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Friday, February 10, 2012

Take A Right! Take A Right!!

We've come, ladies and gentlemen, to the end of yet another workweek. Another chance get that laundry done, another chance to do the things we want to do as opposed to the things we must do, and yet another chance to wax superstitious about the prophetic qualities of my iPod.

What's that? Surely you've heard! It's perfectly true: my iPod, set on shuffle and played during my morning's commute, foretells the future!

Songs played during said commute are reflections of the iPod's owner and should not be used for gambling purposes.

Rock & Roll Queen by The Subways
Start! by The Jam
King of Swing by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Ahh… The Name is Bootsy, Baby by Bootsy Collins
Mr. Grieves by Pixies
Telegram Sam by T. Rex
She’s Hearing Voices by Bloc Party
Into the Mystic by Van Morrison

You see that? People. There will be a lot of people involved with the coming weekend. Some of them will be funky, and some of them will want to borrow money. Your mission? To know the difference.

Today's post is a walk down memory lane, as there was no time to write last night. Enjoy!

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.


Scarlet Blue said...

I am working on making some quirky art from the pert Shampoo samples... I will get back to you...

Anonymous said...

Yard sales/lawn sales/garage sales/"hug" sales (I didn't find any hugs there) and buy my crap sales. I love them all. Come summer I will be out there cruising.

Nessa Roo said...

My latest garage sale visit was hosted by a small asian woman with a n unstoppable desire to empty my wallet.
"I sell you ebba-ting. Dat dish two dolla. Dat book two dolla. You buy now."
I got a toddler bed. Two dolla.

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Shelly said...

Love those garage sales. When my younger brother was 21, his apartment burned and he lost everything. Before any family could get there that cold Sat. morning, and elderly neighbor lady of his scoured that morning's garage sales and presented him with a full wardrobe.

Unfortunately for him, it was a wardrobe of old men's clothes- powder blue polyester pants that rode just below the chest, white shoes and belts, and an unnatural number of three button vests. We still ask him what happened to those clothes.

laughingmom said...

Inquiring minds must know - did you open the Husker Du?

Anonymous said...

Was buying a used penis pump at a garage sale wrong of me???

Nance said...

Only prognosticatin' number I recognize is Van Morrison's but it's fine by me.

Leenie said...

It's the HUNT almost more than the trophy. A Saturday spent cruisin' with a sharp eyed and yet competitive friend is just fun. Even if all you find is boxes of hammers and tables of polyester.

Pat said...

How I wish I could persuade my husband that a garage sale would be a good idea. He doesn't like the idea of strange people wandering round. Mind you he's pretty strange at times.

terlee said...

Before my husband and I left Edinburgh to return to the States, we had a garage sale. No one understood the concept: A man came to the gate and asked how much we were asking for the garage. Truly.

In Scotland--and the UK in general--they have car boot sales where loads of people fill the trunks of their cars, then take over a parking lot, or a designed area. They're fun, but I sure missed those Saturdays of driving all over town with my BFF hunting for the perfect deal.

esbboston said...

Let me know if you find a button that says, "I Kiss Like A Romantic Scottish Easter Bunny" - especially if it has a picture with a winking bunny.

jabblog said...

Garage sales have never really caught on in UK. As terlee says people would rather fill their car boots,get up early on a Sunday morning (car boot sales tend to be on Sundays) travel miles, pay £5 or £10 for a pitch and spread their goods on trestle tables they've brought with them. Crackers!

Glen said...

fire damadged smoke alarms come to mind...

jenny_o said...

@ Shelly - heartwarming ... and extremely funny :)

I have learned that I must not go to garage sales, I must only hold them. Works better for my wallet. Except for the buyers who want to haggle my already reasonable prices down to the point that I'm paying them. Sheesh. No one here would do that, though. Right?

Daisy said...

Our local paper has a special column to list all the garage sales ... addresses, times, etc. We are nothing if not organized!

Joanne said...

A friend found a train at a garage sale that we sold on Ebay for more than two grand. Finding it was fun. Selling it was harrowing, when we found out what he had and the collectors jumped on it. I had to document every scratch and missing passenger step. Awful.

Amber Star said...

