We finally saw the signs on Friday night. If we read the local paper, we’d have seen them much earlier. Luckily, we were prepared for this sort of last-minute situation. We’d been preparing for years, in fact. Gathering supplies, planning our methods of attack, and sharpening our verbal judo skills.
That’s right. There was going to be an estate sale in the neighborhood.
For the uninitiated, an estate sale is a massive thing. It’s bigger than a yard sale, and everything is for sale. The rules are simple: show up ridiculously early, get in line, scope out the merchandise, and return the next day when the sellers are willing to give it to you for half the ticket price.
But not really. One of my neighbors was in line for the estate sale at 9 am. The doors opened at 10. She was number 26.
So, when my neighbors and I saw the signs (literally, as it were) on Friday night, we did what any rational person would do in such a situation. After all, hundreds of strangers would be descending upon our sleepy street in just a few short hours, armed with cash and no intention of paying full price. It was serious business. We needed to prepare.
So, we ran to our garages.
We started pulling out boxes and bags, crates and crockery, furniture and… um…more furniture. Children’s toys. Bad DVDs. CDs we were embarrassed to admit we owned. Clothes we didn’t like. Electronics that had been replaced. Anything that worked at all, had most of its pieces, or was more or less intact was grabbed and tossed into hasty piles. We scrawled prices on post-its and hung garments off the golf cart. We raided piggy banks for small bills to make change.
Yep, that’s right. My neighbors and I are opportunistic yard sale-holders.
We can’t help it. We see those signs go up and we lose our minds. Suddenly all the junk in the garage or the hall closet that we were too lazy to take to Goodwill is worth a fortune. We proudly display today all the stuff that we hid away out of shame yesterday. Those four Nickleback CDs have a place of honor right next to the three Killers CDs and the five Best of the 80s compilations CDs (I offer no excuse other than I was young and armed with a disposable income). The laptop that “works fine except for the mouse, keyboard, fan, and heat sink” sits open on a folding table. Well-loved stuffed animals (the ones that still have both eyes and the majority of their fur its original color) cuddle for emotional support as they wait in a cardboard box with a $1 sign on its front.
It’s a scene of desperation.
Of people drowning in their stuff.
Of shelves and closets stretched beyond capacity.
Of the primal need to be able to walk normally in one’s own bedroom.
Of not wanting to go all the way to City Hall to get city-approved yard signs for $3 a piece.
And you know what? It works.
The hundreds of people who tromped through the neighbor’s estate sale all crossed the street to peruse our wares. Most of them bought things. I sold that laptop for $25 with the express warning that it was “as-is” and an extreme fixer-upper. I sold two of the Nickleback CDs for a buck each. I sold a bunch of other CDs, DVDs, and even a few Blu-Rays too. All in all, I made $54.50 over the two days.
I spent $52.50 on video games. I spent the other $2 on a juicer from the estate sale. It was originally $5. I’m an excellent negotiator (and by that I mean that the woman said “I’ll give it to you for $2″ and I said “sold.”).
Now my neighbors and I have less cluttered bookcases, closet, bedrooms, and garages. I have two new video games, or I will have them when they release at the end of October, and space for the three new books that will arrive this week (I babysat on Friday night. I had online coupons for books. It was a bad combination). I also have a juicer.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a weekend in Georgia. Y’all should try it sometime.
I’m off to try to juice an apple. And then maybe a carrot.