Sunday, May 18, 2014

for every cloud...

“The” garage sale is over. Two weeks digging crap out of the shed, hours “setting up”, then hours unsetting up.

Mr Nice next door decided to make the most of the traffic, and put half a dozen items out for sale. Told us he was just nipping out to put on his quaddies, but Mrs Nice knew prices. “How much is the guitar?”, a prospect enquired over the fence. “Shop, Mrs Jackson” we screamed back across the fence. Mrs Nice sold No 1 daughter’s old bass guitar and amp for $50. Uh oh, it was supposed to be $100 for the bass plus $100 for the amp. No 1 will not be pleased when she returns from her holiday in Thailand.

The end result on our side of the fence was a reduction of 1% in the volume of crap but, as Mr Nice observed “at least you made enough to hire a skip – a better profit than I made…”

Oh, people are a strange mix. The ones what arrive with a big bag and proceed to lift as much crap as they can without paying. The ones who keep a firm grip on a 40 cent book while trying to beat the price down to 20c. The ones who say “Oh, a dollar is not enough, I’ll give you two!” The bulldozers, who tear the original packaging on every single item still in its original packing but never actually buy anything.

Then there is another type – the real hoarder… the crap they have collected after doing the rounds of sales would not make their car look out of place in an episode of Extreme Hoarders.

The ones that turn up at all hours, two or three days beforehand, trying to find the gold before anyone else does. [Someone did suggest, today, that the trick is to give the name of the street but not the house number in the ad. Duly noted.]

After stall fees, I once made a $2 profit selling "stuff" at the Preston Market. While living in Camberwell for a while, however, I was able to make a living for 6 months from the market there – my lounge room/ temporary warehouse looked like a tornado had ripped through it, but at least the venture paid for rent and food.
Franger seems to offer the people watcher in me something, but it brings out the “I hate mean, scabby people” side of me as well. I was not alone in this - at one point I thought Mr Nice was about to smash an acoustic guitar to pieces in front of someone who was determined not to leave until his offer of $2 was accepted.

Where might PC keyboards and mouses and power cords or old phone chargers go?
4 tonnes of reject stainless steel surgical instruments – once used by TO when teaching TAFE classes about sterilisation procedures?

Op shops are, quite reasonably, picky about what they will help us recycle. I refuse to give good junk to the Salvos or Vinnies because, in my experience, they refuse to give any stock to someone who obviously needs it. Paid staff and volunteers pick the eyes out of stuff before it is put out for sale, and are unafraid to brag about it.

I’m thinking we’ll separate stuff into 2 piles as we continue clearing out the shed… 1 pile of stuff the RSPCA could use, and a 2nd pile for a skip. Working for 2c an hour has flies on it [take note, Smokin’ Joe!].

Any other preferred charity suggestions? [Apart from my good self, that is...]

Most councils have annual hard-rubbish collections.
I like to see stuff recycled by fossickers, but hate it when they
throw stuff around and leave an untidy mess.
[Fossicking thru' hard rubbish is illegal.]

It's amazing how much one can fit into a skip.
I suspect there would be an extra volume charge for this lot.


  1. I love garage sales and used to do the flea market every weekend making pretty good money. I am at my best in that I love talking with people on a superficial basis and it is so much fun to watch them for the reasons you've mentioned here already.
    btw, what's a skip?

    1. Rubye, I have appended a photo of a skip to the post. For me, the level of satisfaction from people watching varies according to local demographics. Some people are just very sad.

    2. ah, kind of a dumpster thing.

  2. Thanks you have convinced me that it is not worth it. I will put all my stuff on the footpath next week for the council clean up day. Scavengers come around first and take their pickings but hey if someone else can use it or sell it good luck to them. Although I could do with some extra cash at the moment for new blinds.

    1. diane, I doubt you would have enough crap to make a sale succeed. If there is not a great pile of stock to sort through, many potential buyers just drive off, not bothering to get out of their car.

      Retailing tips: people read from left to right - lay out your stock with this in mind. You need messy bits for the people who like rummaging, and some neat bits for the people who hate chaos.

      If you are like me, I would rather just give something expensive to someone who would appreciate it than sell it for 20c to someone mean.