We had a yard sale last weekend. Partially to distract me from my grief, partially to make some extra money, but mostly to just clear out a bunch of our crap so we wouldn’t have to haul it across the country. The less there is to pack, move and unpack, the better. Especially unnecessary shit.
The problem is, I couldn’t tell what was necessary and what wasn’t necessary. What’s good to keep and what isn’t? How do you decide those things? Fortunately I have a handsome husband who can talk me off the ledge and convince me that selling the china that was given to me by an ex’s mother is fine; selling our bed and couch isn’t.
So after a few days of sorting and cleaning, we were ready to sell our shit to the highest bidder.
God, I hate yard sales. I hate giving them and I hate going to them. No offense to anyone who thinks they’re great fun (I’m looking at you, dear Rust Magnet!). I hate trying to figure out how much my crap is worth, I hate trying to convince others what my crap is worth, I hate telling people that, no, my laptop is not for sale, it’s just there so we can listen to Pandora. I hate telling people that no, what you see is what you get; we don’t have any back-stock of jewelry or cell phones or fishing equipment. I hate when parents bring their toddlers and then totally ignore them. I hate the mess I have to clean up after the unsupervised toddlers leave. I hate having to smile and say I’m having a great day when, in fact, my brother is dead and I have to move from my house and I have to sell my stuff and I just want to sit in a bath and cry.
And don’t even get me started on the behavior of avid Yard Sale Zombies. They come tearing down the street at 45 miles per hour, then they slam on their brakes and park diagonally in the street. From here they do one of a couple of things: They survey your stuff from their car and try to decide if your stuff is worth getting out for, or they leave their car parked all screwy and (often leaving the driver side door open) come up to have a look.
But mostly, I hate the feeling of someone else judging my worth based on the crap I have to sell:
Oh, look at this! It’s a pie pan! How much? Three dollars…Okay it does have a lid and it is stoneware, but I don’t like the color. I’ll give you fifty cents for it and the set of measuring spoons. No? Okay, 75 cents for just the pie pan and lid. No? Well then I don’t need anything.
How much do you want for the huge set of china? Fifty? I’ll give you fifteen. Hmmm…Forty and you’ll throw in the VCR? I’ll give you $10 for both.
Maybe I hate haggling so much because people go the wrong fucking way! Say it with me: The seller goes down the buyer goes up. . .(I don’t mean that as dirty as it sounds. Sheesh. You people are animals!)
It’s so amazing to me the things that people won’t buy– the really nice stuff that is useful and quite reasonably priced, and the things people will–the rusty, warped cookie sheet for ten cents; the Pur Water Filter Pitcher with a cracked lid and mineral deposits around the spout for three dollars. What in the world do these people do with this stuff?
In the end, we did sell almost all of our stuff and we made quite a haul on it, so I comfort myself with the thought that although I may have felt judged by the crap I had to sell, at least I was getting rid of it. There were people out there who actually paid for the crap that my family didn’t want anymore.