Every so often, there is clear evidence that the human race is crazy. Bungee jumping, pet boutiques and Marcia Clark are obvious examples. Another is yard sales. I speak from experience since I just had one again, and the entire process convinced me I was out of my mind.
My husband would agree. At the first mention of a yard sale he always says, "You're nuts - we have nothing to sell!" After a quick tour of a few closets, a trip to the basement and a look at our son's room, he concedes that I might be onto something.We then enter the argument stage. Mitch insists that whatever the thing is he didn't even know we owned, he can't live without it. "You can't sell that!" is his plaintive cry, often followed by, "Didn't we already sell that last time?"
Gradually, like time-lapse photography of a seedling, he changes from naysayer to willing accomplice to producer, bursting into bloom on the day of the sale, as excited as P.T. Barnum in a new town. "Put that there! Hurry, they'll be here soon! These things should be out front. Signs! We need more signs!"
Here in Salt Lake City the competition is cutthroat. I considered placing an ad in the newspaper but discovered that to run it for only one day, I'd have to sell an umbrella stand, a broken but definitely antique floor lamp, several Disney mugs and a wicker laundry hamper just to break even. I decided to forego advertising, hoping that distinctive signs ("Great stuff!" "Must see to believe!") and word-of-mouth would suffice.
Marketing aside, I got down to the real work, which entailed moving furniture, carting boxes and running myself ragged. I must have lost ten pounds just dragging all the stuff outside (admittedly a perk if you're battling the bulge, and these days, who isn't?).
But the hardest task came last: assigning value to worthless junk. I hate that part, especially since I know beforehand that whatever price I give an item, the typical yard sale client will offer half. Then when it's over, everything that previously had value is moved to the gutter with a sign that says, "FREE." Go figure.
A cloudy sky on the big day was troubling, yet I proceeded, buoyed by the weather guy's guarantee of "sunny and warm, a perfect day for whatever you're planning." Nevertheless, it rained. But only for a while. Then it poured.
In the end I made $127, but it almost cost me that in Excedrin and Mylanta, not to mention my son's take on his used bike and Ouija board. Plus, I think I caught a cold, but that may have been coming already.
Like any bad experience, it taught me something. I learned that we definitely need more telephone poles in my neighborhood, which I discovered when I attempted to post my signs. All the poles were already filled with notices for other yard sales, many from days past. (In order to notify the public about mine, I'm afraid I may have "partially obscured" some competing notices for the same date. Sorry.)
I can't say I'll never do it again, but next time I won't tell anyone in advance. That way, if nobody shows up, I won't feel rejected.
I told you people are crazy.