Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Apocalypse Now

The horror. The horror.

I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to have a yard sale this past weekend. It was, to put it lightly, one of the worst choices I have made in terms of planning, expectations, and execution. Combined with the unforeseen circumstances that arose... it was just a plain bad idea.

It might have to do with the fact that I've never done a yard sale before. I don't really go to yard sales. I'm more of a flea-market and farmer's market type, because most of the yard sales I see have tons of baby stuff and at this point in life, and hopefully for quite a few more years, I don't need any baby supplies. So, my prices were probably higher than what people were expecting or wanting to pay. Added onto this is the fact that students who economically power Big Town move out in a whirlwind frenzy of furniture throw-outs, resulting in a lot of free furniture by the side of the road. Why buy what you can get for free? And the students desperately searching for anything less than new prices I hoped to draw in were obviously a week or two too away.

So, at 9AM, Bear and I rolled over to his parent's place and began setting up. After helping me cart the tables out, Bear left to do the last of the large furniture moving (with the help of some family friends) and painting out at the new Home. I was all alone. I sat outside for 6 hours, seeing a grand total of about 12 people, 4 of whom actually bought things. I made a grand total of $32 and got rid of very little. My craft table sold two dishcloths, thanks to my Boss-Boss dropping by to support me in my efforts (I have to admit, I do have awesome admin and co-workers)! What really irked me though was a car full of primly dressed women who stepped out and walked around my little set-up. One woman told me she just "didn't feel like paying $8 for this tablecloth," even after I explained to her that it was brand new, never used, and very large. It was also embroidered beautifully with fall leaves, and I was peeved after the fact that I let it go...especially to someone so uppity. She eventually bid me down to $5, because at that point I was just desperate to get rid of something. Anything. Another one of the Prim-ers ooh'ed and ahh'ed over my craft work, then stated to a friend--as I was sitting in front of her--that my green alpaca clutch purse was "so beautiful, but soooo expensive" (it was $15 if you were wondering).

I have some choice words for people like that. First, don't passively-aggressively try to bid down the artist through sideways methods. I'm right here, talk to me. I may be offended if you want to barter over my craft work (because I know about people like you, so I automatically lower my prices anyway from what I most likely deserve for supplies, effort, and time), but I will be kind in my denial and appreciative of your chutzpah. I like honesty. Second, if you think that's expensive, sweetheart...go bedazzle yourself at Walmart. Go buy the cheap crap you're used to, and leave the nice stuff to people who understand the value of hand-made crafts.

Now I have some choice words for people like me. Yard sales are probably not the place for selling your crafts. People are looking for deals, and not just good deals, but bottom-of-the-barrel deals. Flea markets are better for the prices I was asking, and are probably better for selling some craft-work if there's no craft shows around. It was a poor choice for my first public sell, and it didn't really help my esteem much.

So, onto the unforeseen circumstances. It rained. Okay, it didn't just rain, it was a maelstrom. I managed to get my delicate stuff inside, but all the furniture, lamps, and my entire craft table got to sit out in rain and wind so bad that I couldn't see anything. I lost all my books, the bookcases fell apart as we picked them up later, and three of my antique kimono-fabric pillowcases I made were soaked and ruined. My other craft stuff survived, but I was sorely put-out by the whole ordeal. This could have been fixed by having more than one person running the yard sale. Even with a storm that rolled in that quickly, we could have gotten the crafts inside and I could have saved myself that particular heartbreak by having an extra pair of helping hands. Having another person would have also allowed me to get up and go pee, take a break from the sun, and actually get some food. From 10AM to 4PM, I sat outside, sweltering in the humidity, without food, without sunscreen, and without relief. The next unforeseen circumstance was heat exhaustion.

It turns out I got an awful sunburn. By the time we got home, I stuffed my face way too early with Chinese food and then proceeded to get very, very ill. Bear was so worried that he began coating me in wet papertowels and turning the fan on to face me directly. He said that I was delirious, not sweating, bright red, and in a bad way. All I remember from that night is thinking that Bear was angry at me for being such a baby. This was not anger, but rather extreme worry over my condition. That Bear got to that point of distress is a decent indicator of my situation, because Bear doesn't worry about much. He's got a very laid-back attitude and is a reasonable man. I ended up being okay by the next day after Bear forced cups on water on me every time I lost the previous cup to illness, yet he said it was still a scary night.

This, my friends, was an apocalyptic decision. It marked the end of an era for me. I took it as a sign from the universe or whatever runs this show that I should stop obsessing over hocking my used stuff and just give it away. This whole thing was about downsizing, wasn't it? Everything I saved from the rain or that's still in the old place that I can't use won't be going up on Craigslist anymore, it won't be going to a yard will be donated someplace or other where other people who are in need can get to it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I'm blessed in this life. Some people aren't so fortunate.

In closing, sorry for not having any pictures with this post, and for not updating in a bit. Things have been, if you can't tell, pretty crazy around the Warren and new Home. I'll post at the end of this week about the finality of moving in, finishing painting, and other topics as we complete the moving cycle. Then I'll be moving on to specific projects we're taking on in the house, and the real fun and DIY will begin!

Stay hydrated (not thirsty),

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you got so sick and lost so much to the rain! I love going to yard sales (there is a lot of baby stuff but I've also scored some great craft stuff here and there) but I hate having them myself.

    As far as the crafts, try not to feel too bad about it. This might sound even more discouraging, but last fall I participated in an awesome indie craft fair with other people with similar prices (but not too similar items) and all I sold were the awesome license plate birdhouses my dad makes. My setup looked great and I fit right in, theoretically, but it didn't go well. It hurts but I just wanted you to know it happens even in the best situation. And people still made comments about my prices. There were a few people selling handknit items at stupidly low prices, but their sales weren't great either. Anyway, don't take it to heart.

    I applaud you for just getting rid of things! It's taken me awhile to get to that point but now I just donate things to begin with. It does cost you mental energy to keep them around, and physical energy to work and clean around things you don't need. So it is worth it to just get rid of those items.