Oceanside for sale on Saturday

What are the indications of a garage sale? Signs, of course: yellow signs, red signs, florescent green signs, cardboard signs, pieces of plywood propped against a pole — some of them legible, some not so.

Then there are the balloons, but one must come to some decision about whether this signifies a garden wedding, a party/barbeque or Aunt Nellie’s 99th birthday.

One of the best indicators is cars parked on both sides of the street; but with most of the cars parked there for only a few perusal moments; then cars leaving.

A positive sign is cars or vans with doors and trunks open while their owner try to coach the couch, the table saw, the chest of drawers, or the canoe into or onto the vehicle.

On the particular Saturday morn that precipitated this column, there was hardly a block within Oceanside without garage sale indicators — from tall thick print proclaiming garage sale, to dull letters on a dark background advertising a g-sale. In this lovely weather, of course, most garage sales turn out to be yard sales … all the better, dear buyer, to scrutinize the merchandise.

As we all know there are garage sales and then there are garage sales.

We may have firmly refused to stop at any number of enthusiastic blandishments, then a sign prompts a quick look in the rearview mirror and a squeal of brakes because on this street or in this neighborhood there’s bound to be some good stuff!

Well, sometimes, but sometimes we get fooled, too.

A good garage sale can depend on the season, the weather, the treasures up until now hidden in attic, closet, shed, or garage, but often it will depend on the homeowner’s salesmanship and knack for display.

Some sales rightly fall under the English title of a jumble sale which is pretty self-explanatory.

Others are models of organization and pricing.

A good garage sale should have some items of interest to both sexes so couples can browse in a relaxed fashion without one worrying about keeping the other waiting.

Sometimes though, a couple can blow a potential sale.

Example: man picks up a fishing vest and reaches for his wallet.

“Maybe you’d better try it on,” says wife.

Man impatiently shrugs into the vest which is very obviously too small.

No sale.

In a home and country type magazine I once read an article with tips on holding a successful garage sale.

It didn’t identify the kind of neighborhood in which such a sale would be held, but most customers could do better at Zellers or Walmart, I should think.

“Create the best looking yard sale ever,” read the heading and showed some sample articles in a good sale with their prices carefully attached. Ladies’ crocs – $39.99; A-V table – same price; Radio – $189.99.

It went on to list things you should have on hand (or purchase if you didn’t) to make your sale attractive.

The list included: coloured gift tags to separate categories and indicate the price; an organizer for these cards at $10.95; a power post at $19.99 (to make sure the hair dryer or sewing machine works as advertised); a clear basket at $12.95 to hold little items that sellers/shoppers might need, as in sunblock, hand wipes, pens, etc.; a pitcher at $10 for lemonade to assuage the thirst of weary shoppers; biobags for toting purchases (so as not to create more waste).

Well, so much for the profits from that garage sale … unless of course the customers didn’t bat an eye or deign to haggle over the asking prices.

The real success of a garage/jumble/yard sale comes down to what grabs a browser’s eye, what he thinks he needs, what she covets, or the joy of finding just what I’ve been looking for!

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