April 20, 2006

Eat or Be Eaten

I came as close to a Lord of the Flies experience today as I ever hope to come: the spring city-wide garage sales in our local hamlet.

I need a personality implant to compete with some of these people!

Though the paper says such-and-such a sale will open at 3, it opened at 1:30 and all the good stuff was gone long before your arrival.

Enough of these "near misses," and I finally started stopping wherever I saw large groups of vehicles clustered, gambling on the off chance there was a garage sale nearby. I actually drove into a cul-de-sac populated by a score of pickup trucks for that very reason. Once I was in the cul-de-sac, I realized they were all contractors' trucks; some homeowner was in the midst of a good-sized remodeling project.

Some rules I've learned concerning garage sales:
1 - Open your garage door, and they will come. It doesn't matter what your posted start time or even your start date is.

2 - Lock up the things you want to keep, or they may be sold inadvertantly.

3 - Talk with no one while waiting for the garage door to open. The very person with whom you're most compatible is probably there for the very item you want. You don't want feelings of friendship to stand in the way of a good bargain.

4 - If you find any item at a good price in good condition, for heaven's sake buy it. Even if you don't need it yourself, surely you can find someone who would use it.

I haven't got a prayer of finding a baby buggy to tie on the back of a bike; people show up 30-60 minutes early and sit in their cars in hopes of finding a baby buggy. I ran into a set of grandparents out searching for one. They didn't need it, but their daughter did. I consider this a violation of fair play. Those with extended families in the area have an unfair advantage and can communicate strategy via mobile phones.

It's as bad as the Tickle Me Elmo or Cabbage Patch crazes - and it's only Thursday. Friday and Saturday could be even worse.

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