We had a yard sale today. On the whole it went really well. However, when you’re dealing with random people on the street and people who saw your ad on Craigslist, you never know what you’re going to get.
Our most interesting customer of the day is a tie between a few people.
I should probably interject here that I’ve been going to yard sales and flea markets since I was very young. My mom and I used to go through the paper (this was back before Craigslist, kids) and figure out which sales sounded good. We’d then plot our route (ditto GPS) and go from sale to sale looking for treasures. I still have an antique sterling and marcasite ring that I got for $0.50 that’s worth much more than that. I think I got it when I was between 8 and 10. In other words, I am a yard sale veteran
Anyway, when attending a yard sale, don’t be one of these people. These are the people that make us want to pull out our hair and throw things.
The Early Bird–
Our ad specifically stated that we were opening at 10:00am. Amanda got here at 8:45 and we started to set up. Early lady, who had apparently memorized our Craigslist ad, showed up at 9:10am. That’s FIFTY MINUTES EARLY. Amanda and I were hanging tarps to protect our stuff in case it rained. This was work that required climbing a ladder, using rope and bungee cords while trying noy to fall into the rosebush. In other words, doing something that should not be interrupted by some busybody who couldn’t WAIT for us to get our stuff out of the house and car. She kept interrupting us to ask about specific items mentioned in our ad. She didn’t leave until well after 10:00am. We wanted to cry with relief when she was gone.
The Nasty Haggler–
One guy was a repeat customer. He’d been at our last yard sale which we did two years ago. He’s foreign, he always buys a lot of stuff, and he clearly comes from a culture where haggling is a regular practice. The problem is that he is positively nasty about bargaining for a good deal. Also, I know that when he brings his wife along that he’s speaking his native language. What he fails to realize that not all Americans are morons who don’t understand other languages. A basic understanding of French means that I can get a pretty good gist of what he’s saying. Also? When something is priced at, say, $10? Offering me $3 is insulting and I WILL refuse to sell it to you. That would be my prerogative as the seller. Also? If you’re going to try and bully Amanda and use your relative bulk to intimidate her, don’t think that I won’t tell you to get lost. Though this time I didn’t have to, Thumbelina did it for me.
The Totally Unprepared Shopper–
One guy pulled up in a tiny red car. I mean, two-seater, shoebox trunk, the definition of a small midlife crisis car. Also? It was red. In retrospect I think it was a Miata. Anyway, Amanda and I commented that there was no way that he could be coming to the yard sale with a car that small, right? Right? Yeah, not only did he come to the yard sale, he bought the bulkiest items we had, two sets of plastic shelving with drawers. He spent the next 45 minutes trying to fit them into his car. In the end, he drove away with the smaller of the shelving sets and all of the drawers in the car (miraculously). But the framework from the other set of shelves? He was holding them precariously with his left hand, in other words hanging them out the window, as he drove away. Amanda and I laughed until we were red in the face. Never have I seen such a thing. For the sake of safety on the roads, I hope he didn’t live too far away and that he didn’t drive stick.
The Shopper with No Filter–
Nobody wants to hear about your thoughts on life and death while you shop. Really, your medical history and your family’s drama? Your feelings on mental illness? Not appropriate conversation to be having with total strangers. I guess calling it a conversation is not totally accurate. It was more like a monologue; a never ending barrage of verbal diarrhea. And she came back THREE TIMES without buying a single thing. I know now more about this woman than I ever wanted to know, and I don’t even know her name.
On the whole most people were lovely. Thumbelina and Rerun got to come outside periodically and get attention. It didn’t really rain, and we met some more neighbors we didn’t know yet. Also, we made a reasonable amount of money on stuff that would have otherwise gone to the trash, recycling, or Goodwill. Still, as I remember every day at work, dealing with the public is hard. Or, as Geoff put it, “Yard sales are like a bug light for the eccentrics of Cambridge.” Amen, husband.