It's "shopping for cool stuff" weekend!

By Mick Mouse · Jan 8, 2012 · ·
  1. Mick Mouse
    Well, I decided to spend this weekend going to various thrift stores and shopping for cool stuff, and I was really quite amazed at the stuff I found! For some reason, going through other peoples stuff is an enjoyable way to spend your day, especially if you find things that you didn't know until just now that you couldn't live without!

    For instance, whose desk would not be complete without a re-creation of Galileo's water thermometer or a small globe that shows all of the constellations in the night sky rather than surface details of the Earth? 6 little 3/4 ounce airtight jars for my MMJ? 750 ml glass bottles complete with stoppers for my mead-brewing projects? A 1 pound zip-lok bag full of Zippo lighters? A pewter cup for my Alter and a 12 gallon cast iron kettle?

    The list goes on and on, but as you can tell, these things are priceless. For the life of me, I can't understand why people throw this stuff away! One man's junk is another man's treasure, I guess.

    Along the way, I saw some things that made me think, too. I saw many, many picture frames that still had pictures of people and families in them. I thought to myself "what levels have you fallen to, that you get rid of pictures of family or loved ones". Have you lost the home to keep pictures in? Have things comes to such a pass that you don't even care enough about the people to take their pictures out of the frames before you get rid of them?

    I saw pieces of furniture that were obviously repaired by their owners carefully, only to end up in the second-hand store, and I wondered what must have happened. The previous owner must have cared about their stuff, only to lose it in the end.

    I saw brand-new clothes, some with the label still on them, and wondered what it must be like to have so much that you have to give it away because you can't wear it all.

    I guess what I really saw was a store full of the broken and shattered dreams of other people. People who, for the most part, had to sell their possessions to survive another day. But then I took another look, and I realized that you can see things differently, as well. I also saw people who refused to say no, and refused to accept their lot blindly. I saw people who were on there way up, rather than on their way down. I saw foreigners digging through our cast-offs and junk, and thinking that they would never find such good stuff like this in their country and wondering why Americans toss such good stuff away.

    It made me think that, just maybe, I don't have it so bad after all. After all, I can get into my personal privately owned automobile, drive anywhere I want to, stop anywhere I want to, do whatever I want to, whenever I want to. And I don't have to account to anyone in order to do it! I can get into my car, drive to the store, and buy other peoples dreams and never give it a thought. Maybe I have it too good, maybe a little of going without is good for the soul.

    I can comfort myself by thinking that perhaps my money will go to help those who really need it I guess, but those folks got paid when they sold their stuff. All I know is that this time, I came up. I got the cool stuff and, while I might feel sorry for those who had to sell it, I'll give it a good home for them.

    I can only wish that, in the past when I had to sell my stuff, someone did the same for me.

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  1. Mick Mouse
    Well, I had my first yard sale last week-end, and this entry seemed like a perfect place to put down the details.

    It sucked.

    I have found that the town in which I live has some odd habits when it comes to yard sales, garage sale, rummage sales, or whateven you call it when you invest time and effort in an attempt to convince total strangers why they should give you cash for something that you were too lazy to throw into the trashcan.

    For instance, take advertising. Now, I made up some nice colorful signs, with each one being one half of a sheet of card-stock type paper, and they were probably about 24 inches long by 18 inches high. Big enough to be seen easily, but small enough to not cause trouble. So, I go out and put up my signs the evening before the yard-sale, so they will be up when people start moving about for the day. I get up the next morning, get all of my stuff set out, and then jump into the car with the idea of checking on the signs to make sure they are still up.. The first one is OK, but as I pill up to the second one, I see some old lady taping HER sign up on top of mine! All you could see of mine was the YARD SALE part of it. So I politely ask her what in the fuck she thinks she is doing, and get the typical lame-ass reply. "Oh, I didn't know that it was YOURS!" WTF! So it would have been OK if it was someone else's? Or it would have been OK if I had not caught you? Four of the six signs I had out there wwere covered up, which was a state of affairs that did not last long.

