brand new (still wrapped) but one side of the box had been opened. The woman looked at it and asked if it worked. I told her that it did (which made her happy) and then told her that it had never been used, in order to sweeten the deal. This comment brought her great disappointment. She was actually bummed that someone else's skill cells weren't clogging the thing up. So gross.
- The grossest guy of the day was the man who will go down in history at "the poopy Nazi." He walked up the driveway wearing some sort of military hat. He was disabled with a metal cane and a crippled hand. I immediately felt bad for him and thought he was a vet. He walked straight up to me and started to ask if I had any knives, bayonets (oh and I can honestly say this is the first time I've never had to spell the word "bayonets" before), riffles, or guns. I thought he was kidding and told him no. He went on to ask if I had a laundry list of other items that included daggers, shrunken heads (I'm not kidding), or Nazi memorabilia. It was at this point that I realized the smell of poop wafting in my direction. I was feeling as though I might gag. He kept going and talking. He started talking to me about his Nazi artifact collection and the fact that he reads Hitler's teachings. In the meantime, all of our friends stood far away and laughed that I was now the winner of talking with the craziest person of the day. When they took pitty on me and finally walked over, I made a mad dash into the house with an excuse so pathetic I can't remember it.