Saturday, January 21, 2012
On a snowy winter morning
What separates a fair-weather garage sale picker from the truly hard core? How about a little snow? This morning we received about two inches of very miserable, sleet and snow. The weatherman had been calling for a dusting, but changed the forecast to a hazardous mix of sleet and snow overnight. Naturally after many weeks of no garage sales, there were two rare winter sales being held this morning. Both Craigslist ads insisted they were going to have their sales, "Snow or shine! " Adding to allure, the one sale was in a very well-to-do neighborhood. I've found many scores there in the past, including the sweet Pottery Barn lemonade stand discussed a few stories ago.
So with the garage sale planets coming into alignment, I had several factors working in my favor. A snowy morning that would keep the amateurs home in their jammies. A sale at a "Richie-Rich" neighborhood promising good stuff. Plus my new secret weapon...Mrs. Dude's new, four-wheel drive Toyota Rav 4! (Just bought a couple weeks ago) As they say in the tennis world...Advantage-Dude!
I woke up at 7:30 this morning. Peeking out the bedroom window, I saw a couple of inches of snow on our unplowed street. I chuckled in anticipation...no snow was gonna stop me! Stepping over the cat doing her usual insincere "feed me" purr, I ran down to the computer to double check check Craigslist. Had my two garage sales been canceled at the last minute? Nope, no cancellations listed. These were some brave garage sale sellers! I grabbed my coffee and headed out. While I am still learning all the buttons on the Rav 4, I definitely know where the four wheel drive stick is. After sweeping the snow off the car, I lit up the four wheel drive and flew out the driveway! (I think my truckster heaved out a sad wimper as I left, but I'll make it up to her later)
Zipping down the road, I was on top of the world! Snow? What stinking snow? I plowed through like it was a warm spring day. Nothing could stop me now! Then I looked at the dashboard and my excitement turned to quick dread.....no gas! The little red gas gauge was literally below E! How would I've known it was empty? After all, it's Mrs. Dude's new baby and I hadn't been in the car all week. Mrs. Dude later informed me that she was "thinking" about fueling up on Friday, but the line was too long. Oh well! I lovingly explained without the least bit of sarcasm, (ahem) that there is a V-6 engine underneath the hood requiring fuel. It's this fuel which runs the engine, causing the tires to rotate, which in turn propel the vehicle down the road. So fueling up, while seemingly a minor insignificant detail, is really key to operating a gas powered automobile. But getting back to our main story, I was now in a slight pickle. Should I sacrifice the extra 20 minutes to divert and gas up? If so, would I risk losing some great buys at the big fancy house? I quickly weighed my options and decided to risk it. I figured if the car conked out, Mrs. Dude could always bring out the lawn mower gas can.
Arriving at the high-end yard sale, I was relieved to find two wide open garage doors. Inside sat the nice lady who bravely put on this rare winter sale. I greeted her with a gusty hello, as if I had just conquered Mt Everest. The first thing I wanted to know was super important...had any buyers arrived before me? She told me that one other insane person had been out. Not bad, but I was a little disappointed on not being first. I looked around and true to the neighborhood, she had some nice stuff. Stacked on a table were ten Wilton cake pans. The seller had collected Winnie the Pooh, Spiderman, Scooby-Doo, a Volkswagen and a bunch more. Making the deal even better, she actually kept most of the original cardboard labels that sat in the pans. She was asking two dollars a piece for each one. I offered her ten for all. Probably thinking I might be the only nut coming out to her sale, she accepted my offer. (I may sell the pans in one lot, making $30 to $40 for all.) Looking further, I also found a new in box, creme brulee torch with dish set. This is basically a cooking blow torch to melt cheese and other gooey stuff. I snagged that for only $3.00, (Should sell for $25 on eBay). I also bought two sweet Nash Skateboards for a buck each. They should easily sell for $20 each. Lastly, the seller gave me a small box set of Testors model paints for free. (I guess as a reward for just showing up.) These sets can go for around $15 on eBay.
After some friendly small talk about the weather, I headed to the second garage sale. I didn't see as much potential in this sale, so I first diverted to the gas station. This cost me a good twenty minutes, but I arrived at my next sale with a full tank of gas and no stress. The lady had a "Sold" sign on her very nice, log cabin style house. Being a big nosy-body, I asked if she was moving South? (Because around here, if your older and selling your beautiful home, your inevitably heading south.) She said she was, and like the amazing Kreskin, I ventured a guess as to her destination, asking if she was going to Florida or the Carolina's? She looked at me like I was the local soothsayer and confirmed it was South Carolina. Going for the easy joke, I pointed outside at the snow and said, "South Carolina? What and miss all this?" She got a chuckle at that and I started to concentrate on the business at hand. She had mostly glassware and other knick-knacky things. I did however find a vintage Ideal "Chrissy" doll in the original box. She wanted five bucks, but since I loosened her up with my lame joke, she agreed to come down to three. Not finding anything else that made my foot tap, I wished the nice lady good luck on her move and headed out into the snow. This second stop was worth the trip. The Ideal doll ranges in price from $20, to as much as $100 depending on condition. I figure I should be able to make at least $30 for my snow-day doll.
So with the four-wheel drive engaged, I boldly headed back home. Around my town, these winter yard sales are a rarity, so I was happy with the results. I spent a total of fifteen dollars for everything. (Sigh...not counting gas) Once everything is sold, I see no problem in making at least $150 from my winter finds. Not bad for an hour of four wheeling in the snow!
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