My ad read simply: “Garage Sale. Saturday 9-5. Nice assortment of jelly glasses, old magazines, etc.” Actually, I was fibbing about the etc., but I thought I’d find some odds and ends to sell and it gave the ad a certain air of mystery and intrigue.
I was up late Friday night boxing jelly glasses and leafing through the 200 magazines I’d bought at garage sales and never got around to reading.
Pounding on my front door woke me from a sound sleep Saturday morning. A rather large lady was standing on my stoop. “Are you, or are you not having a garage sale, Mister?” she demanded.
“Yes, ma’am, but it starts at nine and it’s only…..My goodness, it’s only 5:30, not even dawn!”
“Your ad didn’t say ‘No early birds” she growled. “Where are the jelly glasses?” I showed her the six full cartons. (My kids and I are great Smuckers fans) She studied them for almost a minute and then barked, “Fifteen!”
“Fifteen what?” I asked, still groggy and having trouble concentrating.
“Okay,” she shouted (as neighbors’ lights began coming on.) “Twenty! And that’s my last offer, Sonny. Tell you what, though, I’ll make it twenty-five if you throw in that big pile of magazines. Deal?”
“It is if you’ll put me down,” I said. Her cigar smoke was beginning to make me nauseous.
I thought I’d done rather well selling out so early and went back to bed feeling smug. My wife will be proud of me when she returns from her mother’s where she and the kids had slept over.
At 5:45 a.m. there was another battering of the front door. “Where are the jelly glasses and magazines?” a middle aged couple demanded.
“I’m sorry, I’m sold out.”
“What about the et ceteras?” the man asked, removing his crash helmet.
“We collect et ceteras,” his little wife said.
“Well,”I began to explain, “I really don’t….”
The wife looked into the foyer. “That’s a cute little side table,” she said.
“We’ll give you fifty bucks for it,” the man said. It was a statement, not an offer. I shoved the bills into my pajama pocket and went back to bed, hoping my wife would understand later about our old wobbly table.
As the morning progressed I realized that people who go through the travel and trouble of responding to an ad, don’t like to hear they’ve wasted their time.
I agreed to an irresistable offer for our ancient sofa. My lawn chairs and potted plants went next, then my garden hose and sprinkler. By setting an artificially exhorbitant price and refusing to budge, I saved our cat.
I locked the kids’ room first and later bolted the front and back doors and hid in the basement. But someone dug up a small forsythia in the front garden and left thirty dollars and a note in the mailbox.
“It isn’t as bad as it looks,” I told my wife when she returned, looking stunned as she stared into the almost empty living room. “Have a sip of my Chablis, Dear. You’ll feel better. Sorry about the chipped cup. They bought most of our stemware and china and paid top dollar for everything. We can replace it all with new stuff and have a lot left over.”
“Please, not the jelly glasses,” she pleaded. “Promise me you won’t go out next Saturday and start buying jelly glasses and magazines . It’s so good to have the spare room available again.”
” I promise, Sweetheart,” I said, happy to see she was perking up and smiling.
“Okay then, that’s settled,” she said. “Now let’s get you to bed. It looks like you’ve had a long, hard day.”
“Oh, Sweetheart, about the bed……”