So, you’re thinking about having a yard sale?
Whether you’re de-cluttering, purging, minimizing, moving, remodeling, whatever your motivation, a yard sale can be a great way to clear out the mess. Or lose your shit.
You gather your wares, price what you can, beg friends for their coffee tables and advertise. You’ve purged closets, raided the kids’ rooms when they weren’t looking, emptied the pantry of all under-utilized kitchen accessories, rummaged through the linen closet—and now you’re pretty sure you’ll have a successful sale.
And then yard sale day comes. Early, busy and frantic. You awaken at the break of dawn to set up your tables and arrange your treasures as well as you can.
And then you wait to see who just might show up. This is when things get interesting.
Here is your guide to the types of people you are guaranteed to meet during your long-awaited yard sale.
1. The Early Bird
You’re still setting up your sale: hauling box after box out of your garage, basement or house. You have already begun to sweat. You set your mug of coffee down somewhere but still haven’t finished your first cup. Your teeth aren’t brushed, and you haven’t had time to put on a bra. You begin setting out your gently used Pyrex dishes just as she drives up. An hour early. She doesn’t mind that you aren’t finished setting up. No, she can’t come back later when you have everything in place. She still wants to look around. She calls her friends to tell them that you’re already open for business!
2. The Pro
This guy knows yard sales. He has a perpetual sale in his barn each weekend, and he knows how things should be priced. He knows what will sell and what won’t and doesn’t mind telling you so. Chances are he will school you on what you should be charging for your used blender, clothes and outdated lamps. His preferred items of purchase are tools, knives, Elvis collectibles and anything camouflage. He also smells a little like whiskey entirely too early in the morning.
3. The ‘Moms’ Morning Out’ Crew
These ladies arrive in a minivan and pile out laughing and giggling and perhaps even singing whatever song was on the radio when they pulled up. It is entirely possible that they had a round of mimosas prior to heading out in the morning. They are well dressed, and one of them has her sleepy and somewhat sulky child with her. These ladies are fun, and they are just out to enjoy each other’s company. They love to shop for kids’ clothes, baby gear, trashy romance novels, purses, statement necklaces and fashionable women’s clothes. The child in tow will end up with an armful of free stuffed animals and discarded Happy Meal toys. It will be a bit too quiet when they load up and leave.
4. The Haggler
Some people love to dicker, and when it comes to yard sales, The Haggler reigns supreme. They see your fluorescent price tag on that stereo system and say, “Would you take $5 for it instead?” Sometimes The Haggler just enjoys the dickering; at times they are stubborn and insulting. You’ll be able to tell the difference pretty quickly. Either they’ll leave with the stereo or they won’t, but they will leave knowing that they got the deal of the day or avoided paying entirely too much for your junk.
5. Mrs. Pennypincher
Not to be confused with The Haggler, Mrs. Pennypincher isn’t really going to buy anything, she just wants to act like she will. She will likely spend quite a bit of time walking from table to table, touching everything. She will then take a look at your $5 Ralph Lauren bedspread (still in the package!) and inform you that the price is far too high. When you ask her to name her own price, she will give a disgusted huff and walk briskly to her car, as though you insulted her.
6. The Collector
The Collector will be at your yard sale fairly early because they saw your ad in the newspaper. If you have multiples of any one item, The Collector will buy them all. If there are any pet-related items, bolts of fabric or craft items, Christmas decorations or kitchen items, The Collector will be interested. They will likely tell you that they love yard sales and have plenty of their chosen items, but they just can’t resist what you have to offer.
7. Mr. Buttcrack
You’re used to seeing him at the grocery store, at the park or in line at a fast food restaurant, but not in your front yard. You don’t really notice him at first. He blends in with the rest of the crowd, riffling through your wares. Then he turns around. He doesn’t even need to bend over. There it is. About three inches of his butt crack on display for all to see. You snicker. If your husband hasn’t noticed, you call attention to it for him. You pray that your kids don’t see and loudly announce it to the other shoppers. You question his sensory perception. Can’t he feel the cool breeze blowing back there? Doesn’t he know that his shirt has ridden up? And just like that, he is gone. Along with your gently used cat carrier.
8. Mrs. Hoity Toity
She drives up in her shiny new SUV. Her outfit is neatly pressed, her hair perfectly coiffed. She floats when she walks around, glancing downward at your tables, touching nothing. She only gazes at items that are new in the box or clothing that is still bearing the store tags. She never speaks to you (or anyone for that matter), or if she does it is in curt, choppy sentences. She spies a piece of pottery and turns it over to see if it bears the mark of a priceless collectible, as though it were at an art gallery. Noting that it instead came from a big box retail store, she quickly floats back to her car and is gone.
9. The Passersby
These folks are out walking their dog and just happen to stop by. Their dog and yours begin barking at each other. Loudly. Your dog is ushered inside and the noise level quickly goes down. They want to buy two armloads of items but can’t possibly carry them on their walk and need to run home and grab some money. You place their items to the side for them and never see them again.
10. The Neighbors
A yard sale is a great way to get to know your neighbors if you don’t already. They will come down to chat and will lament the fact that they also need to have a yard sale. They will suggest that next time you do one together. They help you set up and might even volunteer to bring you a dozen doughnuts. These are the folks that will hang out and chat with you while there’s a lull and jump in to help when you’re swamped.
When your sale is all said and done, and you’ve met all of the above unique personalities (and probably even a few more), you’ll collapse into a pile, be grateful that all of that junk is now someone else’s and swear to never have another yard sale again!
Until next year.
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