Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

A couple of weeks ago, Keith and I were out yard saling in a small suburban city at their city-wide sale, when we stopped at this one house that had stuff spread out all over their circular driveway.  There was a man and a cute little boy of maybe five or six out with the stuff, which was mostly toys.

I found a little gumball machine that I liked, which was marked two bucks.  Just a hair too high for me on that kind of item.  So, I asked the man if he'd take a dollar instead.  The art of the deal, you know!  Well, he totally surprised me by turning to the little boy and asking him if I could pay a dollar instead of two for it.

Then, it dawned on me:  this was the kid's yard sale!  It was his stuff and he'd probably picked it out and helped price it and everything.  I thought that it was pretty cool that Dad was helping him but not making decisions for him.

However, the request totally confounded the little boy.  He pointed at the price tag, looked me square in the eye and said:

"It says 2 dollars."

When we were walking back to the car, Keith said the expression on his face was all "Silly grown up person! Can't you read?"

Dad kind of explained to him  that sometimes people might offer less for something. He could say no or he could say yes or he could ask for a different amount like $1.50.  Well, the kid jumped on the $1.50!  I was so tickled by the whole thing that I paid right up and told the kid he drove a hard bargain.

So, I'm making an addendum to my tips for negotiating posts:

Don't bargain with little kids.  They just don't get it.  And they'll win in the end.  And the younger they are, the cuter they are, which gives them an advantage right from the start.  Never underestimate the devastating power of the cute kid.

Now, I've seen plenty of eight and nine year olds hold their own selling their stuff at yard sales and dealing with bargains and offers and such, but five-six is probably a bit too young for that.  I'll take a better lay of the land next time.

Yard sales!  You never quite know what's going on until you wander into the driveway!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yard Saling in a Down Economy

As this recession/slowdown/downturn/whatever it is drags on, the road to recovery seems slow and full of struggles.  Lots of folks are making decisions and choices they weren't a few years ago.  And it's creating all kinds of odd paradoxes.

For one thing, they're holding onto things longer.  Over all, it seems like yard sales have been smaller in recent years.  People are using things longer, so they're not replacing them and then selling the older items.

At the same time, more people are out shopping looking for bargains on used items that they might have bought new not so long ago.  For many families, this has become a necessity for household items and kids things, especially clothes.  Folks who deal in necessities at flea markets have been seeing strong business, even when other vendors in the same mall have problems.

This, in turn, has created a down market for non-necessary items.  Folks are trying to unload their collectibles for cash into a market where everyone else is doing the same thing.  At the same time, buyers are focusing their cash on things they need, rather than want.  That set they thought was going to be worth hundreds may struggle to bring in 20 or 30 bucks.

Which in turn makes it harder for vendors who sell collectibles.  There are more choices out there and prices are better than they've been, but there are also fewer people for them to sell these bargains too. I know folks who are passing up things they would have jumped on at twice the price just a couple of years ago.

Yet, despite this, there are all kinds of people jumping on the re-selling bandwagon, thinking that it will be an easy way to get some quick money.  These folks aren't prepared for the amount of work it takes or for the reality of this economy, so they're making poor choices and aren't lasting very long.

Perhaps the saddest indicator of the way things are now is the "rent yard sale."  If you pay attention, you'll notice that there are a lot more sales popping up around the end of the month, often unorganized and unadvertised.  Some families are grabbing whatever they can find and trying to sell it on the front yard to keep the roof over their head another month.  It's not uncommon to see someone drag a box of stuff into a secondhand store to try and get enough for a tank of gas or two.  Folks will do what they have to do.

I know that things are a little better than they were at the start of the recession,  I also know we have a long way to go.  I'm able, with my reselling, to make a contribution to my household income, and I'm extremely happy to be able to do so.  But, sometimes, especially in this election year, I can't help but think about all of the other sides and stories there are right now.  That person trying to work out a deal on those pots and pans may really need them and really need the better price they're asking for.  It's something to ponder.

I've yard saled and thrifted forever and been a reseller since 2009.  Sometimes, I have to sit and ponder the bigger picture and where and how I fit into it.  And how what I do impacts that bigger picture and the lives of others.  It's odd to think that something that I do for fun and profit is something other people depend on right now.  You know?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The De-Graying of Suburbia

Yard sales by their nature are an unpredictable lot.  You never know what you'll find.  You can't really trust the ads and listings, so you just kind of throw yourself out there and hope for the best.  The thrill of the hunt is part of the game, after all.

One of the ways that you try to offset the uncertainty is careful planning, especially if you have a lot of experience saling.  Steering yourself towards sales that have been particularly worthwhile in the past can often pay off.  At least for a while.

One thing I have noticed about going to the same neighborhood or small citywide sales is how quickly the character of those areas can change.  One of the great things about suburban area sales is the potential to find cooler, vintage stuff.  In some of the original 'burbs, the population is getting older, many are retiring, and quite a few are downsizing.  That means getting rid of stuff that they have been holding onto, often times for years.  And they usually just want it gone, which means fab prices.  At a recent city sale, I was picking up vintage Fisher-Price and Playskool stuff for a buck or less.

However, those sales can be precursors to moving on--to a smaller house, to Florida, to a retirement community.  And when older residents leave, newer residents come in.  And, typically, they're young families, either just married or with a couple of small children.  And slowly, the character of the sales starts to change.  Fewer cool old pieces.  More baby clothes.  More dated decor trend leftovers.  More action figures without legs.

Eventually, that neighborhood that was a treasure chest and always worth the stop becomes, well, not worth the effort.  I'm starting to see that switchover in some of the neighborhood sales we go to every year.  Most are still pretty worthwhile.  You never want to discount the thrill of finding an expensive item new in the box for a steal, after all.  But, within a year or two, the things that originally attracted us to those areas will be pretty much gone and it will be time to reassess the value of spending an afternoon circling those particular streets.

Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.  I think it's a good idea to take a look at those things you've "always done" ad seeing if they're still worthwhile or if you can improve them.  I'm not a big fan of change just for the sake of change, but change, in and of itself, is nothing to be afraid of.

Still, I'm going to miss some of those older families and their wonderful treasures.  They've given me several really good years of hunting and more than a few really good buys that then turned into really good re-sells.  I hope that wherever those folks ended up, that they're happy and contentedly downsized.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Practical Advice for Folks Planning to Hold a Yard Sale (Part II)

This is the second part of the yard saling post I started last week!  Enjoy!

11. Everyone who comes into your yard is your customer.

Customer service is one of those areas where many yard sales fail.  Sometimes this is due to poor planning.  It's hard for one person to manage a yard full of stuff and people alone.  I saw a seller at an estate sale fussing at a buyer to "make up her mind" because she "was taking too much time" once.  That's a dealer whose sales I avoid now.

