garage-sale

Spring looks like it’s finally here to stay in east central Kansas. Thank goodness. Now, instead of digging out of a snow drift, bundling up so we look like burglars in broad daylight and hoping we hit the brakes well enough in advance so we don’t slide through the next intersection, we can get to all sorts of fun spring stuff. Like the Enhanced Fujita tornado scale…allergies…and garage sales.

We rarely went to or held garage sales when I was young. Part of that was the neighborhood (you never really knew who would come to the front door or who may drive on by with some sort of firearm  and didn’t mind using it). And from the garage sale hosting side of things, part of it was we hardly ever made any significant amounts of money. We had decent stuff to sell, or at least stuff comparable to other homes nearby. Maybe my parents didn’t spend a lot of time or money advertising. I have no idea and frankly didn’t care. All I know is the few times my parents got the unshakable urge to have a yard sale, I tried to disappear…or at least make myself as useless as possible. I succeeded at the second far more than the first option, which also could have contributed to the precious few garage sales at our house.

And we barely ever actually spent time at somebody else’s yard sale. I couldn’t tell you why. I just thank my parents to this day for their decision.

I love my wife dearly, but when we used to rent houses I would cringe when she said she wanted (or we needed) to have a yard sale. I couldn’t argue about needing to clear out some of the stuff we have had in years past, but after my experiences I couldn’t understand why anybody would want to spend time marking items, packing them, taking them outside, sweating bullets waiting for people to come, dealing with people trying to get an even bigger bargain (I mean, hey, it’s a nickel already. No, you’re not getting it for free), hauling everything back inside and possibly repeating the process the following day.

Honestly, and through no real fault of my own (honest, honey), I stayed true to being as useless as possible when we held our garage sales…mainly because there was some sort of work commitment.

From what I could gather, people were relatively well-behaved at our yard sales. However, garage sales can be hazardous to your health.

I haven’t seen any instances of a dustup between people absolutely wanting — no, needing — the same shopworn item, but I’ve heard stories. I have seen something much more worrisome, however, and I saw it happen three times last garage sale season. A car’s brake lights flashed, the vehicle — which was already going 10 mph maximum forward speed if not slower — stopped…once for just a second, the other two times for at least five seconds before the driver went on his way.

Think about it. People will screech their vehicles to a stop in the middle of a busy collector street to see exactly what used items are for sale at somebody else’s house.

Is somebody else’s stuff, your dream bargain, worth risking injury to several people and the complete destruction of your vehicle? It is? Apparently so. Or else that thought isn’t registering.

When I first saw this happen last year, I thought this was the garage sale equivalent of a first snow of the season. You know, people forget how to drive for the first time but get a vivid reminder and are pretty smart behind the wheel afterward. That’s not my thought now. Not after seeing our garage sale season run eight months out of the year — and definitely not after seeing two instances in the heat of summer, well after garage sale opening weekend in March.

And have you seen where some of your future treasures are stored? Hmm. Garage — possibly vermin there. Basements — depending on the house itself, the boxes could be moldy. Good thing the EPA is busy with larger-scale matters. Lord knows what federal regulations could come from a full-scale, multi-billion-dollar investigation of common yard sales.

Well, now that our garage sale season is fully underway (and I’ve already seen two perpetual garage sale locations, meaning a prime opportunity for a rubbernecking driver), please take this to heart. Whether you love the garage sale process (as my wife does) or hate it (like I do), just make sure your garage sale behavior isn’t hazardous to your health. Or, come to think about it, mine.

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