It will soon be garage sale season, and who doesn’t love garage sales?
What is it that makes other people’s junk more appealing than our own? Garage sales are a self-perpetuating pastime; we wouldn’t have them at all if we didn’t go to them to pick up the junk for next year’s garage sale.
The fascination crosses all age barriers. Even as a child, I loved the “jumble sales” usually held in the local church hall where everyone brought their old clothing, books and knickknacks to sell. They were more a social occasion that commerce, and when they eventually were replaced (once all of England’s fifty-six million people owned a vehicle), by the car boot sale, it was nothing more than a soulless parody of the ‘jumbles’ of old.
I think it is that social element which makes today’s garage sales popular. It provokes a sense of community; touring the town, chatting with people you haven’t seen since last years’ garage sale. Then there is the novelty of traffic jams in small-town Manitoba. I am quite convinced that some people, vampire-like, hibernate in old grocery store boxes, emerging only when the sunrise glints off the windows of the vans laden with shoppers coming to town.
Whoever came up with the notion of a town-wide garage sale should probably be knighted. What a splendid idea to peruse everyone’s cast off treasures at the same time. You do, however, have to be mindful of garage sale politics. It wouldn’t really be terribly good form to have prominently displayed for 25 cents, last year’s Christmas present from the mother-in-law. And don’t be surprised if your neighbours seem a little reluctant to buy your old underwear. They’ve probably become sick of seeing it on the clothes line for the last ten years. And never buy a birthday present for a friend at a garage sale because you run the risk of giving them something that started out at their own sale four years earlier.
The only torment in the whole blissful experience is the struggle between holding your own sale or being free to visit everyone else’s. Life is full of difficult decisions.
Photo by Alexander Shustov on Unsplash
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