Saturday, June 16, 2007

Yard Sales

When I was a kid my mom would occasionally take my brother and I to yard sales. We would get up early on a Saturday morning and drive all over North Little Rock checking out the cheap loot spread across tables on lawns and in garages. Somehow, I expected the yard sale my roommate and I had today to be similar.

Yard sales in Arkansas are actually quite different from yard sales in my little corner of Queens. The yard sales back home typically have a steady stream of people searching for deals and surprising finds. Here, with little foot traffic going by our house and most of the cars being of the Mercedes or Cadillac variety, we weren't really hitting our niche market. We had about ten people peruse our selection in the five hours we were sitting outside.

One of these women accounted for nearly half of our earnings. She went around picking up items, stating that she didn't need them, then setting them aside for purchase. She told us all about her collection of Disney tchotchkes, which is so large it fills her living room and kitchen. I am fairly minimalist (aside from books, that is) so I actually began to feel guilty for contributing to this madness. She left our sale to go visit a few others, then came back to pick up the large cd tower she bought.

Our second best customer was probably me. As I'm preparing to move out, I see that there are many things that I haven't owned since my last yard sale three years ago when I was living in Memphis. Fortunately, my roommate had them at our sale. So, instead of the yard sale purchases of faded little boy t-shirts that I used to wear with my flared jeans in high school, I bought a cheese grater and wine glasses.

At the end of the sale, we packed my roommate's car with the leftover goods to give to a thrift store. Next to the front gate of our apartment, we left a cart of books with a sign that said, "Free." About two hours later, (after yard sale exhaustion had fully set in) my roommate was dead-asleep in her bedroom and I was half-asleep in the living room trying to have a coherent conversation with my mom. Suddenly I realized that the sound I was hearing in the background was thunder. I ran out the door, yelling to wake up my roommate so we could save the books we had rejected, the books that no one else had bothered to pick up--A somewhat ironic ending to a day of yard-saling.

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