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Friday, April 8, 2011

Hi, My Name is Pearl and I'm Garage-Sale Dependent

Shh. You hear that? That whooshing sound? It’s the sound of another work week – and an irretrievable part of our collective youth – slipping by.

It all happens so quickly! If only we knew what was on the horizon, knew what to expect, how we should dress…

Ah-HA! But we do! Because everyone knows that my iPod, set on shuffle and played on my Friday-morning commute foretells the future.

It could happen!

Fake Palindromes by Andrew Bird
Golden Years by David Bowie
Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys by Traffic
Say Blow by Blow Backwards by Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns (track #3 on the link and featuring Maceo Parker, James Brown’s sax player for years)

So there you have it. Any time “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” shows up, not only do you know what you’re doing for the next 12 minutes but there’s the chance a velvet jacket will show up.

I’ve moved mine to the front of the closet.

And speaking of velvet jackets and lest you’ve failed to notice: The season has returned.

I’m talking about Garage Saling.

No, not Garage Sailing, a weekend pursuit in which one outfits a garage for maritime sport but Garage Saling, 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, wheedling “Multi-Family Sale!” or my favorite, last weekend’s “Buy My Crap” – lead me on, lead me in, a Siren’s song of instant gratification and cheap thrills.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not 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. No, not really. Well, yes, really. But don’t tell anyone.

I’ve pushed others into the Garage Sale Vortex. We spend whole Saturday afternoons chasing down “Huge Sale” signs, the car veering to the left, to the right. The 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 shimmed and duct-taped front end of the Civic carries us, junk-drunk and giddy, home.

Best deals ever? Fifty-cent vintage Ray Bans in perfect shape. A three-dollar leather coat that fits like a glove. A three-dollar 1920s rolling cocktail cart in passable condition. Best of all? A five-dollar unopened Husker Du original pressing. Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa! Victory is mine!

This is not to say that we haven’t been had, even if “had” was only in the sense of 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. And what’s with trying to sell me things you’ve received for free?! I know where you got those Pert Shampoo samples, lady.

There are also “professional” garage sales held by people who never seem to bring their items in from the garage/yard/driveway but simply cover them with tarps from Monday through Wednesday, their “sales” resumed Thursday. It is my belief is that these people buy items from other garage sales, double the price, and re-sell them. These sales, to use the vernacular, “suck”.

And of course there are some pretty specific garage sales out there: tons of stuff for babies, the terribly skinny/overweight, tools but not much else, that sort of thing. It comes with the territory. We Garage-Salers are a hardy bunch and accustomed to the disappointment that comes with, say, a garage full of romance novels or cardboard cut-outs of Easter bunnies and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons.

The season is upon us, and starting this weekend, the Honda and I will be out.

And if I see you at a garage sale, then, good luck to you, and may the sharpest eye win.

39 comments:

Sarah said...

I've been feeling the itch too! There's nothing quite like thrifting and garage saling. The thrill of the hunt, the sheer ecstasy of finding something you didn't know you needed until you saw it, and then seeing it'll only cost you $1.

Going thrifting this weekend...but I'm sure there will be a sign or two to lure me and the Momma to pull over in a residential area.

Scarlet Blue said...

They should provide free bacon donuts at these garage sales to draw in the crowds.
Sx

Oilfield Trash said...

It is funny that you talked about garage sales today because on my way out of how tiny hamlet I must have seen 20 or so garage sales going on today.

savannah said...

damn, sugar! i was stopped dead in my tracks at Fifty-cent vintage Ray Bans in perfect shape. now THAT was a score! and yes, i'll be hitting the estate sales this weekend! ;~D xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

What are we doing sitting at work? A change jar and the listing from Craig's List...Gotta find a neighborhood sale, easy on the gas.

Pearl said...

Sarah, it IS the thrill of the hunt!

Scarlet, but then you have to take a brisk walk...

OT, it's that time! Something about spring screams "I need to buy other people's u8sed stuff". And robins. It screams "robins" too.

Savannah, it was a rare find and there's no doubt about that!

Anonymous, :-) I have a jar of quarters and dimes ready to go...

Simply Suthern said...

Dont diss the tool sales. It's the stuff of dreams!!

Pearl said...

Simply, every time I go by a sale specific to tools, I always think 'well SOMEbody's going to be really excited about this one'!

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

My mother raised me on yard sales. Friday nights we'd sit down with the classified section and a local map and plot a route that would let us hit each sale with the least amount of back-tracking. Afterwards she'd itemize her buys and prices paid and revel in the savings.

I'm a little more haphazard than that, but I think tomorrow in admidst my car shopping i'll be trying to hit a few sales. My holy grail this year is old cork coaster sets for my crafting.. and comic books. always comic books.

