Friday, June 22, 2007

Getting The Most Out Of Your Yahd Sale

It starts in January, when anything done outside in warm weather, even jogging or keelhauling, sounds like a good idea. Your spouse says, “Let’s have a yard sale this summer,” and you say, “Yeah, definitely!”

After hours of arguing, arranging, and advertising, people arrive and take about half your least-favorite possessions away, leaving you very small quantities of money and a giant mess in your yard, which, if you’re like me, will remain for several days in the vain hope that someone will randomly stop by and abscond with your crap.

But your next yard sale does not have to be depressing. Here are several tips for making it the thrilling capitalistic orgy it should be.

1. Join forces. This way, you can advertise as a “multi-family” yard sale. When it’s all over, sneak some of your unsold stuff into their truck.

2. Make it a party. Play funky music, and set up games for children. People will stay longer if the atmosphere is fun and if their kids aren’t writhing around in crazed fits of boredom.

3. Know what to throw away. Those old Engelbert Humperdinck cassettes and that 1988-vintage Barbie doll that is missing some of its limbs and most of its clothing: priceless treasures. Mark ‘em way, way up (for you young folks who think I just made up the name Engelbert Humperdinck, visit and absorb yourself in his profound magnificence).

4. Encourage “early-birds.” What? You’re not willing to get up at 4:45 to greet that guy in the junk-filled Dodge Ram Pickup who wants to know how much you’ll take for that stained, malfunctioning recliner? Are you insane? The “early-birds” are your best customers. Your ad should say, “early-birds welcome – to pay triple the asking price.” Your sale could be over by 10:00, leaving you the rest of the day to roll around in piles of cash.

5. Do not attach your signs to telephone poles, unless you want a snotty guy from the electric company to bring them back to you, discarding them in your driveway in a way that communicates how disgusted he is that vermin like you actually exist.

This happened to me, and I’ll admit freely that I’m a little bitter about it. The electric company guy moaned about how he has to spend a large chunk of his day removing yard sale signs from telephone poles, and how he was being such a great guy for not fining me $100 per sign.

Sorry to make your job so horrifically difficult, mister. While you’re here, maybe you can explain why I should pay more for electricity so you can ride around in a giant, gas-guzzling pickup truck just to read meters. Maybe you need all the cargo space for carrying around the psychological baggage that comes from knowing that your job could be done by a haphazardly-trained orangutan.

He even had the gall to complain that nails left on the telephone poles could injure line workers or damage their clothing. Hey, any line worker dumb enough to actually climb a pole, rather than using a utility truck with a “cherry picker,” deserves whatever tetanus-infused scrape he ends up with.

So I’m a little bitter. To feel better, I only have to remember that my name, thankfully, is not Engelbert Humperdinck.

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