I Never Know What I’ll Find At A Yard Sale


Everyone knows I love a good yard sale.

I didn’t go to many as a child, mostly because my mother didn’t want to drag four hyperactive children from house to house, putting the neighbors on edge. (I was one of those kids on a leash when I was a toddler because I had to touch everything. Still do!) As the kids grew up, Mom occasionally ventured out with my younger sister, Pam, who was the first among us to appreciate vintage goods sporting non-vintage price tags.

But when I got to Florida, my first new friend was into the yard sale thing and dragged me along. I’ve been hooked ever since. Not only do I like the bargains, but I like the brotherhood. There’s a silent understanding between people who can’t throw anything out before giving the rest of us a stab at it. We’re recyclers, in a way.

And we’re certainly not in it for the money because no one gets rich having a yard sale. Most yard sales will net the owner approximately $150 and a sunburn. Most of us pack things up swearing we will never do it again. Yard sales are just too much effort and a waste of a Saturday. If we purchased posterboard and stakes for our signs, ran a few ads and gave out free coffee, we may actually end up in the hole. But we do do it again. We simply can’t throw out our junk until we at least try.

Last weekend I was at a sale where the huckster was really, really trying. “Come one, come all!” she shouted. “We have everything you need and lots of things you don’t!”

Her garage was overloaded with books and electronics. “Buy a book! Spend the summer reading! Books make great gifts!” she hollered.

She also had a few tables of “other.” I like “other.” There were vases and candles (two yard-sale staples) as well as faded silk flowers (another thing no one can seem to throw out, no matter how old and dusty they are).

I picked up a stainless-steel pitcher with a cork attached to the bottom of its lid. It weighed a ton, and I had never seen anything like it. Embossed on the bottom was the manufacturer, and that’s when I realized it was an old Thermos. It was totally cool.

“How much is this?” I asked.

“Twenty bucks.” She waited a half a second. “I’ll do $15.”

“I’d take it for $10…”

“$12 and it’s sold!”

I handed over 12 bucks, and that’s when I saw the sign that read, “For Charity.”

“Which charity does this sale benefit?” I asked.

“The happiness congregation of India,” she replied. “It promotes the idea that people need nothing to be happy.”


“I needed this Thermos…” I started to say, but she had already turned to the next shopper, yelling: “Buy something! Buy it even if you don’t need it! Buy something at this sale! Do it right now!”

Do they even have yard sales in India?


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