November 16, 2009

Excuse me. Will You Take 50 cents?

Watch out, Costco. You've got competition. A few weeks ago, Niko and I were out yard saling on a Friday morning. Unless you live in a retirement community, Fridays are not the best days for this type of bargain hunting. On this beautiful Friday morning, however, we hit the jackpot.

The "jackpot" sale to which I am referring didn't look like much, but looks can be deceiving. Here's a word to all you yard sale neophytes out there: If you've already spent the time driving to the sale, you might as well get out of the car.

We soon realized that we had entered the land of over-consumption (otherwise known as "eBay heaven"). The people hosting this yard sale had a carbon footprint the size of China.

Brand new products of all types were strewn everywhere. Household goods, clothing with the tags still attached, children's toys, art supplies, and computer accessories littered the front lawn.

"OK. But how much did they want?" you're probably asking yourself. (At that point, I was wondering the same thing.)

I almost started making offers, but I'm so glad I didn't. So glad. Sometimes it's best to test the waters. Before I reveal the cost of the products at this sale, let me present a short lesson on yard sales.

There are two types of yard sales. The first type of yard sale is the type hosted by individuals who think that they can make a million bucks and save their homes from going into foreclosure by selling everything they have. Many of these folks have never actually had a yard sale before. They certainly don't go to yard sales themselves. Why do you think they're in trouble? The individuals in charge of these events are usually shocked at how little people are willing to pay for their $200 Gucci scarves. "Excuse me. Will you take 50 cents?"

These are the individuals who don't realize that their $300 duvet covers from Ireland will soon be lining someone's dog house or will be cut up and made into homemade Sham Wows! You want to hit up these sales at about one o'clock in the afternoon when the people having the sales have come to the realization that they have sold close to NOTHING and are finally willing to bargain or risk having to pack everything up and transport it to the Salvation Army. The products for sale at these events are often high quality items since the people selling them won't (or wouldn't have in the past) settled for anything less. These are the people who, at the end of the day, swear to "never, ever have a yard sale again."

The second type of sale is the type hosted by people who are just interested in cleaning out their houses and making a few bucks. They understand the purpose of this uniquely American ritual. They get it. At these sales, you may hear the words "I want it gone." These words are music to any eBayer's ears.

To my surprise, I found out that everything at this particular sale was 10 cents. Yes, 10 cents. 10 cents for brand new containers of Oxy Clean (I love that stuff), name brand floor cleaner, laundry detergent, three brand new bottles of Armor All, books, flashcards, birthday decorations. napkins, college textbooks, clothing with the tags still attached, and even a cordless Logitech keyboard. Needless to say, I stocked up. I purchased products to keep and products to sell.

As we were about to leave, I asked the woman in charge why she was getting rid of my favorite cleaning product, Oxyclean. (She had several new containers of it.) "I found a brand I liked better," she said.

Aaaaah, America. Land of Opportunity.

- Miriam @ (hard-to-find sizes and brand names)


  1. What a gold-mine you stumbled upon. Those types of sales, while few & far between, are so much fun! Score for you Miriam....yippee!

  2. Loved your writing and your humor! Once a teacher, always a teacher. Check sentence three for the word sailing. You should write a column for the newspaper and get on Oprah. Just write and talk about what you know so well. We are waiting for the next blog and will tell others about it.

    Nov.17, 2009 Maria Christina