Springtime and Yardsales=Idiots

While sure that someone will come along to defend the idiots, I’ve really gotten the shits of these mindless folks. No matter that we’re traveling on a 55 MPH state highway, the sight of a Yard Sale sign causes some people to slam on the brakes and while looking at the tables full of crap begin dodging back and forth like a squirrel on crack. Choose a side of the road on which to park, Sparky-and quit screwing around. Next are the boneheads who have already pulled off the highway (barely) onto the berm and throw their door open into the travel lane. Og forbid that you use that shiny thing on the door to see if traffic is approaching.
Then there are the folks so completely focused on the sale that they walk across the road paying not one whit of attention to traffic. Their counterpart is the meathead who has already bought a Big Box 'O Junk and wanders across the highway at a speed which would make arthritic turtles proud, paying abso-fucking-lutely no attention to traffic. We’re not in a development, you asshats-this is a state highway! Pay attention to other motorists, dammit! Please, gimme a hood mounted cannon.

I thought I was going to murder a woman last spring who stopped for a yardsale. In of itself, this is not an offensive act, but it is when you stop dead on the street, put your blinker on and sit there blocking all traffic while your companion prowls the tables.

It was one of those streets which has no shoulder or parking area on the sides, and if she’d just stopped to let someone out, I wouldn’t have been bothered, because that’s part of living in an old town. But no-- she put the car into park and sat there, hazard lights cheerfully anouncing she had no intention of moving until her friend had finished browsing.

Traffic was zooming by on the other side of the road, so darting to the left, into the other lane to go around her was not an option. She had at least twenty cars backed up behind her. Finally, the cars behind me, assuming there must have been an accident, began to divert down an alley. A person a few cars back courteously motioned for me to do the same, holding traffic until I backed up and turned into the alley. When I passed on a cross street, I saw her still sitting there, a new line of cars beginning to pack up behind her.

If ever there was an appropriate time for about twenty cars to lay on the horn (and I MEAN lay), this was it.

As I had to swerve today on the way to dinner in order to avoid a mouthbreather loaded down with yardsale junk, I know exactly what you mean.

When I’m doing 60 mph on a major highway and another car is traveling in the opposite direction at the same speed, I’d really rather not have to risk my life and the lives of my passengers because Spunky the Wonder Consumer got a box of old eight tracks and wants to stand three feet out into the highway in order to examine them in the sunlight.

The horn was my first thought. My second was to mosey over to her with a cellphone, point to it, and tell her you’re calling the cops unless she moves her fat ass.

And I though yardsales were bad on wide California streets. Yeesh!

And a pox upon those folks who come knock on your door at 5am on the day of your yardsale!! The sign says 8 am, dickhead!


Early birds. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about them. Some people put “NO EARLY BIRDS” in their adds and on signs and still get those inconsiderate jerks.

That is truly idiotic. Why wouldn’t she just go around the block? No parking at all? Seems like a bad call to even have a yard sale if there was no parking.

This is going to sound snarky, but is your horn broken?

It’s amazing how the horn solves this problem so many times. Although honking your horn at some people might get a hail of bullets back at you, folks who stop at yard sales don’t normally fall into that category.

I’ve never had a yardsale. But , tell me…do people get ripped off much? How do you keep track of the people and the stuff? I just think it would be so hard to keep an eye on everyone and do wheeling and dealing at the same time.

They caught a couple of teens here who the cops called “serial garage sale thieves”, who did nothing but ride their bikes from sale to sale, shoplifting things to re-sell. The main thing they grabbed was CDs and DVDs, since they could easily “fence” those to used media stores. I imagine shoplifting is just something people accept is going to happen, but when otherwise many of the items would be tossed in the bin anyhow, maybe they don’t get that upset over it.

I posted a long time ago about how I had been hired as “security” at the garage sale of rich friends, and how many people tried to rip off some seriously expensive items.

No, and I did employ it, but she was either deaf, oblivious or completely unconcerned.

I can just imagine her telling the story of how rude we all were to keep honking at her. “But there was nowwhere to park! People have no consideration these days!”

A lot of these people are obsessed. They buy and sell stuff. When they get too much junk, they have their own yard sale. They aren’ t thinking clearly. When they pass a card table full of junk in someone’s yard, they are like racoons around a shiny object and are blinded to reality. Think of them as similar to the lady with 83 diseased cats. Then you can feel sorry for them, as you should.

We had a yardsale once. Once. I’d never do it again.

Yes, we had thefts. The most memorable was a woman who pulled up in a beaten-up old van, and ran like hell to snatch a box of paperback books before diving back into her car and squealing away like she’d just pulled off a bank robbery.

That alone would have made her memorable, but it surely stuck out in my memory because the side door of the van was missing and was spanned by a thin rope. Two small children sat in the doorway, clinging to the rope with their feet dangling above the road. They swayed dangerously as she roared out of the driveway onto the highway.