Say "Hi!"  Acknowledge their presence.  Offer help if needed, including helping to carry stuff to the car.  Stay friendly. Have bags and paper to wrap ready.  Have change ready.  Treat folks the way you would want to be treated at a yard sale.  Answer questions. Offer to hold stuff or make piles. It's really pretty simple.

If your plan is to stay seated in the shade, talking to your friends, and only look at the customers when they come to pay, then you don't get it.  You'll have some sales that way, but not as many as if you'd actually gotten involved in the selling.

One of the sales we pulled into just last weekend was being held by three guys who were more interested in swapping ghost stories than selling their (unpriced) stuff.  I left without buying anything.  Don't make the customer work to give you money.

12. Have a sense of humor about things.

It's going to be a long, hot day.  The more you laugh, the better you'll feel. Mistakes are going to happen.  You may have periods of an hour or more where no one comes.  Play music to keep yourself entertained.  Make sure you have people to talk to.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You'll be doing enough sweating as it is.

13. Plan to eat, drink and use the potty.

Arrange with someone to bring breakfast and coffee at the beginning and lunch around midday.  Keep a supply of drinks on hand.  Spell each other for shade and bathroom breaks.  Plan to take care of yourself and you'll have a lot more staying power.

14. Have clearly identified people to take money.

Having lots of workers is a good thing, but it can create confusion when it comes to the money.  It's better to have only two or three people taking care of that.  Get some cheap carpenter's aprons from the hardware store and give the money handlers each one.  This will make them easier to identify.  They can also circulate and take money on the spot, decreasing waits and lines.  Make sure they do cash drops to a secure location in the house from time to time as well.

15. Take care setting up.

Organization is the key to a good sale.  Grouping like items makes things easier to find.  Keep the valuables together and near someone who will be responsible for watching them.  Spread out, so that it looks like you have more stuff and it looks less cluttered.  Use as much of the yard/driveway as you can.

Your goal should be to get as much of your stuff spread out as possible.  Items left in boxes or piles may be missed by buyers.  Not everyone likes to dig.

16. Set up doesn’t stop. It goes on all day long.

When something sells, put something else in its spot.  Keep rearranging your tables throughout the day so that they look full and fresh.  Condense as the day goes on.  A sale that looks like it's still overflowing with goodies attracts more shoppers than one that looks picked over.

If you didn't have room for everything in the morning, then put the extra stuff out as space opens up.  Condensing and tidying is also a great way to show yourself how much you are selling.  Every little bit of self-encouragement helps on a long, hot day.

If you keep working it, you can have sales and shoppers late into the day.  I love pulling up to sales at 3 or 4 in the afternoon!

17. If it didn’t sell in your antique booth at that price, it’s not going to sell in your front yard for that price.

Do I really need to say any more?  With the rise in popularity of vendor malls, it's becoming more and more common to see failed vendors unloading their stuff at yard sales.  This may be you.  That's okay.  If you've closed the business down, there's no need to keep looking at all the leftover stuff.  Just remember one simple rule:

Your yard sale is not the place to recoup your losses.  Seriously.  It's not.

18. After you’ve assembled your stuff, but before you have your sale, take a good look at everything.

If all you can see after you’ve put everything together is baby/kids stuff, holiday decorations, craft and scrapbooking stuff or clothes. Take a step back and rethink. You might be better off waiting a while or trying some other route to get rid of your stuff.

Everybody sells these items. I mean everybody. And while some folks do go out to sales looking for these things, there are a lot more that don’t. My time and money are limited, even on weekends. Why would I want to stop at your sale if it looks like everyone else’s or seems like it doesn’t have anything I want/need?

For a lot of buyers (me included), these are the items that over power everything else and make it look like there’s nothing of interest at a sale. You want to avoid this at all costs. I don’t have kids or babies, so why am I going to stop at the yard that seems like it’s overflowing with baby stuff? Your goal is to attract as many people as possible into your sale.

If you can see that you have a ton of the above items, plus a lot of other, more interesting stuff, you need to plan. You don’t want the rest of your stuff to be overshadowed and miss sales. Go through the piles of kids stuff, clothes, etc and edit. Pull out only the very best items for your sale. Donate the rest somewhere. You should reduce your mound by at least a third, if not by half.

When you set up, take care that the baby stuff, holiday decorations, etc aren’t spread all over the yard and aren’t front and center dominating everything else. Put them in the back or off to the side. Folks who want them will look for them. Those of us who roll our eyes at them and pass by will be more likely to notice the other stuff.

Consider not putting all of your craft stuff, etc. out at once. Put out some of it and replenish it as it sells. This reduces the impact on the rest of your sale. And many times, people who are interested in this kind of stuff will ask if you have more, at which point you can bring more out.

Also, consider pricing in bulk, which will clear items out more quickly.

19. At the end of the day, if you’ve not sold much or anything, the primary person responsible is you.

I've heard sellers bitching about buyers not buying lots of times.   Usually, it's the sellers who are disorganized, unpriced, with very little to sell.  And whose fault is it that people aren't buying things again?

Seriously, I cannot repeat this enough.  This is a lot of work.  All day long.  If all you want to do it sit in the shade and drink beer, go fishing.   You get out of your sale what you put into it.

20. I don’t care what your little book, or anyone else says, your item is “worth” what I’m willing to pay for it.

If you really, really want book value for your little dimmy-doodle, put it in an auction and pray.  Your front yard is not the place to try and get it.  Seriously.

21. Stick it out!

Too many sales these days only go for two or three hours.  Most only advertise until noon or so.  To me, that's hardly worth the effort of hauling out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn and hauling all that stuff outside.  You've put a lot of work into this thing.  Don't give up until you've wrung every last drop out of it.  The longer you stay open, the more you can sell, especially if you keep cleaning up as the day goes on.

We've never ended a sale before 4:00 pm.   There are always at least two good waves of customers in the afternoon.  At least, that's what we've found.  Start having your half-price between 2:30 and 3:00.  Make outrageous bulk deals at 3:30.  You'll get your stuff gone.  And have fun.

22.  BE CAREFUL!!!

Sadly, you can find thieves, grifters, and con artists everywhere these days, including yard sales.  Be careful and keep your guard up.  This is one reason why having help is so vital.  One person simply cannot keep watch on everything.

Don't let people in your house. Keep the front door shut so they can't see in.  Cover items in the garage that are not for sale.  Better yet, close off the garage entirely.

Don't keep all the money on you or outside.  Do a large bill drop to a safe spot in the house every so often.  Don't give out a lot of personal info to buyers.  Check through clothes and books for cash and receipts before putting them out for sale.

Every so often, you read about someone that got ripped off during a sale or shortly after by one of the "shoppers."  Use your common sense and keep your guard up.  Don't let the assholes out there spoil a good day.

