If you ever find your self esteem rising a bit too high and feel like you might need to be taken down a peg or two, have a yard sale.
There are very few things in this world as humiliating and humbling as having total strangers pick through your treasures. Things that have been so important to you that you have stored them in the hottest or coldest place in your house, hoping that somehow collecting dust makes them more valuable.
Let’s talk about the perpetrators of this assault on the psyche from an entomological point of view and attempt to classify these curious creatures.
The ‘Drive by’: These are rather innocuous. They simply turn their heads while driving past. They evaluate your treasures in point zero six seconds and decide that you, I mean your treasures, are not worthy of even touching the brake pedal.
Irritation level; Minor skin rash.
Rarity; As common as air.
The ‘Slow drive by’: These are the ones who actually slow down just enough to make you think they are going to stop. Raising your hopes of a possible sale only to have them dashed again as the brake light dims along with your hopes of not having to drag all this junk, I mean treasure, back up to the attic.
Irritation level; Bee sting.
Rarity; As common as grass.
The ‘Stop-n-go’: These are the worst of the mobile non-buyers. They pull up in their beat up pick up truck or Cadillac escalade and slowly inch their way past, eyeing your treasures. This raises your hopes only to have them dashed when they get to the end of the tables and drive away. Most times they don’t even lower their windows. This allows them to make fun of you with their passengers in private.
Irritation level; Road rage.
Rarity; Like trees in the forest.
The ‘Window shopper’: Yes! They got out of the car! They’re heading this way! They’re looking, looking, looking, dangit! They’re leaving.
Irritation level; Bowling ball dropped on bare foot.
Rarity; Stars in the sky.
The ‘Pick up artist’: These are the ones who have never heard of communicable diseases. They touch every single item, pick it up, look at it, put it back down, leave without making a purchase.
Irritation level; Assault with a deadly weapon.
Rarity; Sand on the beach.
The ‘How mucher’: They stop, they look, they ask, “How much for the giant bust of Emperor Nero?” when the box clearly states three for five dollars.
Irritation level; Murderous rage.
Rarity; Ants at a picnic.
The ‘Make an offerer’: “I’ll give you five bucks for the fifty-five inch flat screen TV, the autographed copy of the white album, and the Faberge egg.”
Unfortunately, by this time your pride and ego are so low that, fed by desperation, you grudgingly accept.
Irritation level; Nuclear strike.
Rarity; Thankfully, not very common.
The ‘Buyer’: The pinnacle. They purchase several items, they’re polite, they ask how your day is going. Out of respect for the fact that they’ve given you money, you shove the little ball of rage down into your belly, smile, and say “Fine.”
Irritation level; Orgasm.
Rarity; As rare as an honest politician.
The ‘Daddy Warbucks’: Pulls up in a dump truck, tosses you a roll of hundred dollar bills, and says, “I’ll take the lot.”
Irritation level; Pearly gates.
Rarity; Mythical creature, does not exist. (but I can dream)
So my yard sale mercifully ends. I haul my Rembrandt (toothpaste) along with the rest of my treasures back up to the attic, then sit down and figure out how much money I made.
Thirty dollars and twenty five cents.
Fifty-seven dollars to buy poster board, markers, tape, and all the other essentials to set up and advertise.
Eighteen dollars and ninety seven cents for sodas to stay hydrated.
Seven ninety-nine for sun block.
Thirty dollars for the chiropractor visit.
Brings me to a grand total of … negative eighty-three dollars and seventy-one cents.
All this, plus the permanent damage to my psyche, adds up to a sworn promise never to have another yard sale.
At least until next year.