Is This Thing On?

OK, sorry for the abrupt and unannounced hiatus. Here's my excuse for the lost weekend at Portly Dyke's place: It was Labor Day.

As if.

I'm self-employed, and have been since 1988. It's not like I take "days off" or anything (except that I do -- those are usually the days that I consume blog content as if it is a constant stream of Entenmann's chocolate-covered donuts, and comment as if I am the goddess of all True Truth -- usually, that's Wednesday and Thursday).

Last weekend, though, I had an accidental holiday.

I prepared for a garage sale on Friday, had the garage sale on Saturday, recovered from the garage sale on Sunday, and by Monday, I just had a huge case of the Fuck-Its.

I considered putting this up on the blog for the weekend:

But I thought it might not really be comprehensible to anyone under the age of 40, so I opted for radio silence instead.

I'll post a short bit here about "The Humiliation Factor of Garage Sales", and pick up with my usual pithy commentary Wednesday morning (on my "day off" -- which means that I've only REALLY had one day "on" since Friday -- how cool is that?).

The Garage Sale (aka "tag sale", "jumble sale", "yard sale", depending on where you live and/or how high-falutin' you are) is a VERY FUCKING WEIRD phenomenon, in my opinion.

I sort through a bunch of stuff that I don't want any more, and I put it outside, on my driveway -- maybe tag it or price it, maybe not -- hoping that you'll want it, and you walk up my driveway and take a look at the stuff that you may or may not want, just for entertainment, or because you are actually looking for something, or because you're bored and have nothing else to do, and we interact in the confluence of my desire to just have this stuff go away while I might make a small amount of money, and your desire (which I really have no idea about).

At some point, I, the seller, must assume that I actually wanted the stuff that I now do not want -- enough to buy it, in a retail store or at a garage sale, or, in the least incriminating circumstance, perhaps I received it as a gift.

You, the buyer, are strolling through my sale, judging not only whether or not you want any of my (many) particular items, but perhaps, while assessing the overall quality of the sale itself.

I kid you not -- these are some of the comments that I heard during my sale: "Well, the prices are certainly 'right'", "Very well organized", "Well, you've got a good crowd!" and "Did you advertise?"

So now, there are several complex levels of interaction going on. The judging of the stuff in terms of personal proclivities. The judging of the presentation of the stuff. The judging of the general appeal of the stuff. The judging of the size and quality of the population viewing the stuff.

The humiliation factor comes in when someone breezes through your sale, sniffs at all your stuff (Hey! I wanted that stuff! . . . . at some point), and breezes out again -- not just with indifference -- but with a look of disdain for you, your stuff, AND your sale.

Ouch. That hurts. My stuff that I don't want any more has been judged -- and I'm supposed to somehow feel inadequate about that.

OK. See!?!?!?!

That is fucking twisted.

I think I need some therapy.

(Just kidding. This was a whisper in a maelstrom, but I did notice it, subtle though it was. In reality, this was not what I needed to recover from. It was more like standing on hot concrete for 8+ hours, and making $137.57 on items that were mostly priced under $1 -- that's a lot of stuff! Well, that's why I had the sale on Labor Day weekend -- you can't say we didn't have a huge crowd of people perusing the stuff we didn't want.)

What was left is going to the local "free store".

Anybody need another Stylewriter printer?

Posted byPortlyDyke at 10:47 PM  


Gender Blank said... September 5, 2007 at 9:36 AM  

Did you at least make the early birds pay double? I effing hate early birds! I swear I could have just dumped all my shit into a pile in the middle of the driveway and the early birds would've clawed each other's eyes out trying to get to it. They're definitely a different breed.

liberalandproud said... September 5, 2007 at 10:21 AM  

That's why I love my current location. We're right off a pretty busy highway, so we just put signs out when we're ready to start the sale. We save money on advertising, and there are no early birds. It works great, except for the time this douche went up and down the highway stealing people's signs. I was so pissed at that guy.

PortlyDyke said... September 5, 2007 at 10:24 AM  

I am firmly in the "no advertising" (then I can bail if the weather sucks or I get a case of the fuck-its), and do not put out signs until I'm ready for "customers".

My little town is pretty sleepy, so garage-saling is a big activity -- as long as the signs are out on a sunny (or at least not rainy) day, you can pretty much follow the Field of Dreams methodology:

If you sell it, they will come.

Anonymous said... September 6, 2007 at 7:59 AM  

I keep hearing references to "douche" and its derivatives as a derogatory term. Would anyone care to explain why it's derogatory?


Emily said... September 6, 2007 at 4:19 PM  

Ah. Yard sales. Bradley and I have had a couple of those and they're always weird. The last one we had attracted a huge number of grad students from the university Bradley had just graduated from (and that I'm graduating from soon...)

It's weird when people you know paw through your things. And buy your excess wine glasses.

Anonymous said... September 8, 2007 at 6:23 AM  

PD, I grew up with a garage-sale-ing mother. She even pondered writing a book about garage sale etiquette. Sounds like you could do that, too. :-)

Anonymous said... September 14, 2007 at 7:08 AM  

At some point, I, the seller, must assume that I actually wanted the stuff that I now do not want...

This was so funny! I've been on both sides of a garage sale, (some people here in Big D like to call them "Estate Sales." But, that high-falutin' term doesn't change the reality of what it really is.)and am always amazing that people will lay bare their flotsam and jetsam to the world for judgement.

Thanks for this bit of fun! And, congrats on the $137.57. Go buy more stuff!

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