    Then, you have times. Now, I always put a starting and an ending time on all of my signs, but invariably, some clown will show up 20 minutes early while you are still trying to get all of the stuff out and situated. That is pretty much a fact of life with yard-sales, so I am kind of used to it. But I got this old bat who showed up 23 minutes before I was officially open, wanted me to stop setting things out and open certain boxes for her, had to complain about the quality and price of everything-not negotiate, mind you, but complain! Then, it seems as if everyone shuts down their sales at 1:00. I actually went to a sale a week or two ago, and the person was running off customers so that they could close up! That seems to be the rule, rather than the exception, as well. Or (my favorite!) the car full of women who roll up at 5 minutes after the closing bell has sounded and you are putting stuff away, and they want you to drag it all back out so they could "have a look at it".

    Naturally, you have prices. I have learned NOT to pre-price items at a yard-sale. Quite often, the first offer for an item is for more than you would have asked initially, so you are making money right out of the gate. Normally I will haggle for a bit more, just to keep up appearances, but if I have a crowd, I will loudly proclaim the sale, to attract everyone's attention and foster their hopes that they too might get such an amazing deal! Plus, I like the "back and forth" of the deal process. My thought process is simple- I was going to throw all of this crap away anyway, so any money I get is all pure profit. but, by the same token, I also know the value of all my items, both retail and "street", and I will not just give stuff away (in most circumstances, anyway!). Then of course, you have the old bat who shows up, always either early or late, wants to complain that the prices are too high, takes up time from legitimate customers, buys about 35 cents worth of scrap, and wants to pay with a fifty. And then bitches when you can't/won't break the bill! Now, I don't have a problem with the small amounts. After all, that is where the money is in yard-sales-those endless 50 cent sales of everything from books to clothes to just plain junk. Don't get me wrong, the big sales are gratifying too, but it is the little sales where you make your money! No, my problem is with the old broad who brings fifty dollar bills to a yard-sale! Who the fuck does that? Obviously, everyone who has ever yard-saled has run the big bill con, in which you pro-offer a big bill in the hopes of getting stuff at even further discounts or (the heavenly words!) "Aw, just go ahead and take it! Don't worry about it.", but come on! There are rules here, one of which is you NEVER run the big bill con in the morning. It just pisses the seller off. It works best in the evening, right before close-up, and you are likely to walk away with the item for free because the sellers really just want to pack it all up at this point.

    Finally, I found that Sundays are not very good days for sales here. I sat in my driveway (actually the garage, to stay out of the direct sun) from 8:00 Am to 4:30 PM on Sunday, and had not one customer! Not one! One of my neighbors commented on this as well, he told me that most folks just don't even bother selling on Sunday. He says it is not church or anything like that, it is just that people here don't go out yard-saling on Sundays! Way I look at things, a bargain doesn't know the day of the week, so it shouldn't matter, but apparently, it does. It was not a total loss for the day though. I wired up speakers in my garage so that I can listen to music out there now, totally swept the place out and cleaned it all up, drank about a 12 pack of beer, and grilled several pounds of assorted cow, pig, and chicken. I ended up tired, hot, half lit from the beer, stuffed with good food.....and faced with the prospect of boxing all of this crap up and putting it back into storage. I said "fuck it" and shoved it all into a corner and called the AmVets people to come a get a rather large donation.

    I usually have about three or four yard-sales a year, and until this last one, I have always made excellent money. My last big yard-sale, I cleared $350.00 for three days work and got rid of a bunch of old junk! After this one though, I think I am done for a while. I'll just give away/donate all of this boxed up crap and call it quits for this year.

    Maybe I be the buyer for a change again!
  2. edDafuss
    LOL. Yes indeed, it is wounderful to finally have clarity on the finer point of yard-sales, not to mention proper etiquette. I am of the opinion however that you remain stead fast in your haggling endeavors and do suggest next time some ol'witch trys to work it like she got it from Gucci tell her " but ma'am this is all for a good cause and will help people far and wide" then work her for double and donate !/2 to DF. LOL:crazy;):thumbsup:
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