Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Spent a better part of today getting ready for our BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG garage sale. For my foreign friends who don't know, a garage sale in the states is an exercise of which one takes all of the things one bought at other people's garage sales, that have accumulated in one's basement, or GARAGE, and tries to pawn off, for money, on other garage salers. It is the basis of our economic system.

No doubt many of you thought the system was centered in NYC on Wall Street, and that cigar chewing fat cats were wheeling and wheeling out there on the stock exchange, where Not so. The core of our financial well-being is right here in Middle America, and Southern America, and Eastern America...and, Western America...whew. I can't speak to Hawaii, Puerto Rico and...the bear fat place...uh...Palinvania. I suspect they have so much dough in Palinvania, that they have no need to unload all the knick-knacks, and rusted tools that the rest of us have acquired on our weekend excursions into the suburban garages of the country.

My thinking was to raise enough dough to pay for the used riding mower I just purchased (my new old mower below):

Our other mower is a sumbitch on my arthritic knees, and well, my wife is...a...princess, and just can't get the hang of the old one would expect from a princess. My oldest daughter tries, but I decided that I would rather be the mower person of the family, rather than contributing to the coffers of my city's EMT organization. That is, I prefer the females in my family with both feet. They just look better that way. And besides, we simply can't foot the bill for those weird shoes...because we also have an Orthodontist in our immediate future...times TWO, that is, both daughters!

Naturally, this being America, our insurance...and yes, we are lucky to have insurance...does not cover orthodontic procedures...they prefer than America's youth have buck ass teeth, and gaping gaps, and why should they cover beautification? I understand. It's fair...the 3 figure number we pay each month is for the privilege of being able to say...we are insured.

But, I digress, because this post is about...GARAGE ECONOMICS.

What had started out to be a JJ, highly organized and well thought out garage sale, solely for the purpose of defraying the mower cost, wife's dysfunctional family...fuking...MiL...involved...DEBAUCLE.

That's correct. We now have our garage filled with every bullshit Ladies Home Companion magazine printed since 1956...every half burned aromatic candle burned since 1956...every busted wire Santa Claus and every wire Nutcracker ever sold on the Central Plains...every baby pooped pair of baby bloomers my MiL owned since 19??...every worn out pair of ladies pumps that even Salvation Army wouldn't take...and two stained (of unknown origin, but suspected, by me, to be cat piss) bunk bed mattresses, which I am told belonged to my BiL as a child and which "somebody might want...ya never can tell", etc. Therein lies the heat and the beat of the matter.

This is now my mother-in-law's garage sale...and she lives in an apartment. The worse part is, she is totally out of touch with the real world of commerce...more specifically...garage sale commerce. People go to garage sales to get bargains. They don't want to pay near-new prices...they want something for nuttin.

Here's an example of out of touchiness. A baby's least 40 years old...scratched...faded...worn the fuck out. NEW, sold for $20 bucks...sells for about the same now. Her price? $18! "I paid over 20 dollars for that swing...they're not going to steal it...or I just won't sell it!"

Here's the deal. She has no more babies. She has had no babies for at least 4 decades. She will be dead before my children have babies. She does not need a baby swing. Put it out by the curb and put a sign on it that reads, FREE.

In fact, I suggested that maybe we should put her out by the curb with a sign that reads, heavily used and no longer functional, but I will pay YOU to take her...and maybe even throw in a riding mower. Inquire within.


Punch said...

One Comment Bro!
Do Not, don't, Doooooo Not let your MnL see this post. I would put money down that says the new old mower gets driven where the sun don't shine, by said MnL. Just sayin', i could be wrong.

Lou said...

We do the garage thing here in NZ too in fact I'm planning one within the next month as I am a terrible accumulator of stuff. I have a friend who thinks my garage sales are a good time for her to have a clean out as well and deliver miscellaneous bric-a-brac to my place for me to sell on her behalf. I have promised myself this time I'm going to refuse or demand she come sell it herself as I am strongly of the 'I just want it gone' persuasion and inevitably end up practically giving the remnant rubbish away and she always ends up p*ssed off with me.

God luck with yours.

Mr. Condescending said...

wow I COMPLETELY forgot about garage sales.

That's sad too seeing that I often work through the town that actually has the 'worlds largest garage sale'. (Warrensburg NY).

mo.stoneskin said...

