Let’s talk today about how you can make tens of dollars with a little thing I like to call “yard sales”. A.K.A. garage sales, rummage sales, or fun-time-with-lemons-and-razors.
I agreed to the yard sale for the same reason I agree to everything. My wife is beautiful and persuasive. She learned long ago that I am a powerless negotiator in the arena of married life. She holds the cards, so to speak. Regardless, I did agree and we spent the better part of two weeks sorting out the piles of hoarded junk into marketable goods. Hundreds of pieces of pottery and I dare say, thousands of clothes for girls from sizes Newborn – 3T.
There were a few outfits marked “Just Born” which I thought was an aggressive suggestion for a clothing tag to make. Can they only wear the item if they were just born? What is the timeframe on just born? Hmm.
Moving on. Friday and the sale items are all prepared. Good thing because we had planned on seeing one of my favorite people, Peyton Manning, speak live at an event in my hometown. He is a class act. Funny and easy going with a little wisdom sprinkled along the way. I left the event feeling motivated to do something. That something was to lead our yard sale to victory. Never mind that we only had six hours to sleep before dragging out all the tables and junk to meet the 6 am crowd (psychopaths, no one enjoys 6 am), we were determined and this shit was gonna happen.
Saturday morning we got up, got doughnuts, and prepared the sale. By 7:00 we were ready for the wave of inevitable commerce. By noon we would surely have financed a trip to Bora Bora or Fiji.
8:30 rolls around and we have seen no one. A lonely car pulls up and an elderly lady walks over and starts judging our life one piece of junk at a time. “My goodness you must have a lot of children”, she said. “We do. Four of them.” I replied. She kept walking and ended up at the hanging rack of nicer clothes that we felt deserved more than $0.50. She picked out three nice outfits and one was a decorative Christmas dress which was a modest $5. Originally it cost $40 and I’m certain it was only worn once, briefly, for photos.
“Five dollars seems expensive.”
“Does it? I thought that was a decent price.”
“It was more than I was wanting to pay.”
“I think your frame of reference is off. You are from the generation where a nickel was admission to the movies. This decade, five dollars is a fancy cup of shit-tasting coffee. If you can’t imagine paying 100 admissions to the theatre for a simple dress I can understand but to me the choice looks an awful lot like naked poverty versus a latte. I think you know the right choice.”
“Would you take three dollars?”
“Sure. Thanks for stopping by.”
The old lady made off like a bandit for a grand total of $6.25. In the meantime, two older gentlemen in beat-up pickups did drive by inspections of our crap and visually determined that we suck and our stuff wasn’t even worth pumping the brakes. If I had been standing near the road I might have been killed.
We had some gracious friends drop by and relieve us of some pottery and clothes. Then we had what can only be described as “the rush”. For a period of five to ten minutes there were three separate customers shopping in our makeshift store. Some of them even bought things.
Near lunchtime the skies began to darken and rain moved in. We started moving things into the garage to shut down the sale and people kept driving up. In the rain. To pile in the garage and look at junk.
A couple more sales of $2 and $4 and we managed to close the garage while there was a break in traffic. We locked up and went into the house for a well-deserved nap.
About ten minutes into naptime someone knocked on the front door. They weren’t confident that the knock would be enough because they immediately rang the doorbell too. I was greeted by two ladies who had bought several baby shoes earlier and realized that they didn’t have matches. We opened the garage, located the boxes of baby shoes and sorted out the missing shoes on the floor of the garage. Thank God they made the trip of thirty minutes back out to the house to save that $0.50 worth of missing toddler sandals. I closed the garage again and managed to take a nap.
We didn’t want to count the money right away because it might cause us to pack our bags and move to Mexico or Belize. You have to ease yourself into being rich so you don’t appear to be “new money”. After waking up and eating some lunch we rolled out the bankroll. I am an engineer to the core so I did a cost benefit just to be sure we were officially wealthy. After deductions of obvious costs like donuts, price stickers, gas to go get display tables and hanging racks, and a box of Red Bull to get me through the morning, I was confident that we had made a profit well beyond $5.50. I dare say… $6.00.
If I understand Federal law correctly, my wife employed me to help. Henceforth and theretowith, I should be guaranteed the minimum wage at the very least. I assume I could sue her in court for lost wages and benefits but I’m not sure if I would be awarded attorney fees. The Better Business Bureau would be very little help in the yard sale market. So to save time and balance the scales of morality I ate a few of her chocolate glazed donuts even though chocolate is not my favorite flavor. I know that stealing pastries sounds harsh but I feel it is a lesson she needed to learn.
Lesson = When disappointed and undercompensated, I will eat your pastries with total disregard for my own preference in flavor.
If you have ever kick-started the road to fame and fortune via yard-sale, this post is for you. You’re welcome. Let’s spend our six dollars on a beer together.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.