The Neighbor’s Garage Sale

As I woke up this morning (or maybe it was Saturday), the neighbor across the street had moved their entire garage out on their driveway.  After waffling on the garage-sale/not-garage-sale decision for a moment, the generic signed posted on a stake confirmed what was going on.  (Not to mention the VW bug, for sale with its mouth open at the front of the driveway.)

While normally this might be a reason to rejoice as my daughters and wife anticipate something new and cheap for their mutual enjoyment, there are a couple of things I have considered/witnessed–both long and short range.

  • The ethnic population common is the southwest is VERY committed to seeking out deals at garage sales.  (They have also been seen as committed to cruising the streets of nice neighborhoods on trash days before the trucks arrive.)  With my office facing the street, I have seen a constant flow of deal seekers.  And, most of them appear to be of this ethnic descent.  I applaud them for being actively involved in finding the deal.  And, if it is a nice Saturday morning, why not?  To be perfectly clear, a wide variety of people do attend garage sales.  The little old ladies may come later in the day, but they have missed all of the real deals.  The early risers, based on my observations, were mostly ethnic. They apparently just have the energy and enthusiasm to get the better deals.
  • The nature of bargain hunters finds them looking over the deals. If nothing seeks their fancy, they leave quickly.   Since they are likely very proficient in the etiquette of garage sale aficionados, the garage sellers is not offended with those potential customers who drop in for the deal and drop out just as quickly.  The neighbors of the family holding the garage sale may view the activities of the attendees differently.  I have watched a couple traffic jams get sorted out.  The deal seekers find our street as merely an obstacle to them finding a great deal.  Parking is an obstacle preventing them from getting to their deal more quickly.  They block driveways, mailboxes, and park off of the curb multiple feet.  Nothing should prevent them from getting in and out quickly…that is unless a neighbor’s driveway gets blocked!  If a neighbor came back from breakfast and if this neighbor has a reputation of being rather cranky, then he may not handle the extra visitors to our fair lane very neighborly.  He might even double park in the street blocking all traffic flow until the squatters cleared his path to his driveway in an unobstructed way.  Fortunately, I am not this resident.  Although I have watched someone who is in this category.
  • Driving behind one of these bargain hunters when they discover the sign pointing into your neighborhood is also one of the added benefits.  They have been known to cut across two lanes of traffic to get into the right turn lane.  Once they turn, their driving is almost cloud like as they float through the neighborhood following wherever the signs might lead them.
  • Lastly, with the neighbor across the street having a garage sale and with the neighbor at the end of the street being only a few weeks removed from a garage sale, I wondered if these empty-nesters might be planning a mass movement out of our cozy corner of the world.  (On one side of us they have lived about a year.  The other side has their youngest graduating this year.)  As I look over the horizon, I also see what a kid-less house might look like.  I can’t blame them, and a little fresh blood might bring some renewed excitement to a rather dull street.
  • Our driveway has not been blocked, but I continue to wonder if a blocked mailbox is an acceptable excuse written with a footnote of the mail carrier manual.  “Neither snow nor rain nor sleet will prevent us from delivering your mail.**”  The footnote just might allow the mail carrier to take a selective holiday as the street is deemed “more chaotic than a snow storm” or whatever excuse is allowed for within the manual.
  • Following a successful, semi-successful, or complete failure of a garage sale, the “what do we do with it now” part of the sale takes place.  When the deals don’t go quite low enough or when the item is either to ugly or dated, the items must either become a treasured possession again or disposed of.  Depending on the decision made, the children or friends of the ex-garage sellers made leave loaded with gifts.  What fails to be adopted at this stage, graduates to a possible home with “Goodwill” or one of many other charities that periodically send out trucks to pick up people’s “near junk”.  Lastly, the items deemed of no further value are relegated to the curb as they anticipate spending their final moments looking out of the back of a trash truck–awaiting the final embrace from the compacter.

**-but maybe a garage sale with excessively inconsiderate parking

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