sales are a little ridiculous if you think about it. As a society
we spend untold millions trying to protect the sanctity of our homes
from intrusion, and then we hold garage sales, where the entire
point is to lure nosy strangers onto our property to rummage through
our personal belongings. I spend most of my time at garage sales
fighting off my three daughters from hauling merchandise back into
the house. And let's face it. The stuff we put up for sale at these
events is one "Thanks for coming" away from the city dump. I mean,
who really wants to purchase a Target sack full of used My Little
Pony underwear? (Oh, never mind, I actually got a dollar for those.)
One thing I've noticed is that there are certain types of folks
who attend my garage sales, and what better way to show how "woke"
I am than to categorize people?
The Early Bird
In this case, The Early Bird is a vulture, or, as we call them in
East Texas, a "buzzard." They're the shoppers who can't wait for
you to open your garage door at 7 AM and have apparently been sleeping
on the lawn. On the first day of my most recent sale, they actually
began opening boxes that I hadn't put out yet, helping me arrange
them. It was as if they felt sorry for my having to get up so early.
And they should! As the old saying goes, "The early bird gets the
slightly-stained Justin Bieber bedroom set."
This is the shopper who apparently enjoys my company (or the aroma
of my garage) because he or she won't leave. Recently, a Lingerer
spent at least a full hour carefully examining every one of the
700,000 articles of tween girls' clothing I had for sale, and she
eventually purchased a single pair of socks for a dime. She was
there so long I'll probably be able to claim her as a dependent
on my next tax return.
The Childcare Deflector
Warning! If you include even a single toy in your garage sale, weary
mothers with at least sixteen children each will use you for babysitting.
While The Childcare Deflector leisurely browses through a massive
box of mismatched Tupperware, her army of children will violate
every known Hasbro safety guideline. The Childcare Deflector is
oblivious to the chaos visited upon my inventory by her progeny
(or at least pretends to be), and she buys nothing, not even a single
warped Tupperware lid.
Hagglers are seasoned garage sale shoppers who imagine they're trading
in the bazaars of Istanbul. They can bring down the price on a gently-used
toilet seat from a dollar to a nickel, and they're fully aware that
you might actually pay them to haul away this junk.
The Announcer is almost always a middle-aged man, usually wearing
a white t-shirt he outgrew in the 1980's, suspenders and camouflaged
cargo shorts. About halfway up the driveway, he bellows, "I'm lookin'
for guns and tools!" I then have to admit that the only two guns
I own were sympathy gifts from my dad (and I'm not exactly sure
where they are), and most of my tools are still in their original
packages. The Announcer does buy a box of doorknobs.
The Last-Minute catches you by surprise as you're sweeping the garage
and packing up what's left. You haven't had a shopper for an hour,
and you're contemplating your next trip to Walmart where you'll
blow everything you earned at the sale on ham and deodorant. The
Last-Minute always morphs into The Lingerer, so you sweat for another
hour and earn a whole quarter on a NASCAR coffee cup.
Once the Last-Minute finally tears himself away, I sprint to put
down the garage door. I still have some work ahead packing and cleaning,
but I always feel a strong sense of satisfaction at what I've accomplished.
In fact, I usually start planning my next sale.
I have to hurry, though. The buzzards are already setting up tents
on the lawn.