Yard Saling is like chess. There are rules. Strategy. Triumph and defeat. Kings and pawns.
Q: Have I ever actually played chess?
Q: Am I nonetheless confident enough in this analogy that I would include it in my version of the ACTs, should I ever be invited to rewrite the ACTs?
“Yard sale” is a word that can be a noun or a verb, like Smurf. The verb refers to any of the various activities related to attending yard sales: checking the classifieds for promising sales, driving to a sale, doing a drive by, cruising the tables, digging through boxes, paying, driving home, unloading your purchases, realizing they smell funny, cleaning them.
I have been honing my yard sale game nearly my entire life. The toddler in the picture below? That’s me, at a yard sale, about to buy a swank-ass bunny bear.
Through years of training I have learned the rules of the game. The most important rule of all being
The best yard sales are at old houses.
If you have the choice, always go to the old side of town first. I learned this lesson all over again recently. There were exactly two estate sales in the paper: one in a rich neighborhood and the other in an not-even-remotely-rich neighborhood. I hate to admit it, but I was seduced by the fancy ‘hood. And boy, was it a lame sale.
Brent and I got there before it opened for business, and so we joined the line of people waiting to get in. The elderly lady in front of us turn to look at us. Not to smile or greet us, but just to look at us somewhat sourly. Brent greeted her and then asked, “Is this the line for the Metallica tickets?” The lady maintained her sourball expression, but it did appear as though she was trying to decipher what Brent was saying. She leaned toward us cautiously. “The what?” she asked.
And that was the highlight of that sale. The stuff was not interesting to me, the sale was crowded and people were unfriendly. Nuts to all that.
But then we went on the other sale and it was a great one. Two strangers laughed at our jokes and engaged in banter with us (god, Brent and I are needy bastards) and it was at that sale that I was struck with the brilliant idea to find a cheap picnic table and put it out back behind our house on the land that is not our property. Inspiration! The land is this strip of woodland that is owned by the state, so it’s not like I’m taking over somebody’s backyard. Worst case scenario: the state is dumping nuclear poisons nearby, the poisons soak into the wood of the picnic table, I lick the picnic table and turn into a mutant.
Question for Brent! If my future picnic table turns me into a mutant, would you become a mutant too so that we could still be together? This would mean that you’d have to lick the picnic table.
For clarification sake, I didn’t actually get a picnic table at that sale, but look at what I did get:
That first sale had nothing like this, I tell you.
In conclusion, don’t forget the most important rule in yard saling. Otherwise, you may miss out on things you really need.