Saturday, April 19, 2014
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What a week!

GUEST COLUMN • Mark Magnan

 This past week was something else. I had a garage sale and a dental appointment. Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Wow, a garage sale sounds like fun and I really need to do one.”

 Well, take it from me. I would rather go back to the dentist than do another garage sale any time soon. Of course I really don’t fear the dentist, and this was just a routine cleaning.

The feeling you get from clean teeth is quite good. Overall, this is not anything to dread. I like the dental hygienist, I have followed her from another practice. This young lady is quite pleasant while she is sticking several varieties of pointed metal objects in my mouth. She also has some interesting stories, some of which almost require a laugh which is impossible for a dental patient in the normal position.

I have continued improvement in the health of my teeth and she is always upbeat about how things look in there. Everyone at this dental practice is pleasant and helpful.

That brings me to the garage sale portion of the week. I don’t know what came over me when I thought that a two-day sale was a good idea. Someone said that the sign of a successful garage sale was “taking several thousand dollars of items and selling them for a couple hundred bucks.”

In that light, I did well. I have needed to thin out some of the “goodies” taking up space in my garage for quite some time. I had items that were from someone else, things I had no idea where they came from, stuff I bought at other garage sales, and of course items that have been sealed in a box since the last time I moved.

There is nothing that ended up in the garage sale that I absolutely needed within the last year, so I thought it might be a good idea to let someone else enjoy them. One of the good things about a garage sale is that you get to meet interesting people, some good and some, well, not so much.

One “early-birder” seemed a bit moody, perhaps it was because they got up so early. They seemed miffed that I did not have everything out and on display, even though it was clearly before my posted opening time. They also made a comment about an item out for sale, stating that they didn’t want the item because it was made in China. I thought, “Well, duh. Neither do I; hence it being out with a lot of other items for quick sale.”

They ended up leaving without any of my super bargains. Their loss!

A lot of other folks came and found some good deals, and enjoyed some very interesting conversations. Some visitors came back for a second trip. I always price my items to sell. I have no interest in moving stuff back into my garage, or hauling a tractor trailer load to the local charity drop-off. Some items that I thought would sell, didn’t. And other items I thought I would end up keeping, sold quickly.

A garage sale is a big step for me. I am not a hoarder, but not too far off either. I can understand people that collect obsessively. I don’t fill my house and garage with junk. But there are a lot of valid items that I would tend to keep for their “collectible value.”

There is no way I could be a car dealer, I would end up keeping too many of the good cars and losing sales, all the while filling up my business with my own collections. I did part with some collectibles during this garage sale, which surprised me a bit. I did price some of my items with a fair price in the hopes that if they did sell then I was happy with the exchange.

The weather was tolerable, especially for Texas in the summer. It could have been worse, so I guess it was just about right. Another thing: I really don’t understand why the customers run in groups. I would stand around for a bit, then have several buyers at the same time. Also, why do people bring large bills to a garage sale? I made most of the cash in increments of a dollar or two at a time. When you count it out at the end of the day you realize just how many transactions it took to come up with this total. By late morning on the second day, I was trying to give things away, some people weren’t even takers on some of the items that I had for free, a sure sign that this object needs to end up in the trash. Given the choice I will head back to the dentist for clean teeth rather than endure the dreaded garage sale again, making a couple hundred bucks a quarter at a time.