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Meredith Leigh Knight Columnist

Published Friday, May 11, 2012

Don't barter with me

I recently held a yard sale, against my will.

As much as I enjoy shopping at them, I loathe having them. Is there anything worse than waking up to a driveway full of people meticulously inspecting your belongings and then asking, “Will you take less for this?”

This happened on a recent Saturday morning.

My response?

“But I’m only asking 50 cents.”

Their response? They threw down the item and gave me a snobby look.

I wanted to yell, “I’m throwing these away as soon as it hits noon!”

Instead, I yelled, “Here just take it. It’s free.”

Have you ever tried giving things away at yard sales? It’s impossible.

“What’s wrong with it?” the lady asked.

“Nothing. I just don’t want it. It still has the tags. Look!” I said thrusting the item under her nose.

She sniffed and inspected the item, which happened to be a perfectly decent purse. She looked inside each section, turned it inside out, and then held it at arm’s length as if it were contaminated.

“Why are you giving it away?” she asked suspiciously.

“It was a gift. OK, if it makes you feel better, then I’ll take 25 cents for it. It’s never been used.”

The lady looked at her husband and nodded her head toward me and said, “Give her a quarter.”

The man griped about the fact that she never has any money, as he pretended to dig around in his pocket. The woman reminded him of some purchases he’d made and exactly how much they cost. The man then reminded her that she had a dozen purses at home.

At which time, in order to stop a potential domestic dispute, I yelled, “Just take it! Really. You can have it. I don’t want it. I was just going to throw it out anyway.”

The woman looked smug, tucked the bag under her arm, gave her husband a nod as if to say get-in-the-car-before-this-sucker-changes-her-mind, and they hightailed it out of there.

“Darn, I should have kept that one,” I said, a case of deep sellers remorse sinking in.

“Don’t feel bad,” my husband said. “We’ve already made $5.”

“We did? How? That was our first customer.”

“Oh, I cleaned out all of your purses that you plan to sell and found $5.”

“It wasn’t all in change, either, Mama,” said my son. “There were some dollar bills in there, too.”

My attitude suddenly brighten. At least my precious purses were going to a good home. Well, sort of, and if we made enough money, I could more than likely justify the purchase of a new one. Hmmmm â ¦

The next customer pulled up and grabbed a bright yellow bag that I really loved and asked.

“What’s wrong with this one?”

“Nothing,” I said. “It’s just too small for me.”

My family looked at me as if I were crazy. The bag was huge.

“Will you take less for it?”

I couldn’t take anymore.

“Ask him,” I said, pointing to my husband, who had the idea for the sale.

I took the $5 and grabbed my keys.

“I’m going to get breakfast now. I will bring you back some chicken biscuits.”

When I returned, we were $2 richer, and my daughter had found two purses that she liked. She had also gone to the yard sale next door and bought a telescope, and my son had purchased a gun holster for his air soft gun. Being the curious person that I am, I ventured up the hill and, within 5 minutes, returned $90 lighter, with a beautiful wicker furniture set that I can’t imagine anyone getting rid of.

“Noooooo!” my husband shouted, visions of a clutter-free home shattered.

“I tried to see if he’d take less for it,” my son said. “But Mom wouldn’t let me.”

“They’re our neighbors!” I said. “I’m not bartering with them.”

We spent the rest of the sale rocking in our new chairs enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. We didn’t have any more customers, but we watched the kids play. We petted the dog and took it easy. I didn’t have to worry about cleaning the house or running from errand to errand. Instead, we watched some cardinals learn to fly as they left the nest and chatted about the super moon that would be on display that night and marveled at my daughter’s luck in finding a telescope.

And, I decided that perhaps there is some value in yard sales after all.

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