Garage Sale + packrat compulsions = badbadbad

June 23, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Posted in day to day | 1 Comment
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I’ve always loved garage sale surfing. People accumulate all kinds of random shit in a lifetime. On display for sale in our garage yesterday morning and a few things I’ve seen over my years of garage sale hopping: Ice cube shapers (to freeze ice in different shapes), suitcases dating back to grandpapa’s stop at Ellis Island, workout videos, craft scissors, a shelf’s worth of eyeglass cases, a ski case and no skis, whiffle golf balls, karate sparring gear, mouthguard (unopened).

And as garage sales are the result of the fundamental realization “wow, i have a lot of random shit” and the fundamental goal – to get rid of everything or have to haul it down to goodwill – all that shit is virtually dirtfree. The weight garge sales put on the soul is greatly underrepresented by the flapping “SALE TODAY. 3868 VISTA AVE. EVERYTHING MUST GO” cardboard signs. My soccer ball which went for probably 50 cents yesterday I had for eight years. My karate gear I’ve had since third grade when my dad would duke it out with us in the living room went for a whopping $1 as one set.

I was having serious separation anxiety from my things, things I haven’t used in ten years or even seen for that long. But there’s always the “i might use it again” downfall genetic defect that leads to death by hoarding. Which is why selling my things in a driveway for one dollar apiece is a rare occurance usually brought about only when i finally have enough of a closet regurgitating seven year old raincoats, dress shoes, and school books. My nightstand barely closed. I cleaned out about 15 bookmarks (people assume because I read I use bookmarks, which i don’t. They’re never around when I need them so gas receipts and tissues usually mark my pages), a tiger eye rock, pencil lead (who uses a mechanical pencil long enough to refill it with lead?), burned pages of The Necter in the Sieve (which I either did myself or found in the 07 fires, I don’t remember which), a small collection of empty tictac boxes (I kept those…heh), and my baseball card collection (let’s all say it together “waste of my life“).

And while my materialistic taste buds cringed at the idea of selling out, I am going to college and might as well make another packrat somewhere jubulant over a collection of some 20 small lab jars (where the heck do i get these things). Fellow blogger, Morally Obligated, also sold out her worldly possessions yesterday. To read a much more coherent post of what I was thinking refer to that link. MO: “It just feels like whoring yourself out.” Exactly. What is it about garage sales that feel like you’re shopping in the Red Light District of discarded items? What about it makes the seller feel like every item that goes for a twentieth of what it was bought for is a personal admission that you are insulting yourself at the pleasure of another?

My father decided to have the garage sale to pay for the Other Offspring’s tennis camp. Not that he told me that was what it was for. (and here I thought my meager 20 dollar makings might go to my college account). As is true to his form, he gobbed piles of things (his and some not his…meaning some of mine) to be sold. Like how he sold my basketball hoop one day without even asking. Yaddyyaddyyadda. Tangents. Sorry.

Watching my soccer gear go for a “special one time deal just for you. All for $1!” (dad) brought up a little heart burn. Yeesh. The entire garage sale at one point (new) was probably $2,000 and it all sold for $300?

Sadly, as I was watching strangers thumb through my books and clothes I realized that if I had the money I would probably be buying all this shit right up again. After all, I am the biggest garage sale sucker. My materialism is too strong. I see a sale sign and I’m there ready to buy the whackiest objects you have out there. Perhaps it is the cheap form of a shopping compulsion.

Oh so what really brought out the snarl yesterday, though are the people that scrounge for the sole purpose of reselling (either at their own garage sale but mostly for Ebay). Worse – the people that make it quite obvious they are ebay whores. ggggrrr spittle. This is more a reaction than an actual condemnation. I’d probably do it too. I’ve thought about it. Like I said, Garage Sales are like the chances of striking gold in 1849. Possibility of striking gold is always there. However. This guy – low worn hat, jacket, jeans – walked up to the stack of books whipped out a bar code scanner and scanned the books. The damn thing whispered the official barcode price in his ear. He bought a bunch to sell on ebay. Told The Other Offspring so. Gr. An injustice to my books.

But also.

I want that barcode scanner.

Fuckme, but that is cool.

Facebook status yesterday morning:

garage sale. my books: $1, my socks: $2 , my life: 10cents.

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  1. Consider the possibility that you spend the amount of time working that you put up signs and police a tarp covered with exworldly possessions and how much you eventually make back…..think about what money you’re actually wasting or what you could actually do with that time.

    People don’t like the prospect that the shit they bought isn’t worth shit once it goes through and through them and their house and offspring for a few years/decades/etc.

    I want a barcode scanner too. I considered stealing the one in the library on the last day so I could check in the TBS library books I still have but by virtue of the shittiness of the circulation system, it never showed them as checked out.


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