Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff


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Organizing a Garage Sale is akin to rummaging through your past.

You gather everything you’ve packed or shelved for months, even years; things you’ve forgotten about, have no use for or stuff you’ve ignored and don’t really want to remember. Every item is a memory, though. Be it a good one or otherwise, you force yourself to decide – keep it for another year or sell it. Once decided, the other dilemma is – for how much? Stuff that you remember most fondly usually carries the higher price. The rest – well – whatever it takes to get rid of it…even when…at the end of the day…you’re giving it away gratis.

‘One man’s junk is another man’s treasure’ as Unknown once said.

And what is it about Garage Sales that brings out the beast within some people? I’m talking about individuals that look at a price and immediately take offense that you have the audacity to charge so much. “I’m not paying a dollar for that thing!” they say in a tone so rude that you immediately decide not to even haggle with them. Then there are those that want to delve deep into an item’s past. As if the history of an old lamp will help justify them giving you what you’re asking. “What will you take for this?” is a tactic some seemingly gentle customers ask, hoping that by cloaking their question politely, you will ignore your sticker price and grant them a deal. The drive-by-shoppers are fun to watch. They slowly cruise by, windows down, casting a critical eye over your merchandise, then pull away without stopping. Sometimes they brake suddenly, reverse back to the driveway thinking they might have missed something, then, with their second thought satisfied, tear off again.

Grant was the most interesting customer of the day.

He came silently on his battery powered cart, drove on to the driveway as if he were home and parked. His cart was red with a wicker basket on the handlebars. He wore a tattered old ball cap. His red and blue windbreaker was zipped all the way up to his neck on a day when the temperature hovered around 26 Celsius. When he dismounted his stature showed him to be slight and bent with age. Grant looked close to ninety. He kept pushing his big-framed glasses up off his nose and smiling constantly.

We had an air conditioner that we didn’t need. Grant bought it. Now before you ask, ‘how did he get it home on his cart?’, he didn’t. We delivered it to him later that day.

When asked if he had anyone to install it he replied that he bought it for a friend. Grant smiled when he said the word friend.

‘It’ll get me in their good books,’ he continued with another broad smile. One can only wonder what he was up to with this friend of his.

Every Garage Sale should have somebody like Grant in their driveway.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

July 6, 2010 at 3:18 PM

One Response

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  1. The best thing about the garage sale is when it’s all over. 😉 You’re so sick of your junk you’re happy to just give it away for free. And there are lots of people willing to take it.

    Garage sale dude

    July 6, 2010 at 10:41 PM

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