Wednesday, July 24, 2013

William Shakespeare quotes in the garage

Shakespeare in love...with garage sales
There's an old expression from Shakespeare which refers to a person being "hoisted by his own petar."  In Shakespeare's time, a "petar" was a medieval bomb launched by soldier during battle. To "hoist" one's own petar meant that it accidentally blew up in face of the soldier who was trying to launch it. Although you don't hear the expression used too much anymore, it now means to have something backfire in your face! You may be wondering why I am boring you with this tidbit of medieval history? I mention it because while your favorite blog will never be confused with Shakespeare, your Dude was recently "hoisted by his own petar" at a garage sale! It's actually kind of a funny story too.

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.
Don't get me wrong, Josh was no naive, babe-in-the-woods when it came to selling stuff. He was careful not to give away the farm, and wouldn't sell any items he thought were really valuable. But I still scored some sweet deals, including a huge lot of HAM radio equipment. After buying the gear for $200, I later
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 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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  1. You write the best true life stories! Love to read them. :)

  2. Thanks, it was a two evening workout banging out that one, so I really appreciate your comment.

    BTW-hope you win that contest. I'll tweet it any maybe it will help drive up the votes....Dude!

  3. I dont usually talk too too much as far as that goes but I did hit up a yard sale that had a lalaloopsy for 4 dollars. we started talking about ebay and she wanted to start but didnt know how so as i explained she called her husband over..her daughter held a DIsney exclusive plush that I told her I had sold last week for 30.00 (the next week i sold one for 25 and i just sold one on amazon 2 days ago for 45). I also told her the lalaloopsy she sold me for 4 when the kids were done with i would probably sell on ebay for around 40 (and my kids were sick of it within the day it sold within the month on ebay for 74 and shipping but i dont have a smartphone) well her jaw dropped at the prices of that and a couple other things i didnt pick up (too fragile with little kids or too awkward for me to deal with) if they get the hang of it im pretty sure i can cross their house off my list :D but I did get a good laugh at your story....who can really remember what they say that early if i get to yard sales with my eyes fully open and my kids clothes matching im doing good :D

    1. mrs4jachi-I remember you pointed out Lalaloopsy in previous comment. I bookmarked a few today on eBAy just so I can burn those things into my memory! I am sure I've passe by a bunch without a clue, so thanks for bringing them up again.

      Seems like they come in different sizes, small, medium and large sizes? I guess big ones sell best. Any details you want to share with the group on Lalaloopsy or Disney Exclusives would be appreciated.(Maybe a best score?)

      My gabbiness on the garage sale trail usually has everything to do with my coffee intake and mood. So I guess I was hyped up that morning and in a good mood and the kids learned few things!

      Thanks for enjoying the story and writing in about the Lalaloopsy dolls....Dude!

    2. Lalaloopsies are come in 4 sizes: full size, littles (each of the loopsies seem to a have younger sibling type of thing), mini (various versions of the full size), and now micro (still not sure what they are but they are kinda creepy)
      full size dolls sell well typically if they are first generation or first release (Pillow Featherbed, Jewel Sparkles,Bea Spells-a-lot and Crumbs Sugarcookie are always on my BOLO list. Marina Anchors is not a first release but she does sell well. The others I only pick up if they are like a dollar or two (they rarely go above 15. The initial dolls were so popular and they are in the TV shows/movie. They started popping out lots of dolls (like Pickles BLT) which wasnt in stores long, not in any media, and not very popular)

      The littles sell for around 10 bucks a pop I found. Same rules apply. The ones associated with the original dolls are more popular.

      The minis are by far my favorite :D they are small and *can* go for 5.00 a piece at the right time (i sold a single one last christmas for 8.50 but just sold a ferris wheel, bus, and 9 dolls for 24.00....I was really dissapointed). original doll variations most popular but they all seem to be popular. There are other accessories (like i have a remote control car i have left to list) not sure how they do

      micro dolls are realitively new and were in "surprise" packages i think....some were made without a face...*shutters*. just sold 3 for 1.99 not worth the time unless you have a huge lot (these are about the size of my index fingernail blink twice and you will loose them)

      disney exclusives i know very little about they are hit or miss for me. The thrift store near my husbands work had 2 Heffalumps for .99 each. I dont normlaly do plush but I liked the price (about 3 months ago) listed on ebay also on amazon. Sold one for 35+ shipping one for 25+ shipping on ebay. Thought I took it off amazon....apparently not. Sold for 45+ shipping. Quick bought one off ebay for 20 w/ free shipping told the seller what was going on she mailed it the next morning and I had it the morning after to my amazon buyer it goes even with my screw up I made some $ lol. So I don't know about others but Heffalumps are on my BOLO list. :D

    3. oh and there are also Silly Hair dolls....totally not worth your time. bought one for 1.00 sold for 1.26 :D

    4. mrs4jachi Thanks for taking the time to explain the differences. That's a lot of good information that folks can use. Starting tomorrow, I'll be looking for those creatures! lol....Dude!

  4. OMG, I love this story ... it is so funny! I'm rather shy when it comes to meeting new people so I am usually not very talkative at garage sales, although I do make an effort to show that I am a friendly person. Hubby, on the other hand, has the gift of gab and loves to talk to people (opposites do attract!). He's usually pretty good about not divulging any "eBay secrets". But recently a lady had some Creative Memories scrapbook pages and said she had already sold the albums. DH proceeded to tell her that people pay big bucks for those albums and kept on and on about how well Creative Memories sell. The lady just shrugged her shoulders and said, Oh, well, the buyer got a deal on those albums. I don't know if DH's comments bothered her, but she still sold me the pages for 25-cents each.

    1. Thanks for enjoying it.....true stories are always the best I say. You can't make this stuff up-Ha! Your husband sounds like he enjoys the give and take and hob-nobbing with folks-that's great!

      Generally, I try not to be too yappy at yard sales too-depends on my coffee intake-Ha! But on occasion I do feel the need to advise a seller that they could do better if they sold the item on CL or eBAy. But to be honest-the reaction I usually see when I tell people that is they can't be bothered, so I figure the heck with them-I'll make the profit-Ha!

      Thanks or all the great comments....Dude!