The City Weekly (incorporating the Sydney Times),
June 10 - 16, 1999. Volume 4 Number 21

mikey robins picture

Bad tales of sad sales

There's something going on in my neighbourhood. It seems that everyone who lives within cooee of our place has been seized by the overwhelming desire to turn their front yards into a marketplace.

Last weekend, I spotted at least seven "garage sales", at which I might add no one was selling a garage, which if you live, like we do, in a suburb with virtually no off-street parking would have been at least one item worth buying. Speaking of which, how can these people call it a "garage sale" when they mostly don't even have a garage. I suppose it sounds better than an "unwanted crap sale", which, to be honest, is what these sales amount to.

I think that's why I've never had one. I feel it would be far too depressing to lay out the gathered unwanted items of my life in one place. As Ozymandis once said, "look on my words yeah, might and despair", I could easily say "look at this rubbish, what have I done with my life".

Let me give you an example. What is the one item that you are guaranteed to see at every garage sale? Yes that's right, the cobweb covered and slightly rusting exercise bike. Talk about a testament to failure. "Yeah," you sadly ruminate, " I bought this but just couldn't find the time to use it. Tell you what, if you buy it I'll throw in the gravity boots and mini tramp for 20 bucks." Then you sadly pat your tummy and go inside for another beer.

Which brings me to other sad staple (sic) of these sales; the clothes you no longer fit into table. Not only clothes that you no longer fit into table but also the clothes that you must have been under the influence of some mind-altering drug to have bought in the first place table. "Oh yeah, the mid '80s satin shirt with the diagonal buttons. Tell you what, buy that and I'll throw in the acid washed denim jacket with the collar studs fro free. No trust me, it's never been worn".

While on the topic of clothing, if you live with a woman don't let her put out a table of unwanted sexy lingeries. It attracts wierdos.

On the up side, the garage sale does give you the opportunity to lie to gullible neighbours. Here's a simple rule of thumb: If it was made before 1969, it's Art-Deco; if it belonged to your parents, it's mid 18th century; and if its an unwanted lump of porcelain that nanna left you, it was picked up from a charming little curiosity shope on your last trip to provincial France and was rumoured to have belonged to Napoleon.

Don't forget any old records are "collectors items", especially if you have neighbours with slack-jawed teenage children as in "Oh yeah, that's the Ripper compilation that shows the woman's bum through the torn jeans, quick give me all you pocket money, no don't run home and ask dad, I've just had a phone bid from Japan for it, and I want you to have it, dude!"

Oh and one last hint: Just be careful if you have friends around. I still remember the horrified look on a friend of mine's face when I spotted my expensive wedding gift on the "nothing over $5 table". Imean, I'd paid $12 for it at a garage sale only three months before. Talk about cheek. #

-mikey robins

typed up by VellaB