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The Onslaught of Vultures

So, yeah—It’s garage sale time.

In my neighborhood, the Homeowner’s Association Nazi Squad doesn’t allow you to have individual garage sales. That would be too average. They don’t like their subdivision with homemade garage sale signs made out of cardboard, strewn hither and yon since it makes the ‘hood look “messy”. They also don’t allow For Sale signs to be posted in your front yard—oh, I’m sorry, THEIR front yard. You can only put for sale signs in your window. And, on the weekends only (like they think this is the only time people go house hunting) are you allowed to put your for sale sign on your front lawn.

Anyway, I’ll rant about my Nazi Homeowner’s Association in a later post.

The fact is, we have a neighborhood garage sale which costs me, as a homeowner $10 or $15 bucks to be in. They state they use it to advertise in three different newspapers. Really? Ads aren’t that expensive and with hundreds of homeowners antying up money to be in a garage sale, you can probably guess the money isn’t being used solely for newspaper ads.

Having a neighborhood garage sale isn’t entirely all that bad. You get a lot of people to come all at once to your neighborhood, buy up all your stuff, you get all the cash, and then give it to your college-bound kid for beer money.

But, there’s a downside. Vultures.

On the Friday before our annual garage sale, which is held on a Saturday, there is always a preview for the neighbors. This never happens. Why? Because all the neighbors are getting ready for their own garage sales. Who has time to go looking at everyone else’s junk? Plus, I don’t understand why I would want to get rid of all my old stuff, only to go to my neighbors house and buy some MORE old stuff.

What DOES happen is as you are readying your garage by setting up tables, cleaning up your dusty, moldy, can’t find a place where this will go anywhere anymore stuff, there are “vultures” slowly driving by your house. They see something……

They stop.

They get out of their car and slowly approach your driveway. They’re kinda like Jehovah’s Witnesses who walk door to door, but don’t want you to know that that’s what they’re doing.

I’m somewhat put off by this type of activity. This is akin to having a rewards card from Jewel or Dominicks and you get the better deals, or the nicer stuff, before everyone else does. But, there is NO rewards card. They just want “in” earlier. So, I’ve resorted to something this year that I’ve never done before.

I’ve set up my stuff for my garage sale already. My garage sale isn’t for another month, people.

There is no way I’m allowing vultures to swarm in onto my stuff (and let me tell ya, it’s GOOD stuff this year), and start pecking at it piece by piece until there is nothing but scraps left over and I have nothing for the honest folk who drive into my subdivision when they are supposed to.

You have to understand that our annual garage sale draws thousands of people to our subdivision from 9 am to 3pm (Even though people actually drive into our streets and park there car there around 7 am and wait for a garage door to open). If you want any chance of getting out of my subdivision to run an errand on that day, you had better park your car in a different subdivision and walk to it. I’m terrified of running over a small dog, small child, or dwarf like person.

So, the big day arrives and who reading this hasn’t had a garage sale? You can price items, but you’re wasting your time. Everyone wants it cheaper than what you’ve priced it at.

My theory is to not price anything. I ask them to give me their best price and we go from there. If I don’t feel it’s fair I give them my best price and if they don’t like it, I guess someone else will….or it goes to charity. I had one women who wanted to give me a quarter for something I had priced at a $1.00. This was crystal – a vase. I told her, “No. $1.00 is the lowest I’ll go.” She felt insulted that I didn’t take her quarter bid.

The other thing to look out for is people taking stuff that is NOT for sale. We have to cover up everything else we aren’t selling with tarps or sheets so people don’t think it’s for sale. “Is your CAR for sale?” “How about all those bikes?” “Hey! That beer brewer is for sale, right?” NO. If it was for sale, it would be removed from under the sheet where we had it. Quit pecking at my hidden stuff, Vulture – it’s not for sale.

I actually have 9 bags of clothes to give away, but I’m not selling them. I used to work retail and straightening out clothes at a garage sale is like cleaning up a retail store the day after Christmas sale. Clothes are a HUGE hassle at a garage sale. I’d rather give it all to charity. However, I am getting rid of a couple sets of golf clubs, a guitar, some jewelry, two computers, sports equipment, a PSP with games, lots of picture frames (and I mean LOTS), a bunch of tchotchkies, and a kegerator, kitchen stuff including 3 big stainless steel pots, amongst many other things. My garage is PACKED with stuff to sell and I feel…FREE!!!!!

I went through every closet, drawer, cabinet, and cubby you can think of (including under every bed). I found stuff I forgot I had, which of course meant I had to get rid of it. I mean, if you find something you forgot you had and then decide to keep it, isn’t that against the very principle of getting rid of stuff you never use?

So, now I have all this stuff staged in my garage with tarps over it…waiting. Whatever doesn’t get sold will be given to a Parish when a truck goes from house to house on Monday to pick up the leftovers.