Each region of the USA has a garage sale aptitude. Previous experience did not seem to make a bit of difference with the rhythm and dance of each community from Florida to Pennsylvania and different locations in Texas. We all know Texas is like it’s own country. What happens in Brownsville is foreign to Fort Worth.
Advertising plays a huge part in the prospective customer’s expectations. An estate sale will conjure up the customer seeking the Antique Road Show treasure they can retire with. We did make sure there were no $100.00 bills stuffed into book pages or rolled into a pair of socks. A yard sale banks on a casual customer and those flying the nest with tighter budgets or the presumption you are willing to all but give away the merchandise. The famous garage sale fires up the trepidation that there may be further entrance into the home or higher end assets must be protected from the elements. Multiple times we had offers to purchase the home or property. I don’t feel the inquiries were sincere. It was more or less the human need for further information. Not all sales are out of desperation, foreclosure or a move out.
Pennsylvania sale attendees seem to be aggressive prior to opening day. They knock on the front door and ask if they can see the forthcoming riches. It doesn’t concern them that it is dawn and you’re in your robe with bed head and lion breath. It doesn’t faze them to bang on the doorbell after dark when man and beast is already butt up on the couch. They are non-apologetic and even act a little ticked that you won’t let them traipse through your home.If I didn’t know any better, they camp down at the stop sign until “Sale is On”. I even had a woman ask me what I was going to do with the valuable jewelry and glass! I informed her there wasn’t any valuable jewelry or glass. She said, “Honey, we know all the relatives strip everything bare before the garage sale!” I informed her that it was my junk. I’m very much alive at age 27 and I didn’t have any of that stuff!
The Quaker State buyers snatch and grab. They don’t even examine the items. It is as though they are on a game show and the clock is ticking. A favorite and common comment – after accumulating all of the highest priced items, is to offer you $8.00 for the entire mountain of merchandise. Itemization may total $482.50 and they are ready with the shocked and disgusted garage sale face. The attitude is they are there to do you a favor and you are an ingrate. I favored the patron feigning to be deaf and waiving the $8.00 at me because they were stroking out because you are telling them, “no” to their cheap ass offer.
Florida had the most polite and gracious group imaginable! During multiple garage sales, they would line up in a formation similar to the Metro bus riders in downtown Houston. It was fascinating. Hail and tropical storms did not hither this assembly. It reminded me of the affluent bunch politely scouring the shoe sale at Nieman Marcus in Dallas. Their hearts are beating wildly but you can not appear to be uncouth. To our knowledge there was neither theft or breakage at the Florida sales. Offers were reasonable. No one asked me to deliver a furniture item to their 36th floor condo, 84 miles down the coast. I still shake my head at the man who purchased the pile of debris that was swept into a pile in the middle of the garage floor at the closing of a sale. What on earth was he going to do with wood chips and a very small piece of chain?
Oh, Texas, my Texas! Garage sales in a Houston subdivision are civil and non-eventful. It was the quintessential block party. You may have lived next door to the engineer from Exxon and his Junior League wife for 4 years and didn’t know them. Stick a Weber grill in the driveway with a table full of your kid’s Transformer underpants and it’s old home week. You would’ve thought we were joined at the hip. I wouldn’t have know these people if I ran into them at the corner dry cleaners. It was a discovery of we golf at the same club and share the same arm pit specialist. They pay what is posted and notice that the satchel you pack their new belongings into is from Ann Taylor. You pick and choose who to give your prized shopping bags to.Some of these egos can’t tolerate a Walmart plastic bag. A bag from Barneys will actually yield an additional sale because they think you’re a regular shopper at a place that has extremely overpriced pants.
Garage sales in the paradise of Paris, Texas let you know you are a real person among good people, except for the family dropping “F” bombs on each other. During my short tenure at country living, in the bible belt, this behavior was, as my grandmother would say, “rather unbecoming”! “Yeah, baby”, every character type, cowboy, farmer, Hispanic, MeeMaws, ranchers, city folk, single parents, widows and widowers marched through at a consistent stream. This group didn’t do “the line-up”. A large number of them stopped by the house the day before the sale to observe the setup! In fact, the first customer didn’t appear until a half hour after opening. Country folk like to visit. I had 7 gentleman tell me they lived alone and some even told me how big their house was – 4 bedroom, 3 baths! Instead of Match.com, I guess they see who is available at garage sales! I did try to introduce a few to each other but I don’t know if there were any hook ups! Over a 2 day period, almost everything got sold, even an old bicycle seat.
True and experienced garage sale buyers, eager to be the first customer, fancy themselves on presenting a $100.00 bill for an item priced at $.25. They know it will wipe out your cash fund, if you have that much in your cash fund. They are banking on you to say, “just take it”.
Garage sales are social events and a way of clearing out the closets and out buildings. My favorite part is watching the eager and ecstatic people so pleased with their new treasures.