2010-07-23 / Commentary

Forty– something

Yard sales are as much fun as MSNBC

By Mike Maddock By Mike Maddock I don’t hate yard sales, unless I’m the one giving them. The practice is a time–honored tradition that transforms one man’s clutter into another man’s treasure. I get that. I would just prefer to have my eyelids taped open and be forced to watch hours of Keith Olbermann in some sort

of Clockwork Orange

nightmare than have some complete stranger tell me the oak end table I pulled from under a pile of broken Christmas decorations and dusty high school yearbooks in the deepest darkest recesses of my attic isn’t worth 50 cents.

My wife has an equal disdain for throwing stuff away. This is the one consistent philosophical difference between us. I would rather put everything unwanted, outgrown, or worn–out at the curb in front of my house and let the garbage men or a big storm take it away. She would rather sell a couch for a quarter than toss it to the curb. Because her philosophy tends to make more economic sense, I give in to her every ten years or so.

I gave in last weekend.

My wife and I lived in downtown Greenville for the last yard sale we braved. We advertised it for Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Customers started showing up at our door Friday afternoon. By 7:30 a.m. the next day, our little yard sale was essentially over. We were picked clean before the thing was even supposed to start. I was flying in and out of the house so much trying to get merchandise into the yard and keep customers out of my living room that I’m pretty sure I almost sold my basset hound and took a bassinet in the backyard to go potty. It was more chaotic than a Barney Frank town hall meeting.

I vowed not to let that happen this time.

I put everything in the garage Friday afternoon in preparation for early visitors, but none came. Saturday morning I posted signs throughout the neighborhood and moved the merchandise into the driveway well before the sun rose, but despite my preparation, only one couple showed up a wee bit early. They were looking for costume jewelry and broken– down yard tools. We didn’t have either. It was like the time my wife talked me into going to the flea market with her several years ago. We couldn’t give away brass lamps, but the guy with the rusty saw blades two tables over was cleaning up.

Where the Greenville adventure resembled a Wal–Mart two–for–one DVD sale a week before Christmas, this most recent yard sale of ours in the suburbs of Northeast Columbia saw slightly more traffic than the movie ticket office for

The Last Airbender.

I don’t get it.

I woke up before any rooster and put enough strain on my back moving furniture to keep a chiropractor in business for years, and we had good, quality stuff, but even when folks did show up, we got disappointed looks. Not enough rusty saw blades I guess.

The good news is the Salvation Army is getting a garage–full of quality stuff, and I won’t have to brave a yard sale for another ten years or so.

Return to top