Not that this is particularly relevant, but I heard about a friend of a friend (tenuous link but true!) who finished university, couldn't find a job, so spent a year buying music from garage sales and charity shops and re-selling it on Ebay. My friend saw him after a year of doing this and he was driving a massive BMW and totally living it up! Apparently the real trick was finding a collectable Beatles record, convincing an elderly lady that it "can't be worth more than a quid 'cos everyone has the Beatles" and then flogging it on Ebay!

the walking man said...

All i can say is that my MiL knows better than to come to my house with a truck load of shit to sell because

A) she is afraid to come to my 'hood

B) she knows I will drive her truck a few blocks away and leave the keys in it

C) She knows if I have to take her crap to sell she has to take her daughter back with her.

D) I have used orthopedic shoes for sale in case your wife needs them.

uamada said...

I think your MIL might actually be my mother - cept for the whole mine is here in OZ.. she had a garage sale the other week, did the same thing with her stuff - overpriced. I was only witness to 1 sale before leaving, an old battered, chipboard student desk from BC (before computers). Someone offered her 2 pound of tomatoes for it, she was actually going to say no. I think that may have been one of the only sales she made

jadedj said...

Punch---you are assuming that she reads. She looks at the pictures of food, in Ladies Home Companion.

Lou---My plan, which obviously went awry, was to not tell her that we were doing it. Of course our five year old does not understand the concept of "secrets" yet.

Mr C---Yes indeed. You would hit gold in them thar places being the Master of Misery that you are :)

Isn't it amazing...every state seems to have the "world's biggest garage sale".

Mo---I've heard the same sort of stories...rare paintings...that kind of thing. But, we are in N E B R A S K A...not too many vintage Beatles albums lying about. We'd be more apt to run into an old John Deere tractor or two.

WM---My MiL knows no fear when money is involved. As to taking my wife with her...the wife would slit her own wrists first. She spent too many years getting the hell out of there.

uamada---Har har. Always, but always take the tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

Bwaha ha ha! When I helped my mom out with a garage sale, years ago, I had to fight with her to get rid of all the junk in her garage. Your post brought that memorable experience back!

Mr. Charleston said...

JJ... Some advice from a veteran.

1. Always, I repeat, Always have the garage sale at someone else's house. There's always a girlfriend or such willing to do so. That way you can take all your shit over there. Granted, it could be a hassle to take all your shit over there but, as you will soon discover, nowhere near the hassle of having all their shit at your house.

2. There's always some sort of junk dealer in town willing to come haul all of your shit away... for free, because there's always some shit there that they can resell and make a profit off of. The catch is you have to drive a hard bargain... yes, you can have those old Bee Gees albums, but if you want those you gotta take everything else too.

I once did that and the junk guy drove off in a pickup that was loaded up like the Grapes of Wrath. For days afterwards I would find broken pieces of my stuff on the side of the road where it had fallen off. Got rid of all my, no, my wife's old shit and had a week's worth of entertainment to boot.

3. There was a third point but I've complete forgotten it. I'll ponder on it while and if I remember I'll let you know.

Good luck!

Mr. Charleston said...

BTW... I love your new mower.

Fancy Schmancy said...

So glad I don't have any inlaws!

BTW, check your state, it might not be legal to "sell" a mattress without a special permit. If you have the bunkbed frame to sell, you can throw in the mattresses for free in CT.

becomingkate said...

We used to make $700 or $800 on garage sales, but that included beds, dressers and tables. When we do one now, it's shoes, clothes, movies etc. and we get MAYBE $150.

jadedj said...

Dedene---it would seem everyone has this experience. I don't think I've every heard a good garage sale experience. Except Mr. Charleston's #2 experience above.

Mr. C---the third point is well put indeed.

The mower: Thanks...and it's wood powered!

Fancy---my state is lawless.

Kate---I know...I swore I would never do it again 5 years ago...given the energy expended vs returns realized...and blood pressure raised by certain other @@$#%^$%#@$%^ people who are dysfunctional.

Doug said...

I prefer to give stuff away or pay to drop it off at landfill sites. I hate selling, no matter what. Plus, aside from my electronics and camera, everything I own is already someone eles's junk :-)

jadedj said...

Doug---now I feel like a robber baron...but, I'll get over it.