|Shakespeare in love...with garage sales|
The "hoisting" had it's origins in a garage sale held late last fall by a young married couple. By sheer luck, I happen to be driving by the house when the new owner was posting a yard sale sign by the curb. Needless to say, I slammed on the brakes and stopped to take a look. Walking up the driveway, I met Josh who was the new home owner. He told me that he and his wife were recently married and had just bought the house. The house went up for sale after the previous owner passed away at a nursing home. The old timer left behind no heirs, so the house was sold with it's entire contents. Hearing this story, I realized this was no ordinary garage sale. It was more like a complete whole house sale! The old timer's garage bore this fact out. It was lined with wood shelves packed from floor to ceiling with tools, radios, books, records-basically a lifetime of accumulated "guy" stuff.
Given the huge amount of stuff in the garage, Josh and his wife were feeling a little overwhelmed with the job ahead of them. Since they had to begin the huge task of cleaning out somewhere, they decided to begin in the garage with an impromptu, and more importantly, unadvertised sale. From a garage sale pickers perspective, this was a golden opportunity for me. A sale that's not advertised on Craigslist or in the local paper means way less buyers to compete with. Wanting to waste no time on this garage sale treasure trove, I began looking through anything Josh would show me.
|Amateur radio equipment: part of the huge garage sale booty.|
pieced out everything, selling various parts on eBay and Craigslist. Overall, the radio gear netted me a profit somewhere north of $700 dollars. While I made a tidy profit on the the radio collection, I wasn't totally mercenary. Feeling slightly paternal towards the young couple, I gave them some advise on what was valuable in the garage and the best way to sell everything. After nearly hour of giving them a crash course on how to deal with all their garage junk, it was time for me to head home. My purchases barely made a dent in the garage. I wished them luck on cleaning out the rest, and told them I'd be back whenever they had their next sale.
Fast forward to this spring when I spotted a Craigslist ad for another garage sale at Josh's house. After making so much dough from my previous visit, I couldn't wait to get back into that garage! The ad's title grabbed my attention. It read;
"Garage full of old-timer's stuff"
Reading this, I groaned to myself. Why the heck did the kid have to use the phrase "old timer" in his ad? His enticing description was going to ruin it for me! Now everyone and their uncle would show up at the garage and buy up all the great stuff! In addition to letting the proverbial cat out of the bag, the big strapping kid added one more funny, but slightly intimidating line to his ad:
"No early birds-
If you knock on my door at 7 AM, we're both going to have a problem!"
That warning was clear enough to me! I am not much an early bird anyway, so I planned to make it my first stop at his advertised start time. Despite the ad's buzz words, "Old timer's stuff," I hoped to beat the competition to Josh's house.
I rolled up to Josh's house about ten minutes ahead of time on Saturday morning. I figured since we were now buddies the kid wouldn't mind. I walked up to the garage and Josh recognized me right away. But looking around the garage, I immediately could tell other buyers had already been through much of his stuff! Empty boxes were scattered around everywhere. I couldn't believe it...this was suppose to be my garage sale to plunder! Those rotten claim jumpers had robbed me of all the good stuff! I asked Josh if buyers had shown up early despite his warning? He confirmed my hunch, shrugging his shoulders as he described how the huge crowd appeared in his driveway waaay before the 8 AM start time. Seeing so many people, Josh broke under the pressure and let the early birds in to peruse his stuff.
But I couldn't get mad at the kid for cracking under the mob's pressure. Instead, I nodded my head like some kind of old garage sale sensei, explaining to Josh that the early morning crowd materialized because he used the title "old timer's stuff" in his ad. He looked over at me proudly and said, "Yeah I know....you told me to do that!" I paused in stunned silence for a moment. Then I forced a pained smile and mumbled, "Um...I did?"
Like a guy who'd just woke up from a deep coma, I listened in disbelief as Josh explained that when we met last fall, I instructed him to use the phrase, "Old timer's garage" in any future Craigslist ad. And apparently I wasn't done giving advise that day. Nooooo, I learned also that I blabbered to Josh about how guys like me will show up in droves to eagerly pick through an old timer's garage. Since I tend to be a little forgetful, this was all news to me. When Josh was finished telling me what I told him, he proudly pointed to the now empty boxes and thanked me for all my great advise!
Which brings us back to old Willy Shakespeare, because standing demoralized in Josh's driveway it dawned on me that I'd just been, yep....
Hoisted by my own petar!
After wiping the gunpowder off my face, I sheepishly responded to Josh's compliment with a half-hearted "you're welcome." I guess that's what I get for being a little too helpful! I wonder if Shakespeare wrote anything like, "Thou shall keepeth thy big mouth shut"?
Fortunately, I did receive sort of a consolation prize for helping the kid out. I'll get to that in my next blog. Have you ever been a little too helpful at a garage sale and it backfired on you? Share your story below!
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