Another woman tried to stuff a sweater into her jacket. When I was totalling up her purchases, I boldly snatched a bit of sleeve that was hanging out and cheerfully noted that it was a quarter, putting it into the bag as though nothing was amiss.

A few other items came up missing, but it was more a matter of bewildered head-shaking than outrage, since the items stolen were all priced under a dollar.

The “bargain hunters” were the worst. If something was priced for a quarter, they’d come up to the table with challenge in their eyes and offer you a dime. It did not matter how cheaply it was priced-- they always wanted that thrill of getting you to give it to them more cheaply.

“Prices are as marked,” I said to one woman, who huffily stomped away rather than pay two dollars for a brand-new clock radio, a price she pronounced was “ridiculous.” (She was back in less than ten minutes to buy it.)

We made the horrific mistake of setting up the yardsale the night before. Now, I need to tell you that we lived out in the country, five miles from town, set about twenty yards back from the highway and behind a line of trees. We started setting up tables at about six the night before, and even before we had stuff on them, people were stopping, lured by the siren call of seeing makeshift outdoor tables and cardboard boxes.

“I’m sorry, we’re not ready yet,” I kept saying.

“Well, can’t I just look?” one woman pleaded, already beginning to comb through boxes.

We put the items out onto the table and covered them with tarps in preparation for the morning. We actually had people knock on our door that night, and several times, I spotted people moving around in the twillight, peering under the tarps. I’d always go out and ask them to come back in the morning, to which they would respond with heartfelt pleas to let them buy now, lest others get the “good stuff” before they could return.

Never again. Never.

What I hate is people who overprice their junk at yard sales. Isn’t the goal mainly to get rid of some of your old crap so you can eventually replace it with new crap?

I was at a yard sale last year where the woman wanted 10$ for a Magic 8-ball. Um… no. At my yard sale, I’d have that at $1, max. Less if it was all scratched up. She was selling old beat-up furniture for far too much, too. Not antiques or anything. Cheap little Ikea-type side tables or coffee tables, $40 each. Bar stool, $30. Was she insane? Everyone was walking away from her yard with this incredulous look on their face. I doubt she sold a thing all day.

And at a church rummage sale today, they were trying to sell dollar-store fake tupperware containers for $2 each. They’re two for a buck at the dollar store, for crying out loud! This wasn’t even a sale whose profits went to the church, because if that were the case then I could almost understand the higher prices. But this was a community sale in a church basement, where people pay $20 to rent a table for the day.

Maybe I sell my stuff too cheap at yard sales, but my goal isn’t really to make a major profit. It’s to get my junk out of my house, and if I can make a few bucks while doing so, all the better.

My niece has known since she was three that when she’s riding in Bubby’s car, she should always look for garage sales. That way, Bubby can pay attention to driving.

Re Earlybirds

Some people ruin it for everybody. If a handful of the local antique and collectible dealers start showing hours, or days before the sale and buying all the good stuff, the rest of us have to do the same if we want anything good. The tarp situation does not surprise me in the least.

Re Theft

Foolish people think they can set out tables, sit on the porch and just have people come to them. You need enough staff to watch everything. People are already trying to get the merchandise at the lowest possible cost. Some people have no problem with just taking it.

Re Bargain Hunters

IMO opinion, they aren’t doing anything immoral, unethical, or impolite. Haggling is part of garage sales. The proper thing to do is to slightly overprice some items. Then, buyers can haggle the price down to what you originally expected to get anyway. You get the price you wanted. They get to feel they’ve negotiated a better deal.

Mom taught me to always bargain. I always do.

Hahaha! I nearly pissed myself when I read that.

The development that I grew up in has a garage sale every year in September. Your “no more yardsale” attitude would not be tolerated by the neighborhood PTA mothers. I will never forget how many of these ladies would say to my mother “Are you feeling ill? You know, we could help you price some items if you want.” when she decided not to be bothered. As if the stupid thing was mandatory.

We used to have a yard sale in November to sell the review copy of toys my wife got. We never had a problem with thiefs. With two of us watching, and me being clearly faster than any of the ladies who showed up, maybe they knew they wouldn’t get away. Some of the stuff was reasonably expensive - we gave good prices, but still some of it was in the $40 - $50 range.

As for early bird, the Niles district has a massive antique/junk sale downtown every year, which officially starts at 8 am - but which, by tradition, actually starts about 1 am. People come with flashlights to buy, and breakfast sells quite well. It’s a lot of fun.

Not that I have any great desire to host one of these feeding frenzies, but if I ever do, I will put up a very large sign reading, “IT STAYS OUT OF THE YARD UNTIL 9AM OR IT GETS THE HOSE.”

I like it, but it should really be “It stays out of the yard until 9AM or else it gets the hose again.”