Pat said...

I should get into yard-saling...Somehow, though, all I see is junk. I don't go very often, though. If I lived closer to my younger sister, who lives 2500 miles away, I'd go with her because she yard sales often and finds great stuff. I don't have her "vision" in seeing what a treasure something is that I see as junk.

Bossy Betty said...

When the kids were little, I thrived on garage sale deals! Maybe I should go again. I believe you may have given me the fever, Ms. Pearl.

Eva Gallant said...

I've never really understood the attraction. I usually just drive on by.

Pearl said...

I do really think that four out of five garage sales have nothing to offer. It's that fifth sale, though...

It's the Hunter/Gatherer in me. :-)

jenny_o said...

So funny and it's all true. I had to chortle about the used underwear - nicely done!

laughingmom said...

We had our garage open one Saturday and people came up to see what we had for sale! -Time to clean out the garage!!!

Drake Sigar said...

I buy used women’s underwear, but only if they haven’t been washed.

Nancy said...

My husband's a hoarder, so we can't go to garage sales. It's part of his 12-step program. :)

my name is Ian said...

happy hunting!

Lemmiwinks said...

great background on this

Douglas said...

Oh, the number of times I have been cast upon the shoals when I have gone garage sailing... I have come to dislike garage sales. Our streets are too narrow and lined with deep swales in lieu of a sewer system to channel the rain water. It becomes a challenge to wend one's way down a street on weekends. Still, like you, I am drawn to bargains. And, if I had more than a square foot of empty space in my garage, I'd be out there too.

Sioux said...

"Junk-drunk." I love it!

What is/are Husker Du?

David L Macaulay said...

you know how to live you do, Oh I love Dirty Old Town

Gigi said...

I've always wanted to get into Garage Saling - but that would require I get up and be dressed early on a Saturday....since I do that Monday through Friday it's not something I want to do on the weekend. Now if they'd start these sales around 11:00 I would be good to go.

Antares Cryptos said...

Ah, yes. Someone else's treasured crap that ends up in one's garage.

Julianna said...

I love garage sales. sadly, I don't get to often since I work every Saturday. :(

Storage auctions are great too. I know someone who bought a unit for $25. Turns out the person was a hoarder of old magazines... inside one of the boxes was an actual newspaper from the day Lincoln was shot. Can you imagine? :)

Tracy said...

Pearl,
I like garage saling; not sailing...but I also have to be in the mood to deal with the tackiness of it; looking through people's junk and pretending it's nice junk!

Daisy said...

Long ago, when we lived on a busy street, we had a garage sale and made Burma-Shave style signs to bring people in. The weather had been bad, so the signs said: Thunder, Lightning/ Tornado, Hail/ Just can't stop our/ Rummage Sale (the last with an arrow toward the house). We had a great turn out!

Belle said...

Some of my favorite possessions were found at garage sales. I got an 1861 Cree Bible and it sits proudly displayed in the living room. Garage Saling is an adventure, you never know what you will find!

Daisy said...

Ah, Saturday here in Port Alberni! The newspaper has a printed list of all the garage sales. Just have to tear out the section and we're off and running. How's that for organization ... we are serious about "sailing" here.

Lazarus said...

You, Pearl, are an impressive garage sale shopper, I'm jealous!

River said...

I used to love garage sales, but over-priced worn out goods and clothing plus table upon table of useless little dishes and salt'n'pepper shakers have put me off.

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June said...

Where I live the garage sales all seem to be full of pink and purple plastic children's toys, bodice ripper novels, and Avon collectible candlesticks.
If ever I saw a pair of Raybans for fifty cents, I'd be sucked into the habit, though. Not likely in these parts.

Thanks for coming by Aging Gratefully, and for noticing what a knockout MiMau is. In her heart, she is a puma.

Pat said...

Next time you're in the neighbourhood I'm your man! But you have to come up to the attic. I can't carry all that junk down to the garage.
There will be crumpets:)

Tempo said...

Its somewhat comforting to know that some things are the same all over the world Pearl...
Many of the salers here seem to be the resaler kind. Grab a bargain and resell it for less of a bargain, but I've got enough crap...and I'm a minimalist so I dont collect, even only slightly used underwear..

Pale Rambler said...

Used to love garage-saling in college. Got some great "deals" like an antique pressure cooker, a portable martini set (in a leather bound case, thank you very much), and a quadruple album set of live Woody Allen stand up performances.

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Love bargain hunting & discovering interesting items! Enjoy reading your blog posts, Pearls!

texwisgirl said...

Hi there! Thanks for dropping by my blog today! I'm a Wis. raised girl so happy Minn. living to you! :) Congrats on getting published! You have quite the wit!