July 18, 2011

Garage Sale Dreams

Garage sales remind me that I'm picky and cheap. But they also provide alternative views on the importance of new, clean items.

Picture from http://www.shopkitchenaid.com/
I woke up this morning with the intent to nurse my battle scars (steam burn from the electric kettle and sunburn from a tubing trip) and do absolutely nothing. If you are familiar with my anxiety, you will not be surprised that less than an hour later, I was writing down the address of every garage sale listed on Craigslist with a do-or-die mission to find--

Well, I had a few things in mind. A stand mixer, preferably KitchenAid, for less than $50. A lightly used sofa and armchair, any color, with delivery. Price very negotiable under $200. A Crock Pot, anything Pampered Chef, and silicone baking accessories.

However, garage sales by their very nature, are a display of the stuff that the seller didn't want. Rejected items such as a plastic bread slice guider, beat-up car seats, and miscellaneous appliance parts. I always try to look over the wares as though they are things that I want, and not things that must have missed the trash can on the last hurl. A broken extension cord. Old shower caddy. Tape players. Half-used perfume. A food processor from the 1970's.

Of course the upshot to garage sales is the price. You can buy a lot of someone else's junk with a role of quarters. I prefer the sales with unmarked prices.

"How much is that end table?" I ask.

"We are flexible." The lady in the hat says.

I try to think of a price that is low, but not insulting for such a table. "How about five bucks?"

"Sold." After which I always think: why didn't I say two bucks?

Hauling off another person's would-be garbage always gives the the satisfaction ants must get from cleaning up during our picnics. Wow, I just got this stained end table for five bucks. I can put this in MY house now!

By the fourth round of finding none of the things on my wishlist, and getting lost at least one time for each sale, I decided it was time to go home. Just before my turnoff, I saw a hand written sign for a sale in my neighborhood, so I made a quick left turn. A young kid was standing in the drive way waving a sign for the sale. I stopped.

A young woman who didn't appear related to the young boy showed me around the baby clothes, and used sporting goods. The super model thin woman tried to win me over by claiming that we would wear the same pants size and that I should try her jeans, but I politely declined, knowing that the pant leg wouldn't even clear my knee. Instead I settled on a blue cup, a pair of wooden spoons, and a crafty wreath made out of fake berries. My total bill at this stop was $1.25.

I realize that my wishlist was unreasonable, but it was fun (and unnerving) to look at the things people sell at garage sales. One day I hope I can afford to buy a Kitchenaid mixer and a new couch with the same paycheck. For now, I will make the off-brand, thrift store and garage sale as fabulous as possible.