That's it for my words of wisdom, folks!  I make no guarantees about success, of course.  But, I do think that putting some thought and planning into what you are doing will make you a lot more likely to succeed than just throwing some crap out in your yard and calling it a sale.  Give it a try and see what you think.  Maybe I'll meet you on your lawn some Saturday morning!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Rambles

Finally!  A much cooler week!  Thank goodness!  We were even spared the worst of the storms that hit other places after the heat wave pulled out.  I'll take it!  For sure!

I had one of those old ABC Sports moments the other day at one of the booths.  I was rearranging some stuff, when a woman expressed interest in an end table that had been there forever.  I agreed to take a couple of bucks off and she agreed to buy it.  I carried it downstairs for her.


As she was checking out, she decided it was too wobbly and was on the verge of saying that she did not want it.


And the agony of lugging the thing back up stairs.  But, it was pointed out to her that the floor in front of the register is uneven and, when she moved it over, it didn't wobble.  Purchase made!


Had an interesting experience the other day.  I got to Goodwill before it opened.  That's never happened before.  I wasn't sure whether to go on or wait for the store to open.  I ended up deciding to wait, but then had to ponder what my life has become.  I sit and wait for thrift stores to open.  I can't decide whether that's pathetic or kind of cool.

Then, I got in the store and found three Pyrex mixing bowls for 57 cents each, so I stopped all the silly philosophizing and went with the flow.

Actually, that Pyrex was my find of the week.  To begin with, I hardly ever find Pyrex, other than the clear glass stuff.  Then, when I do, it's never mixing bowls.  And, on the rare occasions when I do find the bowls, it's always the solid color bowls and not the patterns.  And then, I never, ever, ever, ever find any for less than a dollar each!!!  

(I know the pattern is pretty common, but my enthusiasm remains undampened.  And, no, I can't explain 57 cents as a price point.  Who knows what they think in the backrooms of Goodwills?)

This post puts me ahead of 2010's post total!  One more to go and then I'll be into new territory!  And I've noticed that my overall total is edging closer and closer to 800. Hmmm.....

Speaking of posts, I'm clearing out my backlog again.  Those "Practical Yard Sale Advice" posts had been sitting around, 75% complete, for ages.  I'm glad to move them off into cyberspace.  Now I'm going to work on getting some more Junking Memories posts completed.  I have several started already, but some are not past the title stage yet.

Yard sales were a mixed bag this weekend.  One of my favorite church sales did not fail to disappoint.  Got a big box of stuff for very little cash.  One of the volunteers kept waiting for me to gather up a few items, then he would come get them and put them into my box at the register.  It was like having a personal attendant!  And also a stalker.

Most of the individual sales we hit didn't measure up, but the neighborhood sale (another one I look forward to each year) was grooving along just fine.  The trunk was full  The backseat was filling up. And, then, it started raining.  And that was the end of that.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful for very much-needed rain, but, man, I only needed a couple more dry hours!

Oh well, Sunday we went to a synagogue sale and everything was fine again.

I'm starting to gather new in the package items from clearance racks and sales and stash them away for my "gift ideas" table during the holidays.  I haven't really seen many holiday items worth picking up otherwise.  I think I'm going to put up a small "Xmas in July" section this week at the Peddlers Mall and put out some leftover Xmas stuff.  It'll be a nice change of pace.  

I'll probably leave it up until the end of the month, then shift to back to school stuff.  That reminds me.  I've got to start bagging and pricing my excess office supplies for back to school.  For some reason I have tons of extra pens, post its, notepads, notebooks, scissors and the like.  Way more than I need or want.  Way more than I ever remember buying. Certainly way more than I could ever actually use.  (I think I might be sleep-hoarding office supplies?)  I might as well get something out of them and declutter a bit.

I'll be pet and house sitting this weekend.  I'll only be gone a couple of days, so I'm not sure if I'll pre-schedule some posts or just not post.  You'll know what I'm planning probably right around the time I do, I suspect.

 Finally, courtesy of the ever wonderful Yard Sale Queen, enjoy the best in YARD SALE MUSIC VIDEOS!!!

¡Hasta lueguito!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Golden Age of Pop Music

Honestly, the Golden Age of Pop Music was the 80's.  How could it not be?  I'm talking about mainstream charting pop songs, not those wonderful obscure independent nuggets that every era of music releases.  I do love to venture off the beaten path, but the last time the path was filled with such goodness and fun and quality and talent was the 80's.

I mean, you had this:

And this:

Don't forget this:

Or this:

You even had this one, before she discovered lip-synching and auto-tune.

Hell, even these guys were big, goofy fun:

And, of course, you cannot forget:

And it wasn't all frothy, poppy fun either:

It was never better.  And it's never been as good since.  Seriously.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Some Practical Advice for People Planning to Hold Yard Sales

There are a lot of sites online with advice and tips for folks planning to have a yard sale, and my intent is not to duplicate them. At least not entirely. What I have here is my take on some standard advice, as an experienced seller and buyer at yard sales, plus some tips that I’ve not seen anyone else give, but always wished they would. If you’d also like to see some other takes on holding yard sales, I’d recommend starting with the ever-amazing Yard Sale Queen, and following links from there.

This is going to be a two-parter.  Look for part two sometime next week.  I got a little wordy on this one I think, in part, because I spend a lot of time going to a lot of yard sales an  d I see a lot of mistakes being made.  I would love for everyone who has a yard sale to be successful so that more people will hold yard sales so that there will be more yard sales for me to attend.Take both of these posts with that in mind.

And, of course, I'd love to see your comments on the issue, as well!

1. Having a yard sale is a lot of work!

Be prepared for that going in. It’s not just a matter of grabbing some stuff and throwing it on the front yard. Doing a yard sale right takes planning and advance work. If you’re not willing to put the effort in, don’t bother. It’s a real annoyance to show up at someone’s sale and have to dig through unsorted boxes of stuff that’s not priced and then try to deal with people who obviously don’t know what they’re doing.

2. Price your stuff!

I’m much more inclined to spend money when I can keep tell how much I’m spending. Also, when I see stuff that’s not priced, I tend to think that the person is going to be asking too much for it. That makes me think twice about everything I see that I am interested in.  I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way.  (Even though there are others who see it differently.)

This doesn’t mean you have to tag every single item, you can make signs for groups of similar things, or even be more creative. I stopped at a sale one time where two of the boys in the family were selling some of their action figures. They had a bunch of small paper sacks, and the deal was everything you could get into a sack for 2 bucks. It was cute and much easier than pricing each toy. Plus, it got the kids involved. (See below.)

Don’t tell yourself you’ll just decide on your prices that day because you don’t know how much people will pay or how much you might really want. A guy lost a sale from Keith a couple of years ago from not having things priced and being too strange and indecisive when Keith tried to bargain with him. No one wants to come into your yard and be confronted with that kind of weirdness. Make up your mind beforehand and put it in writing where everyone can see it.

