I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Take A Right! Take A Right!!

It’s garage sale time.

The season has manifested itself in a number of ways: the car pulls over of its own accord, two dollars suddenly seems like a lot of money to pay for a pair of pants, and heated footraces from the car to tables laden with pre-owned items of dubious quality occur between normally amiable people.

I’m watching you, Mary.


Garage saling is not for the weak. It takes a sturdy bag loaded with change, a stout pair of shoes.

Ah. Garage saling (excuse me whilst I verbify), a weekend pursuit whereby one cruises for home-made signs posted about town in the hopes of being lead to cheap, used goods. On foot, on wheels, these signs – hand-made neon or store bought, the wheedling “Multi-Family Sale!” or my favorite, last weekend’s telephone-pole-posted and tragically misspelled “Hudge Sale! Eveythig Must Go!” – lead me on, lead me in, a Siren’s song of instant gratification and cheap thrills.

Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I’m after a bargain; but it’s not like I’m looking to buy your old underwear. Unless they’re really cool underwear. No, no, just kidding. Not even if they’re really cool. Well, unless they were your great-grandma’s bloomers and I need them for a Halloween costume.

Don’t tell anyone.

Many a friend has been sucked into the Garage Sale Vortex with me. We can spend whole Saturday afternoons chasing down “Huge Sale” signs, the car veering to the left, to the right. Luckily, our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods are rife with garage sales, people selling quirky art and funky clothing; and like the faithful horse of yesteryear trotting its drunken master home safely from the pub, the Honda seems to know what to do.

Best deals? A three-dollar leather coat that fits like a glove. A three-dollar 1920s rolling cocktail cart in passable condition. A set of turn-of-the-century framed and hand-embroidered floral depictions with only slight water damage. Best of all? A five-dollar unopened Husker Du original pressing.

Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa! Victory is mine!

And that’s what it’s about. The treasure – no matter how you define it.

Which is not to say that I haven’t been had, even if “had” was only in the sense of having been tricked into pulling over and getting out of the car. There are people out there selling sweat-stained, button-less blouses; cup-less, cracked saucers; and sweat pants with blown-out waistbands.

I already got those.

And as an aside, what’s with trying to sell me things you’ve received for free?! I know where you got those Pert Shampoo samples, lady.

Of course there are some pretty specific garage sales out there that do not concern me at all: a yard full of toddler accoutrements, the grimy and esoteric tools of an old man’s shed. It comes with the territory. But we Garage-Salers are a hardy bunch and accustomed to the disappointment that comes with, say, a garage full of two-for-a-quarter romance novels or cardboard cut-outs of Easter bunnies and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons.

As I say, it’s not for the weak.

But as we say on the garage-sale circuit: If you can’t handle the eight-tracks, stay in the car.

24 comments:

Little Ms Blogger said...

My hubby loves tag sales. This frightens me because I have a very small house and I already have over 200 cookbooks. See the dilemma? If I score at tag sale I may have to get rid of a cookbook or end up on the A&E show Hoarders.

But, if I had the room, I'd be looking for dishes...

Simply Suthern said...

"the grimy and esoteric tools of an old man’s shed" Where did you find that shed?? I wanna look.

broken silences said...

Ooooooo, pert shampoo samples. I haven't seen one in years! Perhaps I should travel some many states and come take a look see.

a Broad said...

I love the stories from friends of fabulous things they "picked up for pennies" at tag sales and garage sales.
My luck was never that good. I got a mirror that was amazing with the ugliest dark brown frame, which I painted and now it is one of my favorite things in the house.
That is the sum of my Tag Sale stories.
( I did do well at the After Holiday sales at Saks though) :)

CatLadyLarew said...

Keep me away from garage sales! Please! I have enough shit already that I can't bear to part with!

Sam Liu said...

In general, garage sales are my idea of a living nightmare, I guess I'm just not cut out for them. Having said that, there have been times when I was extremely happy to be at a garage sale for I found some really wonderful bargains. Swings and roundabouts, I believe that's the expression :)

Sweet Cheeks said...

