One woman’s trash is another’s landfill
“You get your butt over here right NOW, missy!” I hissed on the phone to Marianne at 6 a.m. on a recent Saturday morning.My best friend just laughed.”Calm down, I’m on my way,” she assured me. “It’s a little early to be freaking out, don’t you think?”It was a little early to be doing anything, but I was paranoid that Marianne was going to leave me sitting all alone in front of my house for our joint yard sale.I’ve never had a yard sale before, but I’ve been to enough to know that some yard sale vultures will practically camp out overnight in front of your house in order to be the first ones there, so I wanted everything to be ready.Our ad stated the sale would begin at 8 a.m. and I had considered adding a line saying “Early birds will be pelted with eggs …”Marianne had brought over several truckloads of stuff a few days before, much to my horror that I would somehow get stuck with it all.She finally arrived nearly an hour later and we began the laborious task of moving it all to the front lawn.”This is an awful lot of junk,” I observed as I picked through her things and held up a broken light fixture. “Who’s going to buy this?””Someone will,” Marianne shrugged. “And if they don’t buy it, I’m going to throw it out.”That would have been my first instinct.She had ragged stuffed animals, kitchen appliances that were missing pieces, broken figurines, tattered clothes, old skis, water damaged furniture, books with pages missing and a host of other items that one might find in a landfill.It was 7:15 and we were still busy putting things out when the first car drove up in front of the house … and waited … and waited …I was tempted to go get the eggs …And precisely at 8 a.m., the masses began to descend onto the yard, kind of like the zombies in the movie “Night of the Living Dead.””How much for these dishes?” one woman asked, holding up a chipped plate.”For you? Five dollah!” Marianne quipped in a foreign accent.The woman looked at her as if she’d gone completely mad and walked away.”Marianne, you can’t charge too much – it’s a friggin’ YARD sale,” I whispered. “People don’t want to pay more than a quarter for anything!”Having a background in sales, Marianne decided to change her strategy.The next time I walked by, I saw a strange woman giving Marianne a big hug and both of them had tears in their eyes.A closer look revealed that Marianne was clutching a $10 bill and the other woman was holding a pair of little squirrel-shaped salt and pepper shakers…”Oh, for the love of Pete, now you’re making the customers CRY?” I asked incredulously. “What are you saying to them?”Marianne stuffed the bill into her pants pocket.”Just that I’m single with three children and we’re moving to California and I need gas money to get there or we’ll starve to death in the middle of the desert,” she shrugged. “So now they’re giving me more money than I’m asking for.””This is supposed to be a yard sale, not a pity party,” I scolded.For the next two hours, people crawled around the yard, picking through the junk, while Marianne walked around like a used car salesman, trying to convince people of what items they needed to buy.”OK, now I’m getting tired of this,” she said with a sigh. “I’m ready for a Bloody Mary.”I was afraid she’d probably try and sell that, too …”I’ll go make you one, but please don’t sell my house while I’m gone,” I warned.”Everything’s a NICKEL!” she screamed out a few minutes later, with a drink in her hand.By early afternoon, I was getting pretty bored of the whole thing myself and it didn’t help that people’s kids were starting to destroy our new landscaping, stomping in the flower beds and throwing rocks into the lawn pond.”Everything’s FREE!” Marianne started yelling to people walking by on the street.When people don’t even want your stuff for free, you know it’s time to go to the dump …Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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