Besides, once the chaos of the sale gets started, you really don't need five people yelling at you for prices on every jot and tidbit.  Trust me.

3.  If you say "Make me an offer," then be prepared for the offer.

Please don't play the "Make me an Offer" game.  It goes like this:

  • You have a sale and don't price your stuff.
  • Someone comes to your sale and wants to buy something.
  • They ask you how much it is.
  • You don't know and you haven't thought about it, so you try to pass the buck to the seller and say "Make me an offer."
  • They do. 
  • You don't like the offer, so you get offended.  You either snap at them or otherwise get bent out of shape.
  • They put the item down and leave.

If you're going to play the MMAO game, then remember why people come to sales--they're looking for bargains.  If you put the impetus back on them, they're going go right for the lowest possible price.  Getting upset with them for doing it is a little tacky at this point.  They are only doing what you asked them to do.

I had a woman at a sale last year make faces at me every time I made the offer she was asking me to make.  She'd screw her lips up, curl her nose, arch her eyebrows and say "Ewwwwwww!" really loudly.

After the third time, I said:  "Look.  I'm doing what you asked me to do.  If you don't like it, then don't accept the offer, but stop being rude to me."  I left without buying anything.

If you do ask for an offer and get one you don't like, then politely counter-offer.  You don't have to accept the offer just because they made it, but use it as a starting point to work towards a price you can live with.  Yard sales are about bargaining and bartering.

Then, after that person leaves, get busy and price the rest of your stuff, like you should have done in the first place!  Keep playing MMAO all day and you're going to sell less stuff, become increasingly frustrated, and generally waste your time.  Not to mention pissing off everyone who comes in your yard.

3. Start on time!

That means “have the yard all set up and everything out ready to sell at the time you advertised.” It doesn’t mean “start hauling boxes out of the house at the time you advertised.” If you’re not willing to do what it takes to be ready when the first customer arrives, then don’t bother.

Yard sales start early. That means you need to start even earlier. How much earlier depends on how much stuff you have to set up. One year, I spent the night at the house where we hold our sales so that it would be easier for more than one person to be there when we needed to start setting up. We had a TON of stuff that year, but we were ready to go at 8 AM.

Yes, getting up before dawn on a Saturday to set crap up is hard. No one said this was easy. See point one.

4. Early birds are a fact of life.

It doesn’t matter how largely and clearly you post your hours. It doesn’t matter how many times you say “No Early Birds!” in your ad. There are going to be people showing up early, especially if you have lots of unique or specialty items for sale (see below). Just expect them and decide in advance how you want to deal with them.

There’s no hard and fast rule that I know of for doing this. Some factors to consider:

  • Early birds do have money, which you want
  • They’re also annoying and time-consuming, which you don’t want.
  • It’s not fair to those who stick to the posted times to sell all the good stuff early.
  • Who said yard sales have to be fair?
  • Early birds are often dealers looking to beat out the competition.
  • It is illegal to shoot them, no matter how much you may want to.
  • How early are they? There’s a big difference between someone showing up two hours early and fifteen minutes early.
  • How much set up do you still have to do? If you’ve still got tons to do, you really don’t have the time to deal with someone getting in your way to look at things.
If you refuse to sell to them, they may leave, but you also lose a guaranteed sale.  If someone is really getting in the way, you do have the right to refuse to sell to them early and ask them to leave.  You just need to be firm, but polite.

You might consider appointing one person on your set up crew to be on "Early Bird Patrol."  Their job would be to deal with the EB's, herd them away, watch them to make sure they don't swipe anything, etc.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure everyone at the sale knows about it and that everyone acts consistently.

4. Be honest!

Your best friend bringing over two items to sell doesn’t turn your sale into a “multi-family” sale. Ten books is not a “huge amount.” Four boxes on your front lawn is not a “big” sale.

Sure, you want to have lots of people come to your sale. But if you have to resort to blatantly overstating the truth to get them to come, you’re better off donating the stuff somewhere for the tax deduction.

Honestly, when we pull up to a place that’s advertised with all kinds of adjectives implying that the sale is going to be quite large and quite spectacular only to find that it’s nothing but piddly, we don’t even stop.

5. Point out your specialties

Comic books. CD’s. Books. Religious items. Eclectic. Unique. Words like this get my attention and will just about guarantee I’ll stop by your sale. If you have interesting or different things, play them up in your advertising. If you have things you know others collect, mention them.

I made $300 one year selling comics one year because I mentioned them in the ad. I tend to sell out of all my comics and graphic novels every year because I mention them. Selling with our friend Sharron was a great experience because she always put out fun stuff from her eBay and flea market business. She sold interesting items, so we had interesting items to advertise.

There's an annual multi-family sale near us that I never miss.  Two of the participants are antique dealers and they always have good stuff from their businesses that they need to clear out, so it's cheap.

But again, be honest. A listing that said “tons of Sailor Moon stuff” caught my eye once and turned a sale into our first stop, only to find a handful of figurines (not even a complete set) and a lunch box.

4. Have plenty of start up change.

People are going to come to your sale right off the bat and need change. You need to have it. It’s just common sense. Stop by the bank and get plenty of quarters and ones and you’ll be good to go. If you’re not ready for your first three people to hand you twenties for five dollars or less in merchandise, then you’re not ready. And I can almost guarantee you that your first customer, fresh from the ATM, will have a twenty.

I stopped at a house in a neighborhood sale once and found a Bybee pitcher and a book I wanted.  Total was $3.50.  I was down to twenties at that point, since my small bill reserve had run out.  The seller looked at the bill and said "I couldn't possibly change that." And this was the middle of the morning! I convinced her to hold the items while I shopped at a neighbor's house to get change.  If I hadn't really wanted the pitcher, I wouldn't have done it and just left the sale.

It's your responsibility to be prepared.

5. You’re not in this to make money.

I’ll repeat: You’re not in this to make money. If you think you are, stop now. You’re more than likely going to be disappointed with your sale and miserable all day long.

The only reason to have a yard sale is to get rid of stuff that you don’t need or use anymore. Your goal is a clean closet or a clutter-free house, not tons and tons of cash.

That said, you can make money having a yard sale, but that should be your secondary goal, not your primary. When making money is your guiding reason, you’re more likely to price things too high, be insulted when people try to bargain, and get hung up on what stuff is “worth” to actually make any! These are the kinds of things that turn yard sale buyers off faster than anything.

We always have decent return on our yard sales, but we do it by acting in the exact opposite way. We love to bargain! We won’t accept every price, but we’ll entertain offers and make reasonable counter-offers. We also give people price breaks on stuff when they buy a lot.