Thanks to the snow we received this weekend...no yard sales going on for us. NEXT weekend better be snow free...Memorial Day yard sales are the greatest~
I'm pretty excited to get the season under way...good to see you scored, sister.
=]

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Here's to great deals!

Anonymous said...

Oh Good God, Pearl. I love a good yard sale. When do we leave? My top three "finds" include a stoneware pitcher from a company in Boston, a pen/ink print of the hotel where my parents honeymooned in Canada, and the giant milkcan on my stoop. Next time you're at a yard sale, take the grubbiest clothing item up the register. The register is the card table with the metal cash box manned by the lady in the sun hat. Hold up the item and ask if she has it in an XL. Cheers. TOWP

Madame DeFarge said...

I just don't go to these things, in case I spend way too much money and I'm in trouble for that enough as it is. Maybe I should do one myself. I have enough stuff.

Argent said...

Sadly, we don't have this in England but I just know I'd rummaging with the best of them if we did. I do like charity shops though, they're the next best thing.

NK said...

I have a theory that if someone is selling something they don't need than it's likely I don't need it either. Just my two cents.

Heather said...

My dad long ago instituted what is known in our family as "Summer Rules" - a period which actually starts each Spring with the first appearances of garage sale signs. If you are the occupant of a car (or especially the driver), you can invoke SUMMER RULES and stop at any such sale that catches your eye.

Back in the late 20th century when I was but a newlywed, my husband was indoctrinated into the SUMMER RULES phenomenon by having the luck (though he'd call it "misfortune" more than "luck") to be in the car with my dad at the wheel en route from my parents' house, where we'd been visiting, to my aunt and uncle's house a 45 minute drive away. It took us over 3 hours to arrive there thanks to SUMMER RULES and my dad's need to acquire several mason jars full of slightly bent, slightly rusted nails for LESS than a DOLLAR.

:-D

Hubby, lo these many years later, is therefore still quite leery of garage sale season, especially if my parents are in town. The only exception is when one of those old men shed type sales is happening, because Hubby now seems to have developed a passion for tools and mason jars of slightly bent, slightly rusted nails himself in his almost-middle-age. Heh.

The Savage said...

Garage sales are for amateurs! Try out an auction sometime and I dare you not to get caught up in the stupid!
I have seen a $1000 solid oak sleigh bed frame go for $125 while I riding mower that wasn't even good for part sell for $650... it would have sold brand spanking new for a little over $700.
Then you have the end of the night sales where you just wanted one tiny little coffee maker and end up with having to buy the whole row... ending up with the coffee maker, 3 microwaves, 4 George Foreman grills of various size, 7 percolators, a broken pressure cooker, a rice cooker and an espresso machine that is missing parts... and you have to take it all if you ever want to be seen at an auction again....

Flea said...

What on earth would you do with an eight track?

Remember about six years ago when every third yard sale had yards o'beer? Or was that just central Florida at the time?

Zaedah said...

Okay, so I'm a sucker for little wooden animals and old quirky tables - especially when they have drawers!

I'll make the long walk to Minn. so we can find some desirable, can't-turn-down bargains!

韋于倫成 said...

人不可以求其備,必捨其所短,取其所長......................................................

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

I love garage sales, too.

mapstew said...

Can you get me some o' them KMII buttons? :¬)

xxx

The Retired One said...

Eight tracks???? They had eight tracks....??? OMG, go back Pearl...they are selling like hotcakes on EBay.... hhahahaa

♥ Braja said...

Y'know those voices in your head? Well....

rakkasa said...

Sweet! I miss the old city, where every estate sale had something interesting over a hundred years old and under a hundred bucks... Now I'm in a "new" town, no history to speak of, and all the garage/yard sales are monumental disappointments.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

We must go to the same sales. I never find good stuff, but other people ALWAYS do--I have no patience for the 8-tracks and ratty sweatsuits with Smurfs on them.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I'm on a very specific Garage Sale quest-- either a straight cast iron dutch oven (without feet) or a Le Creuset enameled one, gently used. I imagine it coming out of the home of a recently passed on family member whose children are less interested in properly valuing things and more interested in getting the task over with. This is how I'll get a $135 dutch oven for $5.