Sunday, June 25, 2006

Selling my soul at a garage sale

Yesterday my friend and I had a garage sale to get rid of as much stuff as we possibly could before we move to Thailand. I've never been much of a garage-saler, mostly because I am never up early enough to make it to them on the weekends. I knew people would be cheap and would try to haggle, but I wasn't quite prepared for the extent of people's audacity for bargaining.

First of all, I set off going around my apartment thinking that I would get rid of nearly everything so that all my material belongings would be able to fit into one suitcase. I soon found out that parting with things was harder than I imagined. Things that I hardly noticed on a daily basis took on a sudden sentimental value. I vowed to be strong despite my over-emotional reactions because I figured it would be worth the temporary pain to be divorced from any material longings.

So I show up and put my whole life on display. I figured people would be quite impressed. I was selling some nice stuff, some stuff was practically new, never been used and of course, I bought it so it was of the highest quality. Boy was I wrong. There is something infuriating and humbling to see someone pick through your belongings and see them turn up their nose at it. Or when someone asks you how much you want for something and you say $1 and they put it back down and walk away. What? Was $1 too much for you? I paid $20 for that thing! Were they expecting that I would say, "Free for you!" You can't buy anything for $1 anyways. Even a pack of gum costs more than $1!

I never got the whole bargaining thing down either. I would try to start off high expecting them to counter offer and they would just walk away. And if I started low they would try and haggle. This one lady came up with her arms full of stuff and offered me $4 for it all! She must have lost her mind. I thought well I'll try and haggle because I needed to get rid of the stuff anyways so I countered with $7. A whoppin $3 more and she looked at me like I was crazy and said "I said $4." I was tempted to tell her to stop wasting my air and get out of my face, but I decided to take the polite route and told her that her offer was too low. For that amount of money, I would rather donate it to the Goodwill so that the money will go to a good cause instead of some cheap rich lady who's husband was waiting for her in their nice car with the engine running.

I ended up making nearly $60 which isn't bad because nobody bought the major stuff I was selling. And to be honest I don't even remember what I sold. The rest of the stuff will probably end up at the good will, hopefully to homes that will get some good use out of them. And the extra $60 will go to payoff the debt and/or my savings account!

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10 comments:

Scott said...

When you're selling items at yard sales, you are basically in competition with other peolpe doing thte same. Sometimes people are nuts in what they offer, but then again, if you know you will see a similar item for half as much later, why pay $X, even if it is extremely fair? But you're right, if you want to give it away, give it to some place like Goodwill.

Debt Hater said...

I've neve been to a yard sale, but driven past many and it always looked like a bunch of crap on the tables... though I would be mad as hell if someone wouldn't pay me $1 for something really nice.

kmac said...

My gosh, what changes! How exciting for you - you'll be out of debt, no responsibilities, and it sounds like fun! Lots of people dream of doing things like that - congratulations on making such a brave choice!

I think rummage sales have attitudes. Sometimes you can make a load of money - sometimes not. I throw everything I possibly can out into the driveway, because it's simply not worth my while to only take out a few boxes. Dh and I have gone to a few where there's maybe two tables worth of things...sooooo not worth my time to do that on the selling end!

It is weird to see people pick through your stuff and leave wanting, isn't it? That's one of the oddest thing about rummaging to me.

Well - glad you made some money - you've done an absolutely amazing job. :)

stevie.be. said...

i remember when i garage sales... it was almost like putting pieces of yourself up for sale.. there was something about it that did feel incredibly degrading... atleast you made $60 :) sorry about all those hagglers.

DEBTective said...

That's what I'm talkin' about, babe. That's how you're gonna win with money ... by deep-sixing the debt and connecting with the cash. I'm proud of you. And don't worry about the old ladies; you were right to show class and not sass. Way to go!

WearyTraveler said...

I don't sell anything at yard sales. Too much trouble for too little return. I'd rather give it to charity and claim the deduction. I can donate a work shirt and claim a value of $10, getting $3-4 back in taxes. Trying to get $1-2 for the shirt at a yard sale would be like pulling teeth. And, no need to sit in the sun all day and haggle over a dollar!

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tpjava said...

Sometimes though it may feel hard at the time, a good clear out can make a whole new start of things. When facing debt you have to do whatever it takes to get by here and now!!!
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