We also concentrate really hard on having interesting stuff that’s priced well, organized well, ready to go on time, nicely set up and staffed by friendly people who are obviously having fun. In other words, we follow the advice outlined here. And we have several regular customers as a result.

6. Allow folks to browse in peace.

I’m not one for small talk, and I’m easily irritated by sellers who wander around and tell me the story of every item I touch. Honestly, if I need to know something, I’ll ask. But it’s early in the morning on a weekend, and I’m standing in your yard looking at your junk, waiting for my coffee to kick in. I need some space. Seriously, it’s not you, it’s me.

Later in the day, I'll be more friendly, but I still like my space.  Acknowledge my presence and then let me do my thing.  I might just spend lots of money with you if you do.

7. I don’t care if it’s never been out of the box, it’s still used!

Your front yard is not a store. You are not “retailing” when you have your yard sale, but “re-selling.” People don’t drag themselves out before the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to pay the same price for something they would pay at Target. Never used? Never worn? Never out of the box? Your yard sale is not the place to recoup your losses. It’s the place you get rid of stuff you shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

8. People are going to offer you lower prices. Get used to it.

It doesn’t matter if you saw one sell on eBay for three times what you’ve got it marked for. It doesn’t matter if it was an heirloom from your great aunt Tilly. It doesn’t matter if Ghandi used it. Or if it’s hardly been used by anyone. If I think it’s priced too high (meaning more than I want to pay for it), I’m going to make a lower offer. Don’t take it personally.

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve seen sellers react like someone just insulted their mother, their children, their dog, the flag and the Bible when offered a few dollars less than the price on an item.

And for god’s sake, don’t automatically assume someone is trying to rip you off if they do offer you a lower price. There are a good many reasons why I as a buyer might want to bargain with you. For starters, I know exactly how much money I have budgeted for this little adventure and you don’t. I’m not going to break the bank all at one stop. I know how much I have and how many other stops I’m planning on making. That as much as anything else determines how much I’m willing to pay for stuff.

Everyone has their own limits and standards about what they’ll pay. I’ll rarely pay more than a buck for a CD or a hardcover book, unless it’s something I consider very special. It’s just one of my little quirks.

And sometimes, I’ll try to bargain just for the hell of it. There’s a place for general principle in all of this too. It’s a yard sale. There’s supposed to be some bargaining going on.

But, get this, I’m never rude when I make my offers and I don’t appreciate being snapped at because I had the temerity to try and barter. And there have been plenty of times that my offer has been rejected, but I’ve accepted a reasonable counter offer or gone ahead and paid full price.

And for god’s sake, if you spend all your time bellowing loudly that you’re willing to bargain and are very glad to accept and/or consider offers, don’t snap at me if I decide to take you at your word. A woman did that with me during the Highway 60 sale a couple of years ago, and we were back in the car and on the road before she even got finished with her little tirade about how she “knew” how much that CD I offered her a dollar for was worth.

And, yes, I'm also thinking about what price I might be able to re-sell something for when I make an offer.  So?

9. Don’t do it alone!

I cannot repeat enough that this is a lot of work. For one of our sales, we’d have me, Keith, Sharron, her daughter, her mother, her son, a couple of her friends, and her neighbor involved. Everyone doesn’t show up at once, but it’s good to have fresh blood popping in during the day. It gives everyone a chance to rest a bit. Plus many hands make light work. And it never hurts to have extra eyes watching the merchandise.

10. Involve the whole family.

Let the kids play a part by selling canned drinks or cookies.  If you let them keep the money they make, they'll have good incentive to stay involved.  It's hard to resist a can of Coke from a cute little kid on a burning hot day.  And I've seen some of the kids really get into the selling.

Older kids can get involved by selling their old stuff.  I've seen lots of little wheeler dealers working hard and raking in the cash getting rid of old toys.  It's never too early to start learning good work habits or good money habits.

Unfortunately, it's usually not the best idea for the dog to be one of the family members involved, unless you know absolutely for sure that there's no chance of biting or barking.  Fluffy may be the sweetest, kindest thing on four, but there's always going to be someone who is afraid of her.  Remember, it's also kind of hard for Fluffy to understand why all of these strange people are coming into her yard.

Look for the rest of my tips in the middle of next week!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Practical Advice for Folks Planning to Go Yard Saling

Summer is in full swing and that means yard sales are in full swing, too. There are lots of sites with good advice for having yard sales, but only a few with advice for going to them.  Let me rectify that a bit with my own take on the subject.

1. This is supposed to be fun.

It doesn't matter why you're out there.  Whether you're looking for cheap goods or stuff to re-sell, going to yard sales is supposed to be fun!  Even on those relentless hot days when the bargains elude you, you have to take time to enjoy yourself at least a little bit. Talk to the cute babies.  Look at the pretty flowers in the yards.  Play with the friendly dogs.  Buy a soda from the kids.  Laugh. If it's not fun, then why do it?  If it stresses you out, why do it?  If you don't enjoy it, why do it?

2. Take someone with you.

Batman has Robin.  The Lone Ranger has Tonto.  GI Joe has...well...other GI Joes.  So, too, every yard saler should have a partner.  To begin with, just having someone to talk with about the crazy seller you just left with the crappy over-priced stuff can keep you from blowing vital gaskets.  And then when you find the rare whatzit that you've been hunting for years, you have someone to celebrate with.

And then there are the practical aspects:  One to drive and one to navigate.  One to spot and one to drive.  One to assess sale potential and one to get you where you're going.  It's so much easier in pairs.  Plus, you've got each other's backs.  Two pairs of eyes searching for those sought after whatzits is better than one.  Just make sure your partner is as into it as you are.

3. Leave the kids at home.

You'll be glad you did.  I cannot count the times I've seen hot, bored kids dragging along behind a mom or dad out saling,  They're tired.  They're cranky.  They're ready to go home.  And usually everyone around them is ready for them to go home too.  Kids just don't get it.  Leave them behind, and everyone, yourself included, will be glad you did.

4. Be open to the possibilities.

I know time is tight on a Saturday morning and the temptation is to stick with the sure things--listings that match your interests or score-rich parts of town.  But, leave a little room for a few sales that may not have obvious potential right off the bat.  They might surprise you.

Last year, we headed into a subdivision following signs that promised "The World's Greatest Yard Sale!"  When we got to the two piddly tables in a driveway, I said "Yeah, right."  But I walked away with a stack of graphic novels that I paid 25 cents each for.  Maybe not quite the "World's Greatest" but certainly worth the stop, despite the meager first appearances.

5. Make offers, but be respectful.

You might think you’re offering a reasonable amount, but no one has to accept it.  Don't get offended if they don't, and listen to what they're saying.  You might get a counter-offer that is acceptable to you.  Read more about the art of negotiating here and here.

