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Becca & Will’s Labor Day Garage Sale Spectacular

Garage SaleOkay, okay, I must credit Becca with all the organizational legwork, such as neighborhood signage, product displays, most of the product and all the heavy lifting. (Hence she gets top billing.) I just provided the venue and contributed two boxes of books that exactly zero (0) people inspected. Though I didn’t sell any books, I received an education.

The key to having a successful garage sale, I learned, is that you need a steady stream of customers. To get a steady stream of customers, you must find a way to appease the Drive-By Onceover. The DBO is when a car packed with 2-4 bargain hunters slows to a crawl in front of your sale. If the DBO yields unsatisfactory results, the passengers avoid making eye contact with the rejected sellers and the driver is instructed in a hushed tone and perhaps with a subtle wave of the hand to hit the accelerator. But if the DBO yields satisfactory results, the bargain hunters then Park & Peruse.

Backstage View of SaleClearly, the trick is converting those DBOs into Park & Perusers. P&Ps are elusive creatures but they are not dangerous. A cursory glance at quality, presentation and diversity of goods no doubt plays a role in satisfying the DBO. But I believe there is one determinative factor, a remarkably simple one: quantity. You must have so much crap on your lawn that a proper DBO is an ocular impossibility.

Unfortunately, our sale was all too vulnerable to the DBO and we had precious few P&Ps. On the bright side, we did spend a sunny afternoon sitting on the front lawn.

In the top photo, note the open window in the upper right corner of the frame. This window was used to dispense refreshments to the staff. Incorporating a roach coach operation into the sale was discussed — perhaps if we made it drive-thru we could have made some money from those DBOs after all. The second photo was taken from said window, just in case you wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at a Labor Day Garage Sale Spectacular.

4 Comments

  1. I Fyam What I Fyam

    September 5, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    I feel the same way about garage sales that I do about strip clubs: that it is a demeaning experience to everyone involved, but most of the particpants don’t realize it. I am in no way judging people who go to garage sales, just as I would never judge someone for going to or performing at a strip club. I am just saying that having been on both sides of the garage sale experience, at this point in my life I would much sooner take my crap in the alley and light it on fire. (In fact I just take all my stuff to goodwill these days.)

    P.S. The #1 key to catching the DBO traffic is furniture, furniture, furniture! Also any kitschy memorabilia that is big enough to be visible from the street.

  2. I also feel the comparison between strip clubs and garage sales is apt. The lesson I take away, however, is that you must be prepared with a lot of one-dollar bills to have success in either venue.

  3. Unfortunately, setting my wares ablaze in Will’s handy alley would not have profited one red cent. This sale was, in fact, unique in that my jewelry is all hand-crafted, quality artistry. I agree that when one seeks to unload unwanted second-hand items, donation or a within-city-limits bonfire are both reasonable options. However, this instance was different in that we weren’t trying to thin out our closets by shedding our useless crap on the unsuspecting.

  4. Becca was selling her fine jewelry. I was trying to shed my useless crap on the unsuspecting. Nay, but seriously, I’m a fan of garage sales. In our uberconsumerist culture where we individually wrap slices of cheese and where it’s easier to buy a new appliance than it is to fix an old one, it’s nice to see some recycling of goods.

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