The people who are doing my husband's parents' estate sale will have a notice in the newspaper and she has an email list of 14,000 people. His parents passed away within a month of each other this time last year.

It is against code compliance regs where we live to post a sign on the telephone poles. The code compliance guys follow the directions on the signs and the fine is more than you would make on the garage sale. Seems sort of not fair.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

"Garage sales" around here is code for "Overpriced Rubbish." I hardly ever find anything good at them. Except when very old people have them--then the stuff is decent and well-cared for.

Susan Kane said...

I haven't been to a good garage sale all winter. I am obviously over-due! Let's go cruisin', husband!

Eva Gallant said...

I have to confess, I've never had a hankering to paw through or buy other people's junk. It's not that I'm a snob; it's just too much like work!

JohnD said...

I end up buying a whole lot of stuff that I would never usually buy and which I didn't need in the first place that gathers dust in my lock-up until it's bursting at the seams and the wife says - "Clean it out! Get rid of it! Take it to the tip or have a sale but you are not bringing that junk into the house!"

Oh well, a Saturday Garage Sale at home!

Belle said...

You are right, garage saling is hard work. Making a list, driving, parking, haggling, stuffing in car, going home and unstuffing car. Sheesh. But I love it.

The Jules said...

Do you have car boot sales in Americky?

Great places to go when you're running low on tat.

Austan said...

I once bought a beautiful wood stove for 50 bucks at a garage sale. And a first edition, hand-watercolored illustrated book for $2. When you make a find, it's all worth it! People around here usually have a "FREE!" table, too.

Julianna said...


My play list is...

Brown Eyed Girl
Welcome To the Future
Head Over Feet
Food Chain

Maybe I will go to dinner with my brown eyed boys, who I am head over feet in love with, and will feel so full I will get completely stoned into a food coma.


I am actually doing that tonight.


JeannetteLS said...

I can see going tO a garage sale, but giving them? I have done two and that was two too many. People were not kind as a rule, and far too little was sold and far too little money realized.

BESIDES which... I put a fondu set out to sell. At the end of the day, I had three. That just is not fair!

Rita said...

How can you be out garage saling in this weather?! It's zero degrees up here in Fargo, so I know it's not much warmer in Minneapolis. Do these people have heated garages or what? I am mystified. I didn't thing people put on garage sales in the winter. (I'm from Minneapolis.)

I do have to agree that it can be a wild and dangerous sport sometimes, that's true. ;)

Gigi said...

After seeing what the iPod (set to shuffle) has to say it seems that I will not be leaving my house this weekend. Mainly, because I'm not in the mood to be dealing with anyone - funky or not.

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,
And over here they call it a 'car boot sale'. Never, ever have I seen a car boot for sale at a car boot sale. And never ever did anyone I know who had a 'Garage Sale', actually sell their garage.
Have a good weekend, eh :)

Al Penwasser said...

@Bama Trav: Buying a used penis pump at a garage sale wasn't bad.
USING a used penis pump at a garage sale was, though.

River said...

Garage sales are advertised in our weekend papers here in Sth. Aus. L would read them and say "wanna go?" I'd ask him which suburb then tell him I wasn't walking all that way just on the off chance they might have decent novels for sale that I hadn't already read.

Crystal Pistol said...

I cracked up at "I already got those". Man. That really made me laugh. I startled my sleeping dog with the abrupt laughter. Good stuff, Pearl. :)

I tend to be a tragic misspeller. it's the absent-mindedness and lack of concern for minute detail that are to blame. I'm more of a big pickture type of gal. ;)

the walking man said...

Peark...advice never end a line with the word WAX

"and yet another chance to wax"

Us guys are only going to be thinking of two things and one then is our cars and the other isn't your eyebrows.

Have a great one yourself!

ThreeOldKeys said...

Better a Hudge Sale than those "keep-driving-don't-stop" events with a guy in a lawn chair keeping watch over one tire, some plastic flower arrangements, a box of National Geographics and a plunger.

Pat Tillett said...

I just give it all away. I once had a garage sale and sold my old broken down 10 speed for 5 bucks. Too bad I forgot that I had a twenty hidden under the seat. So, I ended up paying the guy 15 friggin dollars to take my bike. Geeze!