6. Change out your large bills before starting.

All sales should be well-stocked with change, but you would be surprised how many aren't.  You can get around this hurdle by being well-prepared yourself.  I try to spend the day or evening before swapping out my big bills for ones.

7. Start early. Take breaks. Eat. Potty.  Keep your fluid intake up.

Taking care of yourself only enhances your saling experience and gives you energy for the long haul.  Remember, you could be going through a large neighborhood sale for hours on end.  It's inevitable that the weather will be hot and muggy.  It's summer after all.  Be prepared with water, sun screen, and a hat.  Wear good walking shoes, too.  Yard saling is an endurance sport!

8. Your life doesn’t depend on buying someone else’s cheap stuff.

Remember Tip #1.  If you find that you're getting a bit too intense over things, maybe it's time to take a break.  It's only stuff.  There will be plenty more stuff at the next stop.  Seriously.

9. If you’re a dealer, don’t act like a jerk.

Please.  Seriously.  Stop giving all of us a bad name with your grubby, grabby antics.  There's no call for it.  Ever.  I know reselling is a hard row to hoe.  That doesn't give you an excuse to be rude, pushy, grabby, or to lie and try to cheat someone.  If you think it does, well, all I can say is I feel sorry for you.  Oh, and go to Hell.

10. If you’re not a dealer, don’t act like a jerk.

All of that goes for you if you're not a reseller, as well.  Well, maybe except for the "go to hell" part.  Still, you're not making yourself any friends or doing yourself any favors.  So chill!  okay?  Whatever happened to common decency?

11. Of course you have the right to think whatever you want about someone’s prices, selection, etc, but you do not have to be rude about it.

Make your comments to your partner once you get back in the car.  Trying to insult or badger a seller is not going to make them come down on anything.  Why on earth would you think that it would?  Stop raining on everyone else's parade.

12. Sometimes people make mistakes. Be reasonable about it.

Something will get put out that's not supposed to be sold.  Or something will be mismarked.  Or someone will not give you enough change.  Or you'll get goofy and try to buy something that's not for sale. 

One time, I tried to buy a seller's cup of morning coffee.  I couldn't figure out why coffee kept spilling out of the cup when I looked at it.  Finally, she said "Uhm, that's my coffee..."  Another time I tried to buy a lady's gardening tools that she accidentally left outside.  Her son was taking my money when she softly said "I really wasn't wanting to sell those."  Stuff like that happens.  I know it can be frustrating, but there's really nothing you can do about it.  Laugh about it and go on. 

13. Look for themes.

A really fun way to pass the day is to see if there are any recurring themes--items that seem to keep popping up over and over throughout the day.  Or maybe it's a certain kind of dog or house every seller seems to have.  Or maybe everyone that day seems to have the same bad taste in music or books or clothes.  Make a game of it.  Look for the oddball items.  have fun.

14. Celebrate your super finds.

Yard saling is the ultimate treasure hunt.  When you strike gold, be sure to holler!  Debrief with your partner and identify your "finds of the day."  This is best done over Mexican food, I have found.  Make a list of the specific items you are looking for and cross them off when you find them. Share your finds on your blog or in appropriate online forums.  Call your mother and tell her. Little things like this can keep the fun alive on those hot, hot days.

15.  Wrap your goodies.

Some sellers will wrap up stuff, but not all will, and not all will do a good job of it.  Keep a stash of paper and a couple of boxes on the car, so you can protect and preserve the goodies you find.  Remember to wrap more than just the obvious breakable items.

16.  Look for bang for your buck.

Keep track of which parts of town have the best sales.  Know what neighborhoods to look for sales in.  That will make each stop more useful and productive for you.  Also, look for citywide, neighborhood wide, and block sales with lots of homes in one vicinity participating.  This will minimize your travel time.  And check out large sales like church or school sales or other fundraising sales.  Any place where there is a lot of loot under one roof increases your chance of making a find.

Next time, I'm going to leap into the "advice for holding a yard sale" pool!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Junkin' Memories: Family Ties

Finally, the long-awaited first segment in my Junkin' Memories series!

In some ways, it's my family's fault that I am a junker.  They weren't really junkers, but I gathered a lot of the ingredients that make a good junker from them.  And, while they didn't exactly encourage me to grow up and become a vendor in an indoor flea market set-up, they certainly provided me with more than enough inspiration.

To begin with, I was very close with both my grandparents and great-grandparents as a kid, so I saw and heard a lot about the ways things used to be done.  My grandmother would open up the attic sometimes and I would sit up there and look through the boxes of old stuff.  I remember reading some of the comics and kids' books that belong to my mother and uncles.  When I was taking Algebra in middle school, my grandmother brought down her Algebra textbook to show me.

One of the real treasures at my grandparents' house was the box of family photos that was kept in a closet in the bathroom.   Why the bathroom?  I have no idea, but that's where they were.  Every so often, the box would come out and we would look through them and listen to my mom and grandparents name off the people and share stories.  I've got a lot of those photos now.  When I look at them, I wish I had listened closer and tried to remember more.

My mom was the one who really taught me to respect what the older generations had to give, especially the stories.  A lot of the family mementos that are now in my possession came down through her.  She taught me to love and value things with history in them and save them to pass on.  When we bought our house, she gave me a few of the old Christmas decorations that used to be hers when she was a kid.  And every year after that, I got some kind of family item as a present:  an old spoon from one of my father's mess kits, two settings of my grandmother's china, my grandmother's tablecloth.

Interestingly enough, it was also my mother who traumatized me in a way by getting rid of a lot of my childhood stuff when I was younger.  As an Army family, we moved a lot and it seems like a lot of the stuff that we got rid of each move was mine and my brother's!  I know I rebuilt my comic book collection at least three times.  (Although, to her credit, when I went to college, she held on to the whole thing until I had a place of my own to put it in.  And that was through three or four more moves.)   The worst one, and one that she said she later regretted, was getting rid of Beartrack, my child hood Teddy.  I had loved all the fuzz and both eyes off him and my grandmother recovered him with washcloths and gave him new button eyes.  He didn't make it back from Germany.  Mom said I was going on fourth grade and too old for a Teddy Bear, so out he went.

I think somehow both sides of my mother imprinted on me and affect me as a junker.  I know the impact things can have on people and I also understand people who search and search for that lost childhood treasure.  My mother was also the one who introduced me to the local flea market.  (More on that in another post.)

It was my dad, however, who broadened my junking horizons without realizing it.  I had a really strained relationship with him after my parents split.  He had been stationed away from the family the last three years of his time in the Army, so when he retired and came home, he was a virtual stranger.  My folks divorced soon after, and he didn't handle it well.  Frankly, neither did I.  I was already 15 at the time, living in small town Kentucky, and feeling the urges of same-sex attraction beginning and unable to talk to anyone about it.  In short, I was isolated and confused.  My parents' divorce isolated me from my church group, which was my primary peer support at that time.  My own feelings cut me off from myself.  And I pretty much took it out on my dad.

Visiting Dad became about shopping.  He would take me anywhere and buy me just about anything in order to spend time with me and maybe get me to open up.  And I took advantage of that.  Yes, I was a brat.  Totally.  I didn't know how else to be.  I was young and hurting and totally unable to express it.  So on one visit, he said a fateful sentence to me, one that was to open me up to a whole avenue of shopping heretofore unknown to me:  thrifting!   "Ever been to the DAV?" he asked.  I'd never even heard of it.  And, wham!  My life changed!

Old books!  Old comics!  Dishes! Clothes! Furniture!  Strange items!  You could find it all in a thrift.  My wardrobe and library grew.  And my love for thrifting has never gone away.  It's amazing what a dollar or two will get you.

Perhaps the biggest family influence on me these days is my Uncle Mike.  He's Mom's youngest brother and was a teenager when I was born, so we share a lot of the same memories about things.  He's lived across the river in Indiana for years, but we didn't see each other much.  Until Mom got sick, that is.  One of the positive things to come out of her illness and death was reconnecting with Mike.  Mom had always intended for us to be close.  I'm named after him.  (My first name is Michael, if you did not know.)

He's been a serious junker for several years--eBay, live auctions, booths, and flea markets.  He's kind of my idol in that regard.  I'd love to be able to make a go of it like he's doing.  We get together and go junking at least once a week, and I learn so much about stuff from him.  He gives me the unvarnishd truth, rather than the BS you get from a lot of junkers.  He knows what I like to sell and keeps an eye out for stuff for me.  I do the same for him.  It's a lot of fun and I look forward to spending time with him.

I didn't start my booth because of him.  We weren't really spending time together then.  I did my first one on a lark.  Still, it was kind of a thrill when Mom told me he had checked my space out and thought I was doing okay there.  When the place he was in closed down, he moved over to the mall where I am.

Junking certainly isn't a family tradition, by any means.  My mother never even got to see either of my booth spaces.  But a whole bunch of other little influences and incidents added up to steer me on to the junking path, for sure.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Monday Rambles

Hope everyone had a safe holiday and was able to stay relatively cool and collected.  I'm guessing there were not a lot of fireworks shows out there due to the weather.  I was kind of worried that folks in the neighborhood were going to burn everything down with the stuff they went across the river to buy.

I'm well into the triple digits with posts, and by the end of next week, I should be cruising to totals unseen on this blog.  Indeed, every post shall become the new record!  (Sometimes, I think reading all of those Marvel comics as a kid really heightened my flair for the over-dramatic.)

We beat the heat by heading to the woods for the weekend.  Between the trees, the breeze and a couple of battery powered fans, we made out okay.  It was very, very nice and relaxing.  I'm not nearly as heavily into camping as Keith is, but a getaway every now and then is okay with me.

Last Friday would have been Mom's 71st birthday.  Coincidentally, earlier in the week, I was working in our shed and found yet more boxes of her stuff that apparently we had overlooked when my brother was here last.  Sigh!

We made the hour and a half trip down to put flowers on her grave for her birthday.  I wish I lived closer, so we could do it more often, but then we get there and I never really know what to do with myself.  It's kind of awkward.  I bought two small arrangements and put one on Mom's grave and the other on my grandmother's.  I picked up a small American flag for Dad's grave.

While we were out in the country, we did hit a couple of yard sales.  I got a nice stash of cobalt blue glass and some religious articles.  I also went to a vendor mall near the camp site we stayed at.  There weren't too many sales around this area over the weekend.  I think between the heat and the holiday, it was just a slow one.  I did manage to stop at a few of them on my way in, though.

I had an awesome sales spike at the booths from the fourth on.  One was consistently strong from the holiday on, the other was less so, but there were some nice days at both.  Got some major work planned at both sites this week.  Going to try to remember to get some pics.

The beat, it does go on.  Eh?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

And then there was the time Emmylou Harris sang with Patty Loveless at the Grand Ole Opry Anniversary Celebration

I love hearing Emmylou talk about her philosophy on music, during a special about the Grand Ole Opry!  She never has easily fit into any one musical mold.  There's too much talent there and she's far too thoughtful to be easily pigeon-holed like that.

I was a little surprised, though, that Patty Loveless' take on the song was so superficial.

Friday, July 06, 2012

And then there was the time Emmylou Harris sang with Linda Ronstadt and Ricky Skaggs while Helen Carter played autoharp

One of my favorite ELH tunes off of one of my favorite ELH albums, the sublime Roses in the Snow.  If you're looking to start listening to Emmylou and exploring her output, I can't think of a better place to start.  And, of course, any time Ms. Harris and Ms. Ronstadt sing together, magic happens.

Didn't Emmylou make a very cute pregnant woman?

Today would have been my mother's birthday.  This one's for her.  I learned to love the music of both those ladies by listening to Mom's albums.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Nutrition Education Across the Ages

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bunch of stuff from a former science teacher.  It was some of the coolest stashes I've ever bought at a yard sale.  There were prisms, magnets of all sizes and shapes, experiment guides, tuning forks, and all kinds of other stuff.  There was also a big bag of nutrition information stuff, which I bought because I liked the graphics.  I love vintage graphics and printing!

Basically, the bag contained a huge bunch of pictures of various food items, with nutrition information on the back.  There was also one instruction booklet.  When I go to looking through everything, I realized that there were actually two sets of the pictures.  One was copyrighted 1974 by the National Dairy Board on the back of each pic.  The booklet went with this set, as well.  The other set had no production or copyright info on it, but I believe that it was probably produced by the NDB as well, since they were similar to the others.  While it wasn't dated, I do believe that is was good deal older than the other set.  My guess is mid to late 50's, maybe early 60's.

I'm basing that on the artwork itself, plus some of the food featured.  Everything is depicted on a plate that looks suspiciously like Fiestaware!  What fun!  (Apologies for the blurry pics.  I didn't sit down to edit these until several days after I took them, and the sets were already at the booths by that time.)

Some of the items seem, well, a little old-fashioned, too.  Does anyone eat creamed onions anymore?  Did anyone ever eat creamed onions?  Why would anyone eat creamed onions?  But, seriously, take a look at some of the other featured dishes.

Can't you just see June Cleaver whipping these up for Ward and the boys?

In addition, practically everything in the older set is a dish that would be made at home, or at the very least in a cafeteria setting.  No fast food. No convenience food.  Very little junk food.  I know this pic is very blurry, but it indicates the serving size for "French Fried Potatoes" is 6 pieces!  Of course, those are huge, thick-cut fries on that there plate, but still!  Only six!  C'mon June!

In contrast, the more "modern" set shows very few dishes at all.  All the food just kind of floats there.  That brown smear in the bottom is peanut butter, something that did not appear at all in the other set.

About the only items for serving food in the newer set are glasses for the milk, and those are slightly more modern in design than the other one.  In this pic, the 70's glass is on the left and the older one on the right.

Also in the 70's set, the old-fashioned dishes are gone and have been replaced by fast food, convenience items, and junk food. You could probably trace the beginning of the US obesity problem to this era.  Except for the fries, none of the items below had a counter-part in the older series.  And, you'll note that the serving size for the fries is larger, even if the fries themselves are smaller.

One of the most interesting contrasts I found in the two sets was in the presentation of condiments.  On the left you have the 70's set, which looks like something straight out of McDonalds. On the right is the older set, which has a little more of a restaurant feel to it.

And finally, to close out, from the older set comes a look at vintage dairy products.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

June Sales Report

Oh, junking! Oh junking!
Why must you confound me so
with good months that turn bad
upon a whim?

And trends most unforeseeable?
With downturns disagreeable?
And futures that seem bright
but turn so dim?

 Tune in next week for more "Overwrought Junking Poetry Corner" right here on Eddie-torial Comments!

Okay, getting serious, now.  I haven't done a sales break down in a while, largely because I've been forgetting to do them, but also because there doesn't seem to be a point to do one in a month where I have to pay rent.  That statement alone seems to sum things up.

I spent some time talking with the manager at the Peddlers Mall a while back.  May and June are always slower months, due to a lot of reasons, ranging from the Kentucky Derby to warmer weather.  And that held true this year for the mall, except that I had a good May.  A real good May.  It had not occurred to me that a vendor could have a strong month, even if the rest of the mall was having a slow one, but it happens.  And it happened to me.

I thought June was turning out that way for me, too.     Typically, the first half of June is slow, but when the real heat of summer starts kicking in, folks start turning back to the indoor settings.  And, right around that time, as sales started picking up in the whole store, mine started slowing down!!!

Seriously, I had a bad run from about the 20th, where my daily sales stayed stuck under 10 bucks.  Ack!  Sometimes being opposite of the trend is a good thing, sometime it's not such a good thing.  I'm doing what I can to counteract that.  I spent some time on a couple of different visits rearranging and shaking things up.  I've got a couple more things to do, so we'll see if that has an effect or not for July.  Hope so.

On the other front, June was the first month at YesterNook where I had sales every day, except for one.  That means I am very close to meeting my goal for the space as far as daily sales go.  Now, I need to start working on getting those daily sales to the level I want them.

Having a better booth space on the second floor has helped me.  People can get into it and see what I've got for sale.  I'm also starting to emphasize the things I know best:  books, comics, pop culture stuff, and toys.  I intend to build on this.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to focus on getting rid of a few pieces that have been there too long.  I'm doing a Fourth of July sale to encourage that.  I'm also going to concentrate on getting more small furniture in the spot. I haven't worked that as hard as I should have recently.

It's a continual learning process.  Continual.  Every time I think I've got it down, then I find out there's something else I don't know.  Tune in next month and we'll see what else I've had to learn!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Monday Rambles

Spoke too soon, I did.  No sooner had I posted about my sales streak at YesterNook last week, than it came to an end that very day.  Ah, well!  Them's the breaks, I guess.  And it was the longest sales run I've had there, so I'll take it and be grateful.

Monday actually ended up being the first (and hopefully last) time I had no sales at either venue!  Discovered I don't really like that felling.  Not one little bit.  No siree!

I entered the triple digits in my post totals for 2012 last week.  That record will be mine!  This I swear!

THOUGHT/REQUEST:  Can we please maybe try to have Summer without melting any more than we already have????  We're in the midst of 100+ degree heat (like lots of you are right now) and it's flat out killing us!  Poor, little, covered-in-black-fur Kosh is miserable!

The heat impacts the booths, too, in some obvious and not-so-obvious ways.  Obviously, in this heat fewer people want to get out and shop and fewer sellers want to get out and hunt junk, but that's kind of obvious.  I got hit with some things I didn't expect the other day though, when some candles I had in tubs of merchandise melted in the car!  And I'm not talking about "getting a little soft" melting, either.  I'm talking about "turned into a pool of wax" melting!

On booth stock days, I load the car in the morning and then Keith takes it to work.  I go do my own things and then bus to the mall.  I spend the afternoon tidying and rearranging the spaces and Keith runs the tubs of stuff by when he gets off work.  I can then put things out pretty quickly, since I've spent the day making space for them.

So, anyway, I was loading the car the other day, when I saw a candle in the top of the box.  Thinking the the heat would not be good for it, I placed it inside a large bowl, in case it melted.  Which it did, filling the bowl with a pool of wax.

Now, you're probably asking why I just didn't take the candle out and take it to the booth another time?  Well, because I'm an idiot, that's why!!!  I can't explain the dumb things I do.  I just do them!

Like most of the rest of the country, I was surprised by the Supreme Court decision on the Health Care law last week.  Unlike many, though, I was pleasantly surprised.  There is so much in that law that is very, very good that it would have been a tragedy had it been overturned.  I will admit that I don't think it goes far enough, but it's a step in the right direction.

Naive fool that I am, I honestly entertained for the briefest of moments the thought that, because Roberts was in effect the swing vote on this decision, maybe (just maybe) we might start to see a lessening of this poisonous political polarization that is tearing the country apart.  And then, I got smacked back to reality.  Sigh.  For all the fuss these damn Tea Partiers make about the constitution, they sure don't seem to know what it says.

However, perhaps the biggest surprise for Keith and I personally was finding this on the front page of the CNN web page the day before:

 That sweet little lady is Keith's aunt!  And, yes, she really is as sweet as she appears to be.  We've not yet been able to fond out how CNN got the pic.  Even more awesome than seeing her on CNN was seeing her share the front page with the Queen:

Screencaps from

 Finally, a sad note.  Susanna Clark passed away last week.  For those who don't know, she was the wife of legendary singer/songwriter Guy Clark and a fine songwriter in her own right.  She co-wrote one of Emmylou Harris' most lovely songs:

That song comes from one of my favorite Emmylou albums, Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.  The album title comes from the line in the song.  So many good lines in that song.  Susanna Clark also painted the image on the cover of the album:

Her death has got me to thinking about one of her husband's most beautiful songs, "Magnolia Wind," in which a man sings about living without his sweetheart. This version features John Prine and Emmylou and comes from a recent tribute album to Clark.  That's Guy and Susanna on the cover.

Sadly, he's living that song now.

It's gonna be a busy, weird, hot week.  I'm going camping for part of it, plus there's the holiday.  Not sure what posting will be like, but I'll try.  Take care and stay cool!