Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Post: All I Could Take in the First Half Hour

by Joann Storck

The cars are already pulling up and people are wandering up the driveway. We haven’t even put our stuff out! Doesn’t anybody care that we don’t open til 8:00??

I was answering a woman’s question about how you fold up a Pack and Play when my eyes fell on the old gentleman gingerly walking up the driveway with his dutiful, round wife following closely behind him.  His “kind” always came to Yard Sales, but not because they wanted to find a bargain to buy, but rather an audience for their worn-out humor. 

The woman I was helping with the barely-used 21st century model of a good old playpen from my day was turning her head this way and that as she considered making the purchase.  “Will you take less?” she asked me as I knew she would.  “Suuurrrre,” I answered with a hint of sarcasm in my voice.  After all, if I had only been asking for 50 cents, someone would have asked if they could have it for $0.49  

Every single person has asked “Will you take less?” Maybe, if Hell froze over, and the Mississippi ran backwards, we would have another Yard Sale and at that fingernails-on-blackboard event we could put price tags on everything that said  “WHAT I WANT” and under it “THE ‘LESS’ PRICE THAT I WILL TAKE”.  Not a bad idea!

A skeleton of a woman, dripping cheap jewelry, wearing skin-tight jeans and two tank tops with her black bra straps hanging out, stopped to ask me if we had any jewelry.  Her over-tanned skin was like a leather purse.  Whether fake or wadded up bobby socks, her boobs stuck out of her size 0 body like huge water balloons.  It was windy out, so maybe she wore them to stay grounded?  She brushed back the bangs of her bad, ginger-colored wig and I saw that she wore “diamond” rings on every finger.  My friend had put good, expensive jewelry in the yard sale and I was fairly sure this was not the right buyer for her things, but the skeleton tried them all on anyway. I just knew she was going to ask, “Will you take less?” No. I won’t.

The old gentleman I had seen earlier, walking at a snail’s pace, was now in front of us.  He appeared to be bewildered, or mute, or confused about where he was and who we were.  My friend asked him, “Is there something we can help you find?”  He steadied himself in his thick-soled shoes and answered, “Yes.  Find me a blonde 49-year old with 19-year old legs!” he chewed the words like a cud.  “You can keep her!” he swung his flabby arm to indicate his long-suffering (my supposition) wife who was standing behind him.  He waited for appreciative laughter, and against my will I chuckled for him so he would move on, if he could.  His wife shook her head of white curls as if to say, “Isn’t he something?”  Yes.  He WAS something:  One of the leftovers from an era where women were put down and subservient to self-righteous men. 

The old guy wasn’t moving from his spot -- his stage, as it were -- so I got up and made myself available for those wanting to know the least I would take.  Funny.  A half hour in and these customers had been the most I could take.  

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