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Coffee Break with Liz and Kate » Headline, » I should begin by telling you that Summer, Bert and I had a yard sale over the weekend, in case you hadn’t already figured that out by the headline. Because I’m betting if you’ve ever held a yard sale, or been to a yard sale, you’ve heard these words before. Heck, you may have even said these words. I’m also betting that if you’ve ever held a yard sale, you can pretty much figure out where this is going. I’m probably getting ahead of myself, so let’s start at the beginning.

Well, not the real beginning, where you go through everything you’ve owned, closely examining each item and assigning it value a scale of 1-10 – one being something you’ve never used or haven’t used in many years, 10 being something you use daily or attach such sentimental value that you wouldn’t get rid of it even if there was no food on the table (okay, so maybe you would under those circumstances. I’m just saying…). Then you assign the items a monetary value – one acceptable, or at least one that can be bargained with, in the world of all things yard sale. And the real beginning is also the point at which you question your sanity, wondering what ever possessed you to have a yard sale.

Nope, I’m not starting there. I’m starting at Saturday morning, 6:15 a.m. Bert said they’d be here by 6 a.m., Summer said it would be 7, so I split the difference, exiting the back door by 6:30, with the morning’s first cup o’ joe in hand. As it turned out, they’d gone with Bert’s arrival time (and I’m sure it was all his idea) and were already in the garage, working like crazy people. I was still half-asleep.

Our start time was advertised at 8 a.m., but we all know how that goes – 8 a.m.means they show up at 6 – 6 a.m. means they show up at 4, and so forth. I’d have put a high noon start on things, personally. But what do I know? Anywho, in true yard sale fashion, the customers were rolling in well before 8 a.m. One lady in particular already had her barter hat on. Not that she was necessarily offering a win-win deal. Oh, no. She was low-balling, in effort to make a steal as far as I’m concerned.

Summer had two nice wooden bar stools – virtually new, lacking any wear and tear – marked at $5 each.

“I’ll give you $5 for both of them,” the lady said.

“No, sorry. I can’t do that,” Summer responded.

So the lady continued her way around all our junk – er, treasures – as her low-ball tactics continued. But she was convinced she’d talk Summer down on those blasted bar stools. I was walking back into the house at this point – we were gonna need a lot more coffee. I wondered if I could take the sound of one-sided bargaining all day long, and whether or not it was too late to call off the whole thing.

And do you know that lady wouldn’t give up? Again, she made her offer to Summer, acting as if she’d surely be the only customer we’d have all day. Which is about the time Summer’s patience cracked.

“We haven’t even opened yet! In fact, we don’t actually open until 8 a.m.,” she said, although I can guarantee you that wasn’t all Summer was thinking. I think barter lady got the hint, though, by the tone in Summer’s voice. To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember if the lady and her husband bought anything, causing me to wonder if they were really interested in buying.I maintain they were plants, paid for by someone who has nothing better to do than send totally annoying people to other people’s yard sales for the sole purpose of… well… annoying the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of them. In fact, in many ways, that lady set the tone for the day. As the hours ticked away, though, other customers added to the mayhem, ultimately giving me enough for a list of what not to do next time you grace a yard sale:

Yard Sale Etiquette:

  • Do not make absurd offers before the yard sale even begins – even if you’re an antique dealer or flea market booth-holder. Exception: if you can offer a fair deal for everything out there, take it away the same day and pay cash, maybe we can talk. Anything to make the yard sale madness stop…
  • Please read the price tags. Oh, I understand that other people may not price their things, but we aren’t other people – and we did a fine job of making sure things were clearly marked.
  • Please don’t act like you’re doing us a favor by showing up at our sale. We’re a friendly little bunch, Summer, Bert and I, and the least you can do is answer when we say, “Hi! How are you?” in our friendliest of friendly voices.
  • Please don’t try to pay with a hundred dollar bill at 8:15. Nothing like trying to wipe out all the yard sale holder’s small bills first thing in the morning.
  • If a book is marked 50 cents, please think twice before asking if we’d take 30 cents. No. 1, we priced everything in quarter multiples. Anything over a dollar was an even amount – i.e. $1 or $5 or whatever, not $4.88. We aren’t WalMart. If you really can’t spare that 20 cents, at least offer a quarter, because we aren’t going to have nickels or dimes to make your change. Moreover, is it really that hard to fork over 50 cents for a book in good condition? Seriously?? And if you say the book is old, doesn’t that make it an antique, meaning we could theoretically charge much, much more?
  • If an area is blocked off, as in, if furniture is strategically places so as to restrict your access, chances are good that everything behind said area is not for sale.
  • No, we don’t take personal checks.
  • No, we don’t have any Beatles albums, and no way are you getting The Monkees vinyls, either.

I’m just sayin…


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