Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Garage Sale Mini-Blog

So now it's time for our garage sale. I dragged out as much stuff as I could think of to sell sell sell, most of it toys and things the boys have outgrown. We needed to put price tags on the things and Timmy remembered seeing pre-printed tags at the local drugstore so we hopped in the car to go buy them. Well, the stickers cost me $1.99. And each boy wanted some candy (well they did get good grades on progress reports today) And Jeffrey needed a folder for his science project. And Tim needed refill leads for his pencils. And mentos for a science project he wants to do at home. So now we are out $9.16 plus the gas to drive to the store. We better sell a lot of stuff.

Watch this space for more exciting updates! LIVE

So we had "neighborhood preview" and while I was setting up our stuff Tim and Jeff took off on their scooters to scope out the goods in the rest of the sub. They came back to report out that that someone was selling a BAR. Jeff was so excited I walked down to look at it. Well it was at Patty's house and it looks to be from the seventies and has a TIKI look to it. I have always wanted a tiki bar. It can go in the basement, which already has a decorating theme built around the singing fish we have mounted over the fake fireplace, but I think I can segway into a tiki theme for this. I had Patty put a SOLD sign on it. Then I went online and looked up the tiki themed stuff I remembered seeing at Target. Looking for Monkey Head string lights, I have a vision. Now down another $40 and counting.

Karen stopped by with one of her children and I convinced her that she needed the pull-behind bike that we were selling for $50. She tried to call husband Bob from the garage but no answer. I told her that it would be for him so how could he disagree. Now at break-even!

I need something to think about as I sit alongside the garbage cans ready to conduct business. So I study the people coming into my garage. Who are they? What are they looking for? And will they find it here in my garage? Mostly they have been taking children's toys and books, going for 25 and 50 cents. Sometimes they ask. One man was eyeing my fishing gear in the corner. Sorry, not for sale. Then another guy strode in, all purposeful, and inquired "Do you have any old guns?" Sorry, just toys. "Oh, too bad, well what about a sewing machine?" No, just what you see here. (!?!) What was he looking to do, rob a bank and sew his own disguise?

To keep busy, I started to sort out some stuff I had set aside. One was a bag of toys I had lent to my Aunt Vicki for when she was taking care of our new baby cousin Bruno around Easter while his parents vacationed in Belgium. She told me not to sell the 2 nice touch-and-feel books because they had been inscribed by Aunt Kathy as gifts to Jeff. OK, I'll keep those...what's this underneath? A pink box with a gold ribbon...Belgian Chocolates!!! Must have been a thank-you gift from Mike and Cora that I hadn't noticed in the bag. Now sitting in the garage happily munching on very good chocolate. mmmmm hazelnut.

A Cadillac pulled up and a lady in a very nice suit came in and went through our box of children's books very methodically, checking every page for stray marks, making a pile and rejecting some on the second check. She was talking on her cell phone the whole time. Something about real estate. I felt justified to stare at her while she shopped. $1.50 for 6 books, only good ones.

Inspired by the fancy sign from last week, I decided we needed advertisement. I asked Timmy to make a sign and then looked for something eye-catching to stick onto it. Here, this old Baby-Bop dress-up toy I can't believe we still possess. It was always kind of disturbing to observe my sons playing with a talking doll that says "Button my dress!" and "Hee Hee that tickles!" So here is Tim's work, not exactly what I had in mind. Baby bop looks like she's about to be burned in effigy. It is eye-catching though.

Second day of the sale and I am getting bored with this. Today is a much nicer day, but there aren't as many people coming by. I shut the door for a while and took a bike ride. I have been practicing my "chit chat" skills. I talk to everyone who walks up about the weather. I read somewhere once that this is important to social functioning. I have never been very good at it (engineers are not known for their social skills) and haven't worked in retail where it's part of the daily job. But I do find the weather fascinating. Kendrea pointed out that the people going through the sales have to have that exact same conversation at every garage they visit, and are probably bored with it too. But it's what you do. And when they leave without buying anything, they always say "thank you" (for what?) And then I say "yep!" I hope I have that right.

Well Friday and Saturday were much slower and our total gross profits for the sale were $119.25. Now we need to figure what to do with the money (something special for the family) and make sure that the leftover stuff gets stored or donated.

I found the garage sale to be just a weird experience. The whole thing of things you don't want that other people do, and what anyone is willing to pay for it. I do like it when I'm getting rid of something and then seeing someone else all delighted to be getting it. But I'll never forget one time at a garage sale of the past, when I put out these old pastel-colored palm decorations that I'd had since my first apartment, and some ladies came in and bought them, and were walking down the driveway chattering about how nice they were and what they could use them for, and all I could think was that they had spent the last couple years standing in the corner of the basement by the cat's litter box.


Anonymous said...

I know 2 college girls who would pay you $50-$60 for your tiki bar purchase. Let me know if you want to sell it. Yvonne

Mindy said...

No way I will never never sell my beautiful new tiki bar. However, you can make one for them! Here are the instructions: how to build a tiki bar

Rebecca said...

Mindy - I found my Tiki stuff for you. I have a book "Tiki Style" but it has some inappropriate photos.

I have two glasses, the umbrella toothpicks, monkey toothpicks and paper lanterns.

It will look good.