Nothing Is More Exciting Than An Estate Sale During A Pandemic


Things are easing up a little bit, so I went ahead and conducted part two of my most recent client’s estate sale. I sold off part one in March, but COVID was advancing, so we quickly closed up, leaving the attic, the father’s bedroom and the tool shed yet to be priced. Despite the rush, part one went well.

Not so with part two. Just to keep me on my toes, the city decided to tear up the road in front of the house and erect “Road Closed – No Thru Traffic” signs; thunderstorms were predicted for the entire week; and “Bobby,” one of the four heirs, insisted that all kinds of things had been given to him by his parents.

He had three months to tell his siblings what he wanted and buy the stuff from the estate, but Bobby preferred to see what things were worth before claiming them. I would go to lunch, then Bobby would zip in and remove things. It was an ongoing battle.

Despite this, the sale got priced and posted online. But when I went to the local paper to buy a classified ad, I was told there was a new rule that no sales were allowed until COVID Re-Opening Phase Two. No one knew when that would be or if it even pertained to my sale, but I would now need a permit.

Hmm. Should I a) go to city hall, ask for a permit and possibly get denied, or b) forge ahead like I have no idea how to run my business?

Obviously, I chose B.

I couldn’t sleep the night before the sale, envisioning the cops showing up and closing me down just as my shoppers arrived. About 5,000 people had been contacted through my database, that of the client’s club and through various online ads. In anticipation of my arrest, I made a sign that read “Postponed” to put in front of the house when all this went down.

At 7:30 a.m., I miserably went out to the house to wait for the cops. It had rained all night. My signs were a soggy mess. No one could read the “Masks Required” toppers — or anything else.

At 8:45 a.m. (just shoot me), four gigantic tree-removal trucks showed up and parked directly in front of the sale house on the remaining lane of the torn-up road.

Then the noise started.

Above the din, people were freaking out about parking, so I let them park in my loading zone.

At 8:58 a.m., I made a little speech, thanking everyone for coming despite everything and they shouted back, “We can’t hear you!”

At this point, I gave up and opened the doors.

On the bright side, the cops never showed up. Maybe they tried but couldn’t get through. Hundreds of shoppers came and only two left in a huff because they were asked to wear a mask.

It was a nightmare, but we got it done.

Later, during my staff’s well-deserved post-sale dinner, I got the following text from the clerk at my retail store:

“I was swamped, and this lady came up, screaming, with $95 worth of stuff. The other customers were scared, and I had to ask her to use her inside voice. She finally left because special forces were coming to her house to get her wedding dress for a covert mission at the Grand Canyon. How was your day?”

I used to say I was going to write a book about my life, but I can’t keep up. This column is the best I can do.