8/21/08

This is a Barter-Free Zone

The boys and I went to about 576 garage sales today. It was fun. Even if it was hot and we got in and out of the car, me lugging all that boy weight 576 times. It was fun even if Asher pooped at stop number 490, leaving me to change him while he flailed around the cargo area at the back of the car, dropping little poop nuggets on the seat. Still fun. Garage sales make me think positively for some unexplainable reason.

But they are kind of weird, if you think about it really hard. People stay up late, putting little prices on things they've decided are worth much less than what they paid for them. Then they sit outside and watch people mull over whether or not that very low price is worth the effort. Shoppers saunter around, acting all important, turning their noses up at items and putting them back down on the table. Thump. No thank you.

I have had a couple of garage sales this year. I know, a couple. (Over-achiever.) I have some sort of strange problem that makes me love having garage sales. Part of it is normal, I love to purge. Purging is healthy. But secondly, I also love to see what people will do. I wait in anticipation for a barter. It's a little twisted. The truth is that I could care less. People could walk off with my stuff for free and I'd be happy that it was gone, making the good will boxes that much lighter. But I put prices on things for the thrill of it. Seeing if people will pay for my junk is so interesting. The first lady at a recent sale bought so much stuff I couldn't figure out how she'd get it in her car. She acted as if she'd hit the jackpot. Then many more trailed through, awkwardly casting glances, and slyly sneaking away empty-handed, making remarks like, "nothing here I can't live without." (Um yeah, me either...that's why it's out on my drive-way begging to be carried away.)

The most recent sale was last weekend. My brother-in-law and I put our stuff together for a "multi-family" sale (we called it multi-family because there were two of us, from different families, giving the impression of "huge." See? Savvy huh?)

At this particular sale there was a big roll of painter's plastic for sale for $1. We had gone half-price in the afternoon. A crabby woman who didn't get my sense of humor the whole time she was browsing, pointed at the roll and said, "is that what you'll take for that?" I said, "it's half-price, making it 50 cents." She stared at me, bartering with her glare. Long and hard. I grew uneasy and turned to my brother-in-law. "Um, she wants to know if you'll take...say...25 cents for this?" He stared at me, a bit of disbelief on his face. I stifled a laugh. He stifled a laugh. We said, "take it." Grumpy lady stared at me some more. I picked up the plastic and lugged it to her car for her, all the while, pretending I was taking this transaction very seriously. She grumped away and we were 25 cents richer, and much lighter on the good will cargo.

People are funny. There is no better place to explore that idea than at a garage sale.

I guess Asher is one of those people. Today at garage sale #1 he picked through the free box until he came up with a bead necklace. (He loves Mardi Gras. Or wait, no. What I mean is that he loves shiny things.) He promptly put the beautiful purple beads around his neck, and did not take them off (except to nap-I do know my crib safety) all day. He cried if I took them off. The nice thing about them is that they ting and scratch against the floor as he crawls. I always know where he is.

And we didn't even have to haggle. That boy knows how to garage sale, digging through the barter-free box with absolutely no shame. A boy after my own heart.

12 clicked right here to comment:

MoziEsmé said...

What a well-written post! It definitely made me laugh!

I know all about diaper-changing in the car - it is PAINFUL!

And I LOVE those beads on Asher - they really make his outfit, together with pacifier!

joolee said...

Love the poop nuggets! You are a girl after my own heart. It's a good thing I don't live in the Cities.....I could garage sale from Wednesday till Saturday and still not be done. Unfortunately here in the Northland, sales don't start till Friday and I've usually hit them all by noon. I know I'll be digging thru a few barter-free zones tomorrow. I'll keep my eye out for some beads.

Kimberly said...

What a neat way to look at things! And you made me giggle multiple times here!

Givinya De Elba said...

He looks great with those beads! How funny! Thanks for dropping by my blog and yes you are right about musicals! Good to know I'm not alone.

Amy said...

I love people who are so prideless that they'll haggle over 25 cents. Makes me feel better about myself for some reason.

Ok, if I figure out the three columns, I'll let ya know. I havne't yet!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Great post. We cal them carboot sales over here as you tend to go to a set site in your car and unload it all onto a trestle table.

We have exactly the same situation with the bartering and it always makes me laugh though sometimes I want to kick them a little when they're downright rude.

Asher has fabulous taste. What a little star. :D

Peanut said...

That's hilarious! I love your take on garage sales! And those beads are great.
Was that lady possibly my mom? Not that she's rude like that, but she'd barter with a street kid selling beaded necklaces!!

Eowyn said...

Garage Sales rock. I'm with you on the whole "I don't care what I get for it, just get it away from my house!" attitude, and hey, at the end of the day you have a bit of money to play with. Our last garage sale bought our Wii.

Asher looks great!

K and/or K said...

While I LOVE this story (funny!) I must say I am not a fan of the garage sale, having them that is...actually I don't really go either. I wouldn't mind going but because my Thursday mornings aren't free I assume all the treasures are taken and keep on driving. I also never have cash on hand. I'm set up to fail I guess! :-)
Instead of having garage sales Kyle and I play a game (unless it has value, then craigslist gets it). So we set something we longer want out on the curb and time how long it takes for it to disappear! You were at my grill-out...the table the all the food was on? Curbside the next day: 30 minutes!

Jessica said...

How funny. I just did a yard sale today and it was terrible! SO hot, no people out shopping this weekend . . . but yes, like you I love to sit and watch and laugh about the things you can't wait to get rid of: somebody's treasure.

Lisa said...

Okay, THIS is hilarious, too! Dangit, lady, you're going on Google Reader!

Guess what? NO GARAGE SALES in Poland. Isn't that a tragedy? For me, I mean. The answer is yes. Yes it is.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Garage sales in any form are like the 9th level of hades for me. Which is why I love Craig's List. I can purge without having to go there.

But this story? Blogging